It didn’t take long for the rest of the office to catch on with what was going on. The light skinned woman in Goriola’s office was Chuba’s fiancée. Wow! Poor Ose!
Even though I tried to ignore it, I could feel the stares, the people craning their necks into my cubicle to see how I was handling the situation. And when I heard hysterical laughter coming from Yvonne’s side of the office, I didn’t have to be a genie to know what was amusing her.
Suddenly, it was Unilag all over again…and I resented Chuba for putting me back in this kind of situation. At my age, that was the very last thing I needed!
After what seemed like forever, Ngozi and Jade finally left the office. But that did little to quell the situation. Thankfully, not everyone was amused by my predicament. A few of my colleagues gave some sympathetic smiles as I walked to the lunch room, and one of them actually even gave me a hug. As grateful as I was for their support, their actions only added to the anger I felt, the rage I felt at having been played for a fool yet again.
Just like clockwork, at about 2pm my time, my phone started ringing. Glaring at my phone, the same number that filled me with excitement every time it popped on my phone now incensed me. I ignored it, but it rang again, and then again, and then again. It wasn’t like Chuba to call me so relentlessly. He obviously knew the wind had blown open the yansh of the proverbial fowl.
After almost an hour of ignoring his calls, my colleague, Demola, walked to my cubicle and handed me his phone.
“Call for you, Ose!” he had said.
Demola was not part of the office gossip gang, so I knew he neither knew Chuba and I were dating nor that I had just suffered the humiliation of my life. I was tempted to ignore the call, but out of respect for Demola, I had taken the phone from him and smiled politely as he stepped out of my cubicle.
“Ose, what’s going on? Why have you been avoiding my calls?” Chuba asked, his voice bordering on frantic.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me!” I said in a hoarse whisper, shutting the door of my cubicle, lest I add fuel to the already raging gossip inferno. “Who is Ngozi? Or should I call her Gogo?!”
The silence from the other end of the line infuriated me the more.
“So it’s true then?! You’re engaged?” I asked, suddenly feeling deflated, suddenly realizing I’d been hoping it was all some big misunderstanding.
“Was engaged, Ose. There’s a difference. Gogo and I aren’t together anymore!” he answered.
I don’t know if it was his reference to her as Gogo, or the fact that he had chosen to keep this kind of pertinent information from me, but my rage flared up again.
“You are a liar, Chuba! A bold faced liar!” I’d exclaimed, my voice beginning to rise. “You could tell me all about a former wife, but not about a so-called former fiancée?”
“Ose, you need to calm down and just listen to me!” Chuba had exclaimed right back, the tone of his own voice beginning to match mine.
“Yes or no, Chuba…is she staying in your house right now?” I asked, remembering what Ngozi had said in Goriola’s office, and getting even more enraged at the thought of her being on ‘our’ couch, on ‘our’ bed, in ‘our’ kitchen!
He exhaled deeply, “Yes, she is, Ose. But…”
I hadn’t wanted to hear a word more, so I’d terminated the call, and stomped to Demola’s office to return his phone, without even bothering with any pleasantries, and not caring who saw my anger.
For the first time in years, I grabbed my bag at 5 ’o clock, and decided to call it a day. There were a few raised brows as I walked out of the office; the office efiko closing so early was almost unheard of. But the sooner I was out of that environment, the better for me.
“Leaving so soon?” Yvonne asked, as I walked past her in the reception. Before I could even answer, she tapped me on the shoulder. “Eiyaaa! Sorry oh, Ose! And the woman come fine pass you on top!”
I walked out of the office her as she burst into spiteful laughter, and I knew she was thoroughly enjoying the drama. Chuba was lucky he was thousands of miles away, as the hatred I felt at that time was enough for me to have driven a knife through his chest.
Getting home, I was too angry to even tell Uche what had happened. Instead, I had gone straight to my room and fallen asleep almost immediately.
I woke up the next morning dreading having to face the shame and humiliation again. Looking at my phone, the 27 missed calls from Chuba showed he had probably not had much sleep either. I pondered braving it and going to work, regardless. But I decided I didn’t have to prove a point to anybody. If there was ever a time to take a few days off to clear my head, this was it!
So, I had stayed home that day. Surprisingly, my HR Manager had been very sympathetic.
“Please rest, my dear!” she had said, “These men sef, na wa!”
Somehow, this had irritated me more than comforted me. I didn’t need their pity. I didn’t need all that crap!
Uche had been surprised to find me at home, still in my pajamas, when she returned from work. Her oil company job meant she was almost always guaranteed to get home before me, but there I was, not only home, but obviously not having moved an inch all day.
So, I had told her about Chuba’s fiancée, and as only a best friend would, she had been enraged and had proceeded to order us enough takeaway to feed a small village.
Waking up the next day, it was Friday, and I decided to add it to my time off work. I didn’t even bother calling in. Uche had left me at home, with the admonition to take care of myself and maybe even treat myself to a day at the spa. I had agreed, just to get her out of the house, but deep down I knew I was going to spend the day wallowing in self-pity.
It was only a week to my 33rd birthday, and there I was…a mess! I had been so convinced that Chuba was the one. Everything about our relationship had felt so solid…so sure…so true. But he had turned out to be just like all the other guys.
Who would have thought I would still be alone at this age? As much as I used my sister, Ejeme, who was still single at 41, as an example, the truth was I didn’t want to be like her. I wanted to be more like my other sister, Nehita, who had been happily married for 16 years. But alas, it was looking like I was destined to be a senior babe forever.
