I couldn’t make it to the end of my work day. Even though I knew it was in my better interest to try to clock out at closing time at least, considering I hadn’t come in early that day, my blood was boiling too much for me to keep still! Obiora was still cavorting with Belinda???!!! Ah, some mighty shit was about to go down!
Thankfully, my Uber got to me in record time, and traffic to Lekki Phase 1 was smooth. Even more thankfully, the security men in the serviced apartment complex where Obiora lived let me in without checking with him. Maybe they recognized me as Voke’s sister or maybe it was the huge bump I was carrying. Either way, I was glad that their (un)necessary protocol hadn’t broken my flow. My mad-as-hell-and-I’m-going-to-kill-somebody flow!
Getting to his penthouse apartment, I banged on the door like I was coming to confront a thief. As a matter of fact, he was a thief! He was a thief who had come to steal my sister’s sanity and peace of mind!
“Isio, is everything okay?!” Obiora asked, opening the door, surprised.
I pushed past him, almost expecting to find the Belinda sprawled on the sofa in some state of undress. But no, he was alone, and his apartment was as spotlessly clean as it always was. Except for a pair of shoes I saw under the dining table. Size 38 shoes that were too small to fit Voke’s size 41 feet.
He squinted, almost looking confused. He was a good actor. If I didn’t know better, even I would have thought they belonged to my sister.
“Aren’t those Voke’s?” he asked, still squinting at the shoes.
In my anger, I threw them at him. “You are a bloody fool! You and I know these don’t belong to Voke! Apart from the fact that they are clearly too small, have you ever seen my sister in these kind of ridiculously high stilletos?”
“I…I…I don’t know who they belong to then!” Obiora stuttered. “Maybe one of the girls Hakeem or Apache comes here with. I don’t know…”
“Is she still here?!” I demanded. “Is Belinda still here? Or are her things scattered territorially around the house, in her hope that Voke will find them?”
For a split second, his eyes quickly scanned the room, but then he caught himself and regained his I-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about face.
“Isio, why on earth would Belinda’s things be here? We’re no longer a couple, remember?”
“I’m sure you know Ifeanyi Maduemezia…Bianca, Belinda’s sister’s fiancé!” I stated. “He’s my colleague, and he saw you today. He told me everything.”
That was when he finally knew that the gig was up, and he bowed his head, clearly not knowing what to say.
I shook my head, disgused. “I’m so disappointed in you, Obiora. Nobody asked you to come back into Voke’s life. She didn’t come looking for you. You’re the one that brought your two left feet back to come and disturb her peace! For God’s sake, you’re the one who asked her to marry you. And if not for her insistence on waiting till December to have a Will & Kate kind of wedding, you two would have been married by now!”
“It’s not like that, Isio! I love Voke from the bottom of my heart, and she’s the only one who’se important to me!” Obiora exclaimed.
“Then what the hell are you still doing with Belinda?!” I exclaimed right back. “From what I hear, they live all the way in Epe, so it’s not as if you were in their neighbourhood and just dropped by! I hear you are there practically every weekend, so it means you actually make a concerted effort to drive all the way there!!!”
“Isio, I’m only still with Belinda because there is something I still need from her dad!” Obiora exclaimed. “I’m on the verge of getting the biggest deal of my life! There’s a huge real estate opportunity in Abuja that would be a game changer for me! And her dad is the one who can help make it happen!”
“What has that got to do with anything? Is it in Belinda’s bedroom that you’ll sign the contract?” I asked, but even as I was speaking, realization was hitting me. But of course! “Don’t tell me you’re trying to keep her sweet, so she doesn’t get her father to change his mind!”
He sighed in frustration. “That’s exactly what I’m doing. When I ended things with her, she didn’t take it well. She was always here, and just refused to accept that I’d moved on. It wasn’t until she threatened to tell her dad about us that I knew I had to change my tactic.”
“So you went back into her arms.” I completed for him. “What did you tell her about Voke? That you broke up? That you’re no longer getting married? Does she even know you’re getting married?!”
“There is no need for all those details, Isio. I’m only in it for a few more weeks. Once I get the deal, I’m out!” he answered.
“So you’re sleeping with her, in exchange for favour from her Dad. You’re so disgusting, Obiora! I wonder if you’d be so forgiving if Voke were to sleep with her boss for…I don’t know…a promotion at work maybe?”
His nostrils flared, and I knew I’d gotten under his skin.
“Sounds nasty, abi? It’s exactly how this rubbish with Belinda sounds! Cheating on my sister just to get a contract. Is this how you’ll continue after you get married? Pull down your pants anytime it’s time to ink a deal?!”
