Read Chapter XVIII here.
Weeks passed and when it seemed that enough water had passed under the bridge, things returned to normal and Fiifi was acting more like himself at home. Bisi had not brought up the issue about who might have passed by his office again and he hadn’t given her any other reason to. He hadn’t heard from Constance since that day and that was a good thing. Bisi had been coming home late for some time now and she always returned tired so they couldn’t have their usual ‘tete-a-tete’ moments where they caught up in each other’s work life. He wondered if it was her plan to force him to talk about his attitude that night by giving him too much space but he wasn’t going to take the bait. It was better if she didn’t know anything about Constance.
“Daddy,” Nhyira called, drawing Fiifi out of his thoughts.
“My birthday is coming soon. Will I get a party?”
“Do you want a party?” He nodded with enthusiasm.
“I’d have to talk with mummy so see if we can pull it off. You know she’s been busy for some time now. We’ll see what we can do, okay?”
“Okay, daddy.” He smiled as he brushed his palm against his scalp. He checked the time.
“Whoa, it’s past your bedtime, buddy. Let’s get you to bed.”
“But we are waiting for mummy.”
“It’s late, Nhyira. When she arrives, I’ll tell her to come and say goodnight to you.”
“I promise.” They did the fist bump and went to his room. Fiifi said goodnight after tucking Nhyira in.
“Please pray for me, daddy. Mummy always prays for me.”
“Sure, buddy.” Fiifi knelt by his bed and put his hands together.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for Nhyira’s life and everyone else’s in this family. Thank you for your protection and provision throughout the day. As Nhyira lays down to sleep, send your angels to keep watch over him; grant him a peaceful sleep and let him wake up well refreshed, ready for the day’s activities in Jesus’ name, amen.”
“And bring mummy home safely, amen,” Nhyira quickly added.
“Amen,” Fiifi added with a smile. He got up.
“Sweet dreams, Nhyira.”
“You too, daddy.” He put off the light and closed the door behind him. He opened the door to Kukuaa’s room.
“I thought you were studying.”
“We are; we just took a break to watch a video.”
“I see. I remember a time when you two desperately wanted different rooms but it seems you’d prefer to use one room again.” They laughed.
“We are sister-bonding, dad.”
“I can see that. Goodnight, girls.”
“Goodnight. Is mum back?”
“Nah. Hopefully, she’ll be in soon.”
“Okay; tell her to come see us.”
“I definitely will. Sleep tight.”
“You too, daddy.” He closed the door. He sighed with a mental prayer which said, God please bring my wife home safely.
He heard the front door open and close. Was she home? Wow, that was fast! He rushed downstairs.
“Hey,” Bisi greeted in her usual tired tone.
“Hey, I was getting worried. Traffic?”
“I left the office quite late and traffic was quite terrible.” Fiifi touched and examined her face. His baby girl was too stressed.
“Need a massage?”
“That sounds great but disclaimer notice: I won’t be returning the favor.” He chuckled.
“I know that. Dinner?”
“I think I’d just take some tea. I’m too tired to chew.”
“Okay; go and change and I’ll make you some tea.”
“Aren’t you going to undress me? I’m too tired,” she said with pouted lips. He smiled.
“Okay, lazy bones. I see where Kukuaa gets that trait from.”
“Oh nah, Kukuaa took after you. She herself says it.” Fiifi laughed as they slowly made it up the stairs. She threw herself on the bed in exhaustion and Fiifi felt sorry for her. If only there was a way to make her work less tiresome…he knelt and removed her heels. She moaned when he massaged her foot which made him chuckle.
“Your babies want to see your face.”
It took Fiifi many more minutes than he anticipated getting her to change considering the fact Bisi didn’t help in any way at all. When she entered Nhyira’s room, he was half-asleep so she just gave him a good night kiss and entered Kukuaa’s room.
“Mummy! You really kept long. Dad was getting lonely.”
“Oh he was? Why didn’t you two keep him company?”
“Well, Nhyira was with him and some things are for wives only,” Ewuresi said teasingly. Bisi chuckled.
“How are studies going?”
“Getting there. What are you and dad planning to give me when I finish writing my BECE?”
“A big hug?”
“I get that every day, mum.”
“Oh okay, then I’ll stop hugging you till you’re done.”
“Very funny. Seriously, you and dad should think about it.”
“Of course, sweetie. I’m going to eat. Your dad is making me tea.”
“See you two tomorrow. Don’t forget to pray.”
“Yes mum; goodnight.” She hugged them and went downstairs.
Fiifi was spreading the slices of bread. She hugged him from behind and leaned on him.
