Read Chapter XXIII here.
Bisi returned home very late. She entered to find her husband asleep on the sofa with the TV on. She smiled to herself as she approached him, held his shoulders and shook them gently. He opened his eyes sleepily.
“Yeah, I’m sorry to keep you up. You should have gone to bed.”
“You know I can’t go to bed when the head count is not complete.”
“I know; I’m sorry. Eaten already?” He nodded.
“It was the only way Nhyira would eat.” Bisi smiled.
“Get up and let me tuck me you in.” Fiifi took the remote and switched off the TV. He stood up and Bisi took his hand and led him upstairs. He almost missed a step.
“Be careful.” They entered the bedroom and Fiifi threw himself on the bed. Bisi chuckled and quickly changed into her bathrobe.
“Fii, lie down properly.” He mumbled something but didn’t move. She shook him. He sat up and looked at her with unfocused eyes.
“Fii, can you see me?” She asked, waving her hand. He nodded lazily.
“Good, I wanted to apologize for the tension brewing between us…”
“Do we have to talk about this now? My brain can hardly process anything right now,” he said with a yawn.
“Which I intend to use to my advantage. If you want to get back to sleep, just say I forgive you and we’re good.”
“Say I forgive you, B.”
“I forgive you, B.”
“Perfect. You may go back to sleep now.” She held his hand and led him to his side of the bed and guided him to lie down. She tucked him in.
“You know my mental faculty is not up to its optimal state so whatever I might have said does not really hold, right?”
“Well honey; that might be in the court room but in this house, it does. Goodnight,” she kissed his forehead and left the room. When she entered Kukuaa’s room, she was on the phone.
“Let me call you back,” Kukuaa said and ended the call. “Mummy!”
“And who might that be?”
“Oh so you can stay up and chat with a friend and you can’t take a minute to call and check up on your mother who has stayed out late?”
“Oh mum, I thought dad would do that.”
“Well, I don’t live with him alone, do I?”
“I’m sorry. How was work?”
“Same old. Is your sister asleep?”
“I see. I’ll leave you to wrap up your conversation. I should find you sleeping when I come back after my shower.”
“Yes mummy.” Bisi smiled and left her room. Ewuresi was text-chatting when she entered. They chatted for some minutes and she left for Nhyira but he was already asleep as expected. She went to take her shower. She felt hungry so decided to prepare some tea. She opened the door to Kukuaa’s room and peeked inside.
“I’ve ended my chat, mum.”
“Good. I’m going to make myself some tea. Care to keep me company?”
“Sure,” Kuks said, getting out of bed. Kukuaa knocked on her sister’s door and opened it.
“Mum wants some tea company. Want to join us?”
“Oh yeah.” Ewuresi came out. Bisi grinned. She had the best girls in the world.
“Thanks, darlings.” They went downstairs. They spent about half an hour chatting and then went to bed.
Bisi woke up a few minutes earlier to the set alarm time. She laid on the bed in the dark, staring at the ceiling. She felt relieved that the issue of the mysterious woman turned the Constance woman she bumped to was all laid to rest. She didn’t like it when they were angry at each other. She felt silly for entertaining the idea that Fiifi was doing something shady behind her back. Thank God he wasn’t the type to hold grudges. She could have driven her marriage to ruins over nothing. She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer.
She got out of bed and entered the bathroom. She wasn’t in the mood to whip up breakfast, everyone would have to settle for cereal. She yawned her way into the shower stall and turned the knob. She sighed when the drops from the showerhead touched her skin. She stood still allowing the water to hit her back. She turned when she sensed movement.
“Good morning,” Fiifi greeted with a sheepish grin.
“I still feel sleepy,” Bisi confessed.
“Can imagine. You came in pretty late last night.”
“I seem to remember you coaxing me into saying something last night.” Bisi laughed.
“Oh you remember that?”
“I do. Want to try that again now that I’m alert?”
“I wanted to say sorry for doubting you, Fii. I should have had more faith in you. Forgive my unbelief.” He chuckled at her last statement which made her smile. She was glad Fiifi wasn’t going to drag this.
“I forgive you, B. Those were the words, right?” Bisi nodded.
“I don’t like the feeling that you’re hiding something from me. I want us to be open with each other. I want you to trust me enough with your shortcomings. I want you to confide in me when things go wrong. I might get angry and yell at you. The worst thing I can do is throw you out and exile you for a few days but we survived that before, didn’t we?” Bisi said.
“Yes, we did.” He said, touching her face.
“So, if there’s anything you’d like to let out, now is the time.” What followed next was silence as the couple stared intently at each other.
Oh God, does he have more skeletons in his closet? Bisi thought anxiously as she bit her lip.
Is she still suspicious? What else does she want to know? Fiifi wondered, staring deeply in her eyes hoping he could read her mind through them.