“As soon as I get the deal, I’ll break it off with Belinda…”
“Oh, that’s where you’re wrong, dude! You’re ending it t-o-d-a-y!” I said, giving him my most menacing look. “This nonsense ends today…or else, I’m going to tell Voke everything!”
“But Isio! I need that deal! It will make life so much easier for Voke and I!” he wailed, and I couldn’t help but think that, despite all his new found wealth and swag, he was still the same old spineless Obiora from before.
“Voke has a very good job, and all the projects you’re working on I’m sure are enough to take care of you and your wife!”
“I’m not talking of a few millions, Isio!” Obiora insisted. “I’m talking billions of Naira here! Banana Island kind of money!”
“Obiora, my sister would rather live in Ajegunle than have you sleep with your ex-girlfriend just so she can stay in Banana Island. I’ve said my piece.” I pointed at him, for added measure. “And if I ever hear that you’re seen in Belinda’s house again, you will explain to both Voke and I what exactly took you there!”
I let out a long hiss before I let myself out of the house. Once on the street, I realised I hadn’t called a taxi beforehand, and there were none exactly plying his otherwise quiet street. Angered all the more, I had no choice but to walk the long distance to Admiralty Way, whilst trying in vain to get an Uber to pick me up. I was still punching my phone in frustration when I heard someone call out my name.
“Isio! What are you doing here?”
I rolled my eyes, before even turning to look in the direction of the voice. Of course, Pere would have to be the one to see me slapping down the streets of Lekki.
“Where is Madam Ogechi?” I asked.
“At home. You haven’t answered my question.”
“Wellll…since you decided to spend the day driving your babe around, and since you didn’t send Sylvester to me either, I’ve had no choice but to walk!”
“First of all, this isn’t even the direction of the hospital. And since you neither work nor live in the estate, I can’t understand why…”
“I came to see Obiora abeg! Please spare me the lecture, and open this your door!” I snapped, walking over to the passenger side.
His eyes widened in surprise. “You walked all the way from Obiora’s house?! That’s at least 10 minutes away!”
“I know that!” I snapped. “I just did the walk, so I know!”
“And why didn’t he drop you at home, or at least somewhere you could take a taxi? Heck, why didn’t you call an Uber from his house?”
“Because he’s an asshole!” I retorted. “What’s with all these questions, Pere? You’re here, and now you can drive me home.”
He sighed. “I’m afraid I can only take you where you can get a cab. I came to the estate to pick up some takeaway for Ogechi and I.”
I frowned. But of course.
“Whatever. Just as long as I get home.” I muttered.
We drove in silence for a few minutes, before he brought out his phone and dialed the popular restaurant I knew he was going to, and instead ordered food to be delivered to his apartment.
“What was that for?” I asked.
H shrugged. “The food will be delivered to Ogechi. I’ll take you home.”
“I don’t need your pity, Pere. I can take a taxi. Go back to your Madam!”
“Oh just shut it, Isio!” Pere snapped. “You think I’m doing this for you? You forget you’re carrying my children in there. You’ve already done them enough harm with that long walk.”
I rolled my eyes, and we were soon out of the estate, headed to my apartment.
“Since when did you start eating salads as a meal?” I asked, after a while. “I thought you liked the beef burger from Sailors.”
“Ogechi is a vegan.” Pere answered, his eyes fixed on the road, fully knowing what my reaction would be.
And I didn’t disappoint him.
“A what?” I laughed. “A ve-what?! Ha! You want to marry someone who will be giving my children grass and tofu to eat?!”
He glared at me. “It’s her way of life, and I’m not going to have you making fun of it!”
I tried to stifle my laugher, but couldn’t. In actual fact, I was grateful for the distraction from Obiora, Voke and Belinda’s love triangle.
But that distraction was short-lived.
“Why were you seeing Obiora anyway? I know Voke isn’t there, or she wouldn’t have let you walk all the way to the main road.” Pere said.
I hissed, and proceeded to tell Pere about finding out Obiora was cheating on Voke with his ex-girlfriend, all under the guise of trying to secure a big business deal.
When I was done, Pere shook his head. “That’s a tough one.”
“I know right!” I exclaimed. “I don’t even know what to do. He’s assured me he’ll end things with Belinda, but I don’t know if I should trust him. I don’t know if I should tell Voke.”
“If you were to ask my opinion, I’d say you should give him the benefit of the doubt.” Pere answered. “What he’s done is extremely messed up, but if he’s given you his word he’ll end things, then maybe you could believe that he will. Telling Voke now will only just hurt her, and she’ll very likely call off the wedding.”
“Won’t that be better though?” I asked. “Should she really be marrying a guy with so low a moral compass?”