“That tired, huh?”
“Uh huh, if it was possible for you to chew for me, I’d gladly ask you to.” He laughed.
“Let’s sit.” They sat and began to eat.
“Nhyira wants a birthday party.”
“He does? I knew it would come up after letting him go to his friend’s birthday party two weeks ago. Considering my schedule, I don’t know how we can pull it off,” Bisi said.
“Yeah, was thinking the same thing. We’ll see. Anyway, how’s your Thursday like?”
“Why, are you taking me on a date?”
“Kind of. Are you available?”
“I’d have to check my schedule to be really sure. I guess it’s one of your corporate functions?”
“Uh huh; I got you a dress.”
“Oh you did? Where is it? I want to see it!” Bisi asked excitedly.
“Calm down; I’ll show it to you when we are done.”
“Aww…have I told you how much I love you, Fii?”
“Not for a while now, no.”
“Oh I’m sorry; I love you, Fiifi Pratt. You make my life go round and round. You complete me…”
“Okay now, you’re just being cheesy.” Bisi laughed.
“I thought you liked to hear things like that.”
“Of course but in your own words not copied from Hollywood movies.”
“In my own words? How different can I say you mean the world to me?”
“I don’t know, be creative. You work with the media, right? Come up with something.”
“Are you giving me an assignment on compliments?”
“Uh huh. And the deadline is tomorrow.”
“Oh gosh, you must be a terrible boss.” He laughed.
“You think? You can be my PA tomorrow and find out. Trust me, I’ll make it worth your while.”
“Thank you but I think I’ll pass. Being your wife and the mother of your kids is enough of an overwhelming experience.” He shrugged.
“The offer is open whenever you reconsider it.” Bisi looked at him curiously.
“You seriously would want me to play PA at your office?”
“Yeah, a little role playing isn’t bad. It’s actually great to spice up our relationship.”
“Spice up? I think we’re spiced up enough.”
“There’s always room for improvement,” Fiifi insisted.
“Okay, this is where I say cut!” Bisi got up and began clearing the table. Fiifi smiled to himself. He always enjoyed pushing her out of her comfort zone. Bisi has always been great at ‘playing it safe.’ But when pushed a little, she did even better. Maybe he should pursue this idea.
Thursday arrived and Fiifi and Bisi arrived at the grounds at the MTN Corporate Cocktail in full glamor. As they were ushered inside, Bisi smiled back to people who gazed at her in admiration.
“Is it me or people are kind of staring?” she asked Fiifi.
“Of course they are staring, honey. You look stunning.”
“I think it’s the dress. Thank you.”
“You make the dress beautiful not the other way round.”
“You see, that’s an honest compliment and it’s original too.” Bisi laughed. She hadn’t worked on her ‘assignment’ yet and Fiifi took almost every opportunity to remind her. A colleague approached them with his wife and they exchanged pleasantries. A waiter came around and they all took a glass of champagne.
As they chatted, Fiifi’s eyes fell on another couple being ushered in and his heart missed a beat, causing him to almost choke on his drink. He coughed.
“Are you okay?” Bisi asked, rubbing his back.
“Yeah, sorry…almost went through down the wrong passage.” His eyes were teary and he looked at the couple again to be sure. He swore under his breath. How could this happen?
“Bisi Pratt!” A lady called out.
“Anna Coleman!” They hugged. Since Bisi was being preoccupied, Fiifi excused himself and walked toward the couple he had been eyeing.
“The one and only Fiifi Pratt of Pratt Group of companies,” the man said as he noticed Fiifi approaching him.
“The one and only Jake Cobbinah of Kasapreko Company Ltd.,” Fiifi responded as they shook hands.
“Been a while, man. How are things?”
“Things are great by God’s grace. You?”
“Going well…the economy isn’t helping much but we’re managing. Did you come with your wife?”
“Yeah, she’s chatting with one of her friends. And who is this pretty lady by your side?” Fiifi asked, looking Constance squarely in the face. Constance cleared her throat and returned the stare.
“This is Candy; my lady for the night.”
“Candy, huh? Cute name. Nice to meet you,” Fiifi said, offering his hand. Constance took it and they locked gazes. Someone called Jake.
“Hey, could you keep her company for a minute? I’ll be right back,” he said and left them.
“We need to talk,” Fiifi said coldly and with a quick glance at Bisi who was having a hearty chat with her lady friend, he grabbed her arm and dragged her to an isolated corner.
“What the hell, Constance? Or should I call you Candy now? Seriously, Candy? Couldn’t you have chosen a classier name? What are you even doing here?”