Uche was angry to meet me still wallowing, later that evening. She had tried everything she could to cheer me up, but nothing could shake me out of my funk. The next day, Saturday, she had suggested we go out for drinks. But as we got dressed, I felt the need to be on my own, and told her I’d rather go alone…so I could think and clear my head. She had been reluctant, but had understood my need for solitude.
And just as I was knocking back drink after drink, I had heard his voice.
“Ose! Fancy seeing you here!” Kese had said, his brown eyes glinting.
My heart had skipped, seeing the man whom I had loved for the greater part of the last decade and a half, but whom I hadn’t seen since for the last two.
“What’s a beautiful woman like you doing here, all alone?” he’d asked, pulling himself a chair.
I’d looked at him and shook my head. “What evil wind blew you here?!”
“Tsk, tsk! That’s not the way you talk about the love of your life, is it Ose?” he’d said, his eyes twinkling in mischief.
“Aren’t you supposed to be on the other side of the world somewhere?” I asked, with a raised brow.
“Well, I’m here now.” he’d said, sitting so close to me that his shoulder rubbed against mine. “How long has it been since the last time we saw? Five years?”
I frowned at him. “Two actually!”. It was so like him to forget something like that…and so like me to remember every detail. I could remember the exact time, day and month of the last time we’d seen each other…
“You see! I’ve missed you so much, it seems like longer!”
I rolled my eyes. Yeah right! If only I had a penny for every time I heard him spin something like that. But I chose not to push any further. I came here to drink my sorrows away, not analyse a long dead relationship.
So, the drinks had kept flowing, and we were soon giggling like teenagers…
When I opened my eyes the next morning, I couldn’t quite place where I was. And then, I felt an arm slung over me…and that was when I realized that, not only was I naked, I wasn’t alone.
I sat up with a start, as flashbacks of the night before started flooding into my head; flashbacks of plenty of alcohol, plenty of jokes and laughing…and sex…
Remembering the last part gave me a sick feeling in my stomach.
What had I done?!!
“Hey, where are you going?” came Kese’s muffled voice, as I sprang out of the bed, picking up my clothes from the floor.
Hearing his voice just added to my panic. How on earth had I ended up back here?!
He sat up. “Ose, what are you doing?”
“I’m leaving, that’s what!” I’d snapped, scrambling into my clothes, suddenly feeling self-conscious of my nakedness before him.
He suddenly sprang to his feet and held me. “Ose, you don’t have to leave. I want you to stay with me…”
His touch made me recoil, and I realized being with him was the last thing I wanted.
“This was a mistake! This was a big mistake!” was all I could mutter.
“Not for me it wasn’t. Do you think I ran into you by coincidence? I came to that bar looking for you!” he had said, surprising me. “I went to your house, and Uche told me where to find you.”
I didn’t even know what surprised me more; that Uche had told him where I was or that he had even found my address in the first place.
By this time, he too was dressed, and he dropped to his knees before me.
“I love you, Ose! I messed up before, I admit that. I regret it from the bottom of my heart! You are the one I have loved for almost 2 decades! There’s no other person I want to spend the rest of my life with!”
If it were a few years before, or even a few months before, those words would have lifted my soul and given me a taste of heaven. But standing there in front of him, all I could think about was my Chuba.
He wasn’t Chuba. He wasn’t my love.
“I’m sorry, Kese. But I have to go!” and with that, I walked out of the room, only to realise I was in a strange house, with no idea what side of town I was in.
Kese soon walked out of the room, his face a reflection of his disappointment.
“Can I at least take you back to the bar, to get your car?” he asked, and I knew I couldn’t refuse that offer.
As we drove out, I realized we were still in Lekki Phase 1, and it didn’t take long to get to the bar where this mess had started. We hadn’t said much to each other on the way, except when he mentioned that he was considering returning to Nigeria permanently, to set up a business with his older brother, in whose house we had spent the night.
“Ose…” he called out, as I made to get out of the car. “I understand why you’re reluctant…but know that I’m ready to fight for you. You are my wife, and I will sacrifice the very last drop of my blood to get you back!”
Yeah, whatever…was what I had in my mind as I scampered to my car, self-conscious of my night clothing in the glaring morning light.
Back in my car, I sat still for a few minutes, feeling sick with regret. I felt hot tears rolling down my face. Even though Chuba and I were over, I couldn’t help but think how I had betrayed him…
To catch up on Ose’s story, click one of the following links:
- Accidentally Knocked Up 1: The Beginning
- Accidentally Knocked Up 2: Not Quite a Razz Girl
- Accidentally Knocked Up 3: Pharaoh’s Girl
- Accidentally Knocked Up 4: Inferiority Complex
- Accidentally Knocked Up 5: Making Room
- Accidentally Knocked Up 6: No Place In Her Home
- Accidentally Knocked Up 7: Be Happy
- Accidentally Knocked Up 8: Stuck
- Accidentally Knocked Up 9: Cloud 9
- Accidentally Knocked Up 10: The Passport
- Accidentally Knocked Up 11: The Real Deal
- Accidentally Knocked Up 12: Reluctant Virgin
- Accidentally Knocked Up 13: Hurricane Kese
- Accidentally Knocked Up 14: A Fool For You
- Accidentally Knocked Up 15: Still In Love
- Accidentally Knocked Up 16: An Official Item
- Accidentally Knocked Up 17: Joy…and Pain
- Accidentally Knocked Up 18: The Exes
- Accidentally Knocked Up 19: Mr. Amerikana
- Accidentally Knocked Up 20: Chuba
- Accidentally Knocked Up 21: Ocean Drive