“You slept with Jimi?!!!” Lekushe exploded, his eyes blazing with an anger, a fire, that frightened me.
“Where did you get that?” I croaked, as if it wasn’t obvious from whom.
“‘I never stopped loving Jimi. He is the love of my life.'” Lekan mimicked. “I can’t believe what a fool I’ve been! I’m the sucker whom you can control? Is that it?!”
I just stared at him, tongue tied, no words coming to my brain lest of all my mouth.
“All this while, I stuck with you. Even when my family couldn’t understand it, I stood by you, Fola! For God’s sake, I was even celibate for you!” he shouted, and I was glad it was a night that Rire was with his father, as it would have been hard to explain the yelling fiancé…if I could still call him that.
“For over a year, I was celibate! Like a fool, I just went along with your plan to ‘wait till we’re married’, whereas you’ve been there shagging your baby daddy all along!” Lekan continued yelling. “But guess who’s no longer celibate! As a reward to your sister for sharing this gem of a recording, let’s just say I gave her what she wanted!”
My eyes widened. “You slept with Dolly?”
“Let’s just say we’re even, Fola.” he sneered at me.
I stared at him in shock, not recognizing the man standing in front of me.
“You were never good enough for me. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that. I’ve had prettier, sexier, younger women…None of them humiliated me this way! I don’t understand how come I decided to settle for you! A faded divorcee, with a child! What was I thinking?!”
At that point, I’d heard enough.
“You need to leave now.” I said stiffly, glaring at him.
He glared back at me. “If I really wanted to, I’d take from you what you’ve been withholding from me all this time.” he said, and from the look in his eyes, I could tell he meant it. “You’re not strong enough to stop me. I could take it from you right now! To compensate for making a fool out of me!”
I stepped back, my heart pounding right out of my chest in my fright, worried he would live up to his threat to…to rape me.
Instead, he looked at me with so much disdain, like I was trash. “You’re so not worth the trouble! This time tomorrow, I want my ring back, as well as everything I have paid towards this sham of a wedding! In case you need any interpretation, the wedding is off!”
With that, he stormed out of the house, banging the door with so much force, the house vibrated…or at least, it felt like it did.
I stood in my living room, not quite knowing how I felt. For some reason, I didn’t feel sad or upset. Instead I felt…relieved.
But when I remembered the role my sister, Dolly, had played, I found my anger beginning to rise. After spending 3 months with our parents in Ibadan, I was aware that she had returned to Lagos a few weeks before, and had been shacking up with some ‘friends’ of hers. We’d seen each other a few times, but I’d been happy to just allow our lives run as parallel as the could.
But she sure had some explaining to do!
Dialing her number, I steeled myself for the conversation ahead.
“Yes?!” came her sultry voice, but from the edge in it, I knew she’d been expecting my call.
“Dolapo…why? Why did you that?” I demanded, my voice barely a whisper. “How could you have recorded our conversation?”
She’d laughed, and I realized that she wasn’t at all repentant. “Of course I recorded the conversation. What do you take me for? A fool?!”
“And then you went ahead to share the recording with Lekan? How could you do that?!”
“You must really think you’re something special, Folabomi!” she answered. “But I don’t blame you. Everyone has contributed to you having this exaggerated opinion of yourself! What makes you think you’re all that, so much so that you’re juggling two men! Engaged to one, but sleeping with another.”
“I’ve only been with Jimi that one time…” I said in my defense.
“Sure you have!” she answered sarcastically. “You threw me out of your house because of Lekan, even though you were still loved up with Jimi. You were ready to throw me out in the streets, without having anywhere to go!”
“But we saved your life. Even after you tried to kill yourself…”
Dolly laughed. “Oh, Fola. Do you really think I would have allowed myself bleed out? Do you know how many times I’ve done that to get my way? Don’t be so gullible!”
“But you finally did get your way.” I said to her, my voice still calm and steady. “You slept with Lekan, right?”
“I sure did!” she answered triumphantly. “But trust me, you didn’t miss anything there. I did you a favor, trust me!”
I shut my eyes tightly, suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of emotion. “Why, Dolapo? What have I ever done to you?”
“Consider it payback! Consider it payback for getting knocked up by Jimi the very second my back was turned!” she screamed, and my heart sank.
“You already broke up our marriage! Wasn’t that payback enough?” I answered, my voice quivering.
“Not even close!” she sneered, and I could feel the intensity of her hatred for me through the phone line. “This is payback for feeling like you’re better than everyone else! Living in that fancy house, driving a fancy jeep and wearing designer clothes, living the life I could have had, while instead I have been languishing and groveling, sometimes living from hand to mouth! Now you’ll know how it feels to lose everything! You haven’t asked yourself why I waited this long to give Lekan the recording, instead of as soon as it happened? Because I knew the stakes would get higher! Way higher! And three months to your wedding…I couldn’t have had better timing, no?”
She giggled, and I found myself feeling something I had never felt for anyone, lest of all her. The feeling had started from my toes, and was working its way up my body. It was a deep and intense hatred for my sister.
“You better thank me! I could have waited for the week of the wedding!” she giggled again, clearly entertaining herself. “And FYI, I’m off to Abuja tomorrow morning. Princewill and I hooked up again, and he has sent for me. I don’t think he’ll be releasing me anytime soon!”
Princewill was one of her former sugar daddies, the one responsible for the breakup of the only meaningful relationship she’d ever had. He was now into politics, as I’d seen him in a few times on TV.
“Good luck fixing your mess!” and with that, she squealed and disconnected the line.