“What do you mean what am I doing here, Fiifi? I’m working, what else does it look like?”
“I thought you’d have retired by now.”
“Retired? I’m not that old, Fiifi. The fact that I gave birth to…”
“Shush…don’t you ever let the words come out of your mouth. I told you, no I pleaded with you not to cause such dangerous clashes like this. You were not to come this close to my wife!”
“Yeah, I do remember your verbal restraining order, Fiifi and I intend to keep it. This is a social function; one I had no idea she’d be present at. You can’t fault me for that. Unless we’ve to come to some kind of agreement that we check up with each other to see if we’d be attending the same functions.”
“Oh no, I don’t want your number frequenting on my dial log.”
“Same here. And I’m in no mood to make a scene. So let’s just go back and act as strangers. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?”
“Fine; don’t get close to her; don’t make her notice you.” Constance sighed.
“I’m tired of these rules, Fiifi. If you love her that much and she means the world to you as you claim, why would you come to me for a baby?”
“That was a mistake, okay? So don’t bring that up.”
“Oh my baby was a mistake?”
“He’s not yours. And for goodness’ sake, find a better job than being people’s escorts. It’s demeaning.”
“Oh yeah, wasn’t it how we met? If you’d take me off the streets and give me a desk outside your office, I’d gladly accept it.”
“Don’t get close,” Fiifi gave her a final warning and walked away. Constance downed her glass of champagne at a go. Fiifi had ruined the night for her. She never wanted to cause trouble for him and his ‘beloved’ family but if he pushed her this hard, there was no telling what she could do.
“Hey…I thought you had been kidnapped or something. Where have you been?” Bisi asked.
“Sorry; just went to speak to an old friend of mine. I hope you’re enjoying yourself.”
“Oh yeah; it’s great company. Just felt a little lonely for a second.”
The occasion went on smoothly with Fiifi keeping an eagle’s eye out for any sight of Constance but thankfully, she kept herself hidden.
“Are you okay? You seem a bit absent-minded,” Bisi noticed.
“I’m okay.” He gave her a forced smile. Bisi wasn’t convinced. He rubbed her back.
“I’m fine.” He kissed her cheek.
When it officially ended, Bisi excused herself to use the washroom. She was rinsing her hands when a lady entered. Bisi noticed from the mirror that she was startled to see her. She turned to look at her.
“I’m sorry, did I frighten you?”
“Oh no…I just wasn’t expecting to see you…to see someone here. Sorry about that.”
“It’s okay.” She stood beside her and took out her lipstick.
“Are you one of the corporate ladies?”
“No, I’m just a wife to one of the corporate guys,” she said with a chuckle.
“Oh okay; you kind of look familiar.”
“I’m sure I do; I’m a TV presenter.”
“Aha! I think that’s what startled me.”
“I’m Bisi Pratt,” Bisi introduced herself, offering her hand. Constance took it.
“Nice to meet you, Bisi. I’m…I’m Constance Ameyaw.” Oh shoot, did she just say her real name?
“Nice to meet you, Constance. If we happen to meet again, don’t hesitate to say hi.”
“I won’t. Have a good night, Mrs. Pratt.”
“You too, Constance.” Bisi left the washroom. Constance let out a sigh. She placed her hand on her chest. Her heart was pounding hard…too hard. Fiifi would skin her alive if he found out. She was safe if only Bisi doesn’t mention it to him.
After a few chats and exchange of numbers, Fii and Bisi went back home. The kids were asleep when they arrived. As they were undressing, Fiifi asked Bisi if she enjoyed herself.
“Oh yeah, I did. The company was different from what I’m used to. I think I scared a lady in the washroom.”
“I don’t know…she said she wasn’t expecting to see me. It was because I looked familiar so when I introduced herself, she calmed down a little.”
“Yep; I think her name was Constance…”
Fiifi dropped the phone he was holding. Bisi turned. Fiifi took the phone from the floor.
“Nothing…um…just dropped. Thankfully, the screen didn’t crack. So…what else did this lady say?”
“Nothing. We just exchanged pleasantries and I left. Did you meet anyone new?”
“Um…yeah, a couple of CEOs. Excuse me for a minute. I’m going to get some water,” he said.
“But there’s water…” He was out of the room before she could add ‘here.’ She sighed.
Constance’s heart leaped when she saw Fiifi’s number on her phone screen. Bisi must have mentioned her. What was she going to say to make him believe her? She stared at the phone as it kept ringing.
“Pick up the damn phone,” Fiifi muttered. The call ended. Constance sighed and Fiifi swore.
Josephine Amoako (c) 2016
Read Chapter XX here.