“Okay…” he dragged in a cautious tone. “Like what?”
“I don’t know,” she said with a shrug, “maybe you flirted with a colleague sometime back…”
“Is that the minimum offence?”
“No, the maximum! Oh gosh, have you done more than flirt with someone lately?”
“Oh no but you said I could trust you with any shortcomings.”
“I did…I said that so you could feel comfortable telling me about them not that I actually expect you to have committed serious offences against our marriage.” Fiifi laughed.
“I hear. No, love; I have been a very good boy.”
“You’re sure there’s nothing else?” Bisi pressed.
“Why is it directed towards me alone? Can’t I ask you that too?”
“You can but you know very well that you’re the only man I’ve known. I’ve given you no reason to raise red flags.”
“But I have?” Bisi shrugged. He sighed.
“There’s nothing to worry about, B. You’re the only woman I think about. I won’t disrespect you and our marriage like that.” He sounded sincere. Okay then, slate wiped clean. She smiled.
“Glad to hear it.” They kissed. And with that they sealed away their conflict.
The days, weeks and months that followed were peaceful and Fiifi thought he had put the Constance nightmare behind him for good. So when his phone rang and he picked it up to find Constance’s caller ID on the screen, he thought he was having a bad dream.
Maybe she was calling someone else and she mistakenly called his number, he thought, waiting for the call to end abruptly but it kept ringing. Why was it still ringing? A few seconds later which seemed like days, it stopped ringing. He sighed in relief. Maybe she was bored and felt like playing games. This would tell her he wasn’t interested. His heart leaped when it rang again. He groaned. What did she want?!
Constance was pacing in her room as she waited for Fiifi to answer the phone. When he didn’t the second time, she sighed.
“He thinks I’m just being naughty. This is urgent, Fii!” She said and threw the phone on the sofa.
She had messed up big time and unfortunately if it blew up, Fiifi might be implicated. She didn’t really remember what she had said that day but she feared she talked about or referred to him. She didn’t want him to be tainted by her mess because he was taking care of her son and although she admitted to herself that she was a lot of things, she clearly wasn’t the type who bit the hand that fed her. She only wanted to give him a heads up. She wished she could leave him a message but she feared his wife might see it. It was better if she talked to him in person. She didn’t want to go to his office. She had breached his personal space too many a time but he wasn’t giving her any other option.
“Why are women such backstabbing traitors?!” She fumed.
Bisi was having lunch with her colleagues at work when another female co-worker entered with her iPad.
“Have you heard the latest hottest news?”
“Has You-know-who filed for divorce again?” They burst in laughter.
“Nope. Don’t think Hollywood, ladies. This is news from right here. A private conversation leaked.”
“Between who and what were they talking about?”
“Apparently two ‘executive escorts’ got into a fight and one decided to leak a tape about a conversation they had earlier as revenge. It seems these ladies are the choice ladies the big men in our city indulge in behind their wives’ back. Some names were mentioned and you wouldn’t believe it if I told you. You’d have to listen for yourselves. It’s trending across social media.”
“Play it so we may listen.” The lady tapped the play button. Unfortunately, the faces of the women didn’t show. Bisi got up. She wasn’t interested in such news.
“There’s something I’ve to check out,” she said and excused herself.
The whole family sat in the living room watching the evening news and chatting. Nhyira requested for ice-cream. Fiifi mentioned he wouldn’t mind having some. Bisi got up to serve everyone with some when the girls also raised their hands. The three followed their mother to the kitchen.
It was time for Joy News Interactive and the presenter talked about what was trending on social media.
“So there is a whole brouhaha going round on social media about a leaked tape about some ladies who are purported to be ‘escorts’ discussing their clients who are apparently some of the biggest corporate names in the city of Accra. The video was uploaded by one MzSassyB and some others were tagged including Conniebabe…”
Fiifi froze. That name sounded…Constance had once referred to herself as Connie Baby. This couldn’t be her, could it? Then he remembered the phone calls from her earlier in the day that he had ignored. Oh no, she didn’t. The others came back and settled down on the sofa, each one holding a glass cone.
“Here,” Bisi said, giving him one. He took it. His heart was pounding.
“Yeah, someone in my office was talking about this leaked tape. If it is what they say it is, it could be Ghana’s next biggest scandal,” Bisi said. Fiifi didn’t respond. He scooped some of the ice-cream and swallowed it. His taste buds had turned sour.
When the news took a commercial break, he excused himself and went to the bathroom. He splashed water on his face and stared at himself in the mirror. He was breathing heavily now.
“God, don’t let her ruin me.” He thought of calling her but he had left his phone on the sofa next to Bisi. He prayed Constance wouldn’t choose this minute to call him.
He thought the woes of his past were over. But they always seemed to find their way back to haunt him. How was he going to cover it up this time?
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXV here.