I sat on my bed as my phone started ringing incessantly, no sooner had Dolly hung up. I watched as my mother called me 7 times, and my father 5 times. When Adun also started calling, I didn’t have to be a genie to realize what had happened. More than likely, Lekan had shared the voice recording with everyone. And I wasn’t in the mood to offer anyone any explanations.
I was in that same sitting situation all through the night, right up till the sun rose, wondering how, in one fell swoop, my whole world had come crashing down.
By 7:30am, Adun burst into my house. “What is wrong with you? Why haven’t you been answering your calls? You’ve had us all worried sick!”
I’d shrugged. “With everyone calling me multiple times, …I knew!” I said. “I had a fair idea of what y’all wanted to say. Lekan sent you the voice recording.”
She took her seat and nodded somberly. “He did. And I’m told he also sent it to his parents and annoying siblings. Fola, what happened?”
I proceeded to fill my sister in on everything, not leaving anything out.
“He says he wants his ring, and reimbursement for all the wedding expenses.” I concluded.
“Lekan should take several seats! Which kind reimbursement?! Didn’t he also sleep with Dolapo? What’s he talking about here? Send your ring back to him, if you must! But as for any other payment, he’s a joker if he thinks he’ll get a single kobo!” Adun retorted.
I nodded, but the truth is repaying Lekan was farthest on my mind.
“But that’s not even what’s gotten me here.” Adun said, after a while. “I listened to that tape, Fola. I had no idea you still felt that way about Jimi!”
I shrugged again, silent.
“And now, I’m watching you. Only hours after breaking up with your fiancé, but I haven’t seen one small drop of a tear from you…at least not for Lekan. Lekan isn’t the issue here. The question is, if you still love Jimi so much…why aren’t you with him?”
After she’d left, I was finally able to get some rest, and surprisingly even fell into a deep sleep. Upon waking up by noon, I saw a flood of text messages, almost all of which were from my mother. Funnily enough, rather than them being judgmental like I thought, they were filled with Bible verses and prayers. It was obvious she was worried about me.
It was also obvious what I needed to do.
Only one man had ever had my heart, and his name wasn’t Lekan. It was high time I stopped running from my feelings and faced them head on.
Getting to Mama and Papa Jays house, I found it fortuitous that the only person outside of the household workers, the one person I did want to see, was at home. Jimi! He was reclined, watching TV, when I walked into the living room.
“Hey…” I said tentatively.
“Hey…” he answered, not looking up from the crime drama he was watching on the CI channel.
“Can you talk?” I asked, not quite sure of what I even wanted to say.
Jimi looked up at me, one brow arched. “What do you want to talk about?”
I exhaled deeply, not quite knowing where to start.
“Lekan and I just broke up.” I finally said.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” he answered, non-comittaly.
“He found out about us.” I answered.
At this point, he sat up, and leaned forward. “‘What us?'”
“That…that we slept with each other. That I still have feelings for you…” I stuttered.
Jimi listend for a few moments. “What do you want from me, Fola?”
I reached for his hands. “I made a mistake, Jimi. I want to be with you!!!”
He pulled back his hands, and rose to his feet.
“I made a huge mistake, Jimi. And I know it now. I should never have said yes to Lekan. I was just scared…and confused….”
“You were planning a wedding, Fola!” Jimi answered. “Right here in this living room, you and my mother were selecting aso-ebi for your wedding. For crying out loud, you’d already picked your wedding date! You were anything but a reluctant bride! Or is this simply a case of substituting the groom? Lekan isn’t the picture, so why not get Jimi in there, right! We might as well continue from where you and Lekan stopped, right? The only difference in the whole arrangement being a different man standing next to you at the alter!”
“Jimi, please hear me out! I love you!” I called out, exasperated. “We love each other!”
He turned to face me. “No, Fola. I love you. You love yourself.”, he shook his head. “You’ve already hurt me twice…I won’t let it happen a third time.” and with that, he turned around an walked away.
Leaving me there, sitting in the living room, all on my own.
You can catch up on Fola’s story here:
- Sister, Sister 1: Calling Me Mrs.
- Sister, Sister 2: The Odd Family
- Sister, Sister 3: Floating On Air
- Sister, Sister 4: The Many Wives of Jimi
- Sister, Sister 5: Russian Roulette
- Sister, Sister 6: So Much In Common
- Sister, Sister 7: An Unlikely Pair
- Sister, Sister 8: Longing For Her
- Sister, Sister 9: The Return
- Sister, Sister 10: The Catastrophe
- Sister, Sister 11: Not Working
- Sister, Sister 12: Sham of a Marriage
- Sister, Sister 13: Invisible Strings
- Sister, Sister 14: Rehab
- Sister, Sister 15: Fall From Grace
- Sister, Sister 16: Reset Button
- Sister, Sister 17: Available…Unavailable
- Sister, Sister 18: Paradigm Shift
- Sister, Sister 19: Living a Lie
- Sister, Sister 20: Not That Kind of Girl
- Sister, Sister 21: Name Dropping
- Sister, Sister 22: The Banker
- Sister, Sister 23: One Chip
- Sister, Sister 24: A Mess
- Sister, Sister 25: The Matchmaker
- Sister, Sister 26: Promise of Fidelity
- Sister, Sister 27: Hole In My Heart
- Sister, Sister 28: Charmed
- Sister, Sister 29: Last Minute Snack
- Sister, Sister 30: Disrespectful
- Sister, Sister 31: Force of Gravity
- Sister, Sister 32: Settle For Less
- Sister, Sister 33: Sweet Talk
- Sister, Sister 34: Breathless
- Sister, Sister 35: Consolation Prize
- Sister, Sister 36: Intoxicated
- Sister, Sister 37: Back To Business