He looked at me. “We all make mistakes, Isio. Maybe Obiora is ready to make restitution for his. I know that he does love Voke very, very much…so maybe we could just trust him to do the right thing.”
I had that in mind all through the drive home, unsure of whether to take Pere’s advise and trust Obiora…or tell my sister the truth about the man she was about to pledge forever to.
“I’ll send Sylvester to you tomorrow.” Pere said, as I got out of his car. “And please…easy on those walks!”
I mumbled a thank you, and let myself into our compound. I was surprised to see Voke’s car already parked. It was at least an hour before she normally would be home.
Walking into the house, she called out from her room. “Isio, is that you? What took you so long?”
I sighed and mumbled under my breath, “Babe, you don’t wanna know.” then forcing a smile, I called out. “I was running a few errands. How come you’re home so early?”
“Come into my room and see this!” she squealed, her excitement running out of the room and almost knocking me over.
Still with my plastered smile, I walked to her room and was taken aback by the sight I met.
“I know right!” she said, beaming at me. “It’s even more beautiful than I remember!”
Spread out on her bed was the most resplendent mix of white satin, lace and tulle, elaborately beaded with pearls and crystals. It was her wedding gown.
Voke nodded emphatically, still beaming from ear to ear. “She did! And you should see it on me. I tried it on in her fitting room, and it was GORGEOUS!”
I stared from my sister to the dress, not even knowing what to say. “But Voks, this is just June. I didn’t think you’d get the dress until October, at the very earliest.”
Voke shook her head. “I don’t want to take any chances, Isio! I’d rather have it now, than be disappointed later. Besides, didn’t you notice she’s also pregnant? That’s how story will now enter the gist later on. Abeg, I can’t deal!”
Looking at that dress, any intentions I had of ignoring Pere’s advise and telling her about Obiora’s infidelity, dissipated.
“Aaaand, Obiora’s mom finally agreed to allow us use that waterfront garden in Lekki!” she squealed some more. “We paid for it today! Everything is pretty much all set.”
I forced an even wider smile. “That’s fantastic!”
Voke sighed in relief. “Like babes, you can’t imagine how the whole thing was stressing me out. It felt like I was losing control of everything. I’m so happy everything is finally falling in place. I have my dress. The venue is paid for. The Planner and I have finally identified the food and drink vendors. We’ve reached an agreement with the decorator, and we’ll finally be paying her by tomorrow. We’ll be finalizing with the DJ and MC this weekend. Mom has already sorted out the aso-ebi. All that’s really left for us to decide on is the cake! And what you’ll wear!” she added, laughing.
“Of course…what I’ll wear. I haven’t even thought of that!” I said, with another strained laugh.
“It will be motivation for you to lose all the baby weight in good time!” Voke teased.
I smiled and sat on the bed, tenderly stroking the beautiful dress. For something made by a local designer, it was amazing! It could easily compete with any of the gowns from the big international names like Vera Wang and Ellie Saab.
“How far with Belinda? I hope she’s been staying away?” I asked, trying to sound casual.
Voke hissed. “Funny you should mention her, can you believe the babe started trying to get in touch with Obiora again?”
“Oh really?” I exclaimed, trying to sound genuinely shocked. “Is she that desperate?”
“She must be! Someone getting married in a matter of months!” Voke said, throwing up her arms in frustration.
“How did you know this? He told you?” I asked, curious to hear what kind of lie Obiora had spun.
“I saw a few missed calls from her, and he told me how she’s been on his case again.” Voke answered. “But he’s dealt with it. He told her off, and I think she got the message this time.”
As Voke rattled on about more plans for the wedding, my mind wandered to Obiora again. Even though I was going to do as Pere said and give him the benefit of the doubt, I was going to keep eagle eyes on him, and would kill him, in the truest sense of the word, if he did anything to hurt my sister!
Catch up on Isio’s story here:
- Iya Beji 1: A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Iya Beji 2: Destiny Blocker
- Iya Beji 3: Daisy
- Iya Beji 4: Upgrade
- Iya Beji 5: Bleeding Love
- Iya Beji 6: The Beast
- Iya Beji 7: The Standby Guy
- Iya Beji 8: The Boss
- Iya Beji 9: The Deal Breaker
- Iya Beji 10: The Convert
- Iya Beji 11: Hiatus
- Iya Beji 12: Never Stopped
- Iya Beji 13: Jealousy
- Iya Beji 14: Pure Magic
- Iya Beji 15: Congratulations, Mrs. Clarke!
- Iya Beji 16: Blast from the Past
- Iya Beji 17: The Offer
- Iya Beji 18: Co-Parenting
- Iya Beji 19: The Baby Mama
- Iya Beji 20: Carried Away
Catch up on our other series here: