Read Chapter XXXII here.
Bisi was typing her report on her laptop in the kitchen whiles the girls cooked. They said they had found an interesting recipe in one of the books that Bisi had bought and wanted to try it out. She gave them the go-ahead with the intention that if they hadn’t done anything by the time she was done with her report, she’d propose another meal-a quicker one. She was hungry and didn’t think she could wait for them to think through their cooking process.
She sipped her juice and continued typing. Intermittently, she was interrupted by one of them asking if there was a particular ingredient available. She replied with a nod or a shake of the head.
She lifted her head to find the girls engrossedly staring on a phone screen.
“Are we going to have dinner or what?”
“Sure, mum. Just checking something out on Google.”
“I don’t hear anything cooking.”
“We’ll start soon. Just concentrate on your work,” Kukuaa said.
“I’m almost done and I’m hungry.”
“Wow…I forgot how grumpy you become when you’re hungry. That’s who Esi gets it from.”
“Whatever,” Ewuresi said as she scrolled down the page she was reading.
A few minutes later, they started cooking but the aroma caused Bisi to be more restless. She opened the fridge to search for snacks. She sighed in relief when she found some crackers.
“Are you that hungry?”
“Uh huh and if I don’t have a plate before me in half an hour, I’m going to eat one of you.”
Fiifi walked in.
“Hi dad. Welcome home.”
“How was your day?” He asked, walking towards his wife.
“School was…” Ewuresi started.
“Not talking to you,” Kukuaa said. Fiifi glanced at them.
“Of course; it is for everyone.”
“Uh huh.” Father and daughter exchanged a smile. He kissed Bisi’s cheek.
“Crackers?” She offered. He opened his mouth and she slipped a piece inside.
“Mum, why don’t you escort dad to the room whiles we do the cooking? Daddy, please keep her occupied for us. She’s so hungry that she’s distracting us.”
“Of course, my pleasure.” He offered his arm and she wrapped her arm around his. They left the kitchen.
“Where’s my boy?”
“He was working on his assignment. I saw his sketchbook. Nhyira is pretty good at drawing. Did you use to draw? Because I suck at pencil work.”
“I used to when I was young but I abandoned it.”
“The passion vanished. I went where the money was.”
“Then you owe me a portrait. I need to see you at work. Our son is talented. Maybe he got it from you.”
“Yep.” Bisi knocked on Nhyira’s door and opened the door.
“Sweetie, daddy’s home.”
“Welcome home, dad.”
“Thanks, buddy. How was school?”
“Normal. You, how was work?”
“Normal too. I’m going to change, okay?”
“I want to see the sketch when you’re done,” Bisi requested. He nodded. Bisi gave him a smile before closing the door. They entered the bedroom.
Bisi began loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirts. He locked his fingers around her waist.
“A business magazine wants to interview me for their feature article in next month’s edition.”
“Oh nice. When is it?”
“Here.” She paused to look at him.
“Yeah, it is going to be televised on prime time television. Since it would be pretty extensive, I wanted to do it at a place I’d be most comfortable.”
“Oh okay. I had planned to take the girls out on Saturday but I can reschedule it. They won’t be glad to hear that.”
“They will when you tell them the family portrait will be on the cover of the magazine.”
“Uh huh. I remember how excited Kuks was when you had that photoshoot with her for some women’s magazine years back. I figured it would be great to relive it with all of us. We’ll take some extra ones to update our family album. What do you say?”
“Not a bad idea. Then you need a haircut, my dear.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She smiled. He kissed her forehead.
“Thank you,” he muttered against her skin.
“For forgiving me and giving us another chance.” When she didn’t reply, he added, “I know the pastor had a hand in you letting it go but I still appreciate the effort. I don’t know what would have come of me if I didn’t have you in my life.”
“I’m sure God would have sent another great woman your way.”
“Maybe…but she’d never be you.” He hugged her.
The couple of months that had passed by weren’t easy for both Fii and B. It took time, joint prayer and effort to get things back to normal. Though Bisi sometimes recoiled and became distant when something triggered a memory of recent past events, life was better now. Fiifi made a vow to treasure this second chance given him and make it up to his family as much as possible. Trust has been broken and he hoped it could be restored with time, though he knew it wouldn’t be easy.
On Saturday morning, the TV crew was warmly invited into the Pratt household. They were served with snacks whiles Fiifi got ready. Bisi entered the bedroom.
“Are you ready?”
“I think so. How do I look?” She gave him a thumbs up. Then she raised her index finger, signaling him to wait. She went for her makeup kit.
“Oh no B, you know I…”
“You’ll be powdered up when you get downstairs anyway. Who would you want touching your face, your wife or some girl?” He conceded with a nod.
She proceeded to give him a little touch up. When she was satisfied, she smiled as she stepped back to look at him.
“That’s my Pratt. Go and make me proud.”
“My pleasure.” They kissed briefly and went downstairs.
“He’s here,” she announced when they entered the parlor where the crew had set up.
The presenter got up.
“Thank you for letting us inside your home, Mr. Pratt.”
“The pleasure is all mine.”
“And thanks for the warm reception, Mrs. Pratt.”
“You’re very much welcome. I’ll leave you to it then. If you need anything, let me know.”
“We surely will.” She gave her husband’s hand a squeeze before letting go. She left the room.
“Let’s get to it, shall we?”
After the interview, Bisi treated the crew to lunch and they all ate together. Then it was the girls’ fun part: taking photos. They took portraits in matching casual wear, sportive wear, African print and evening wear.
“This is one of the best days of my life and this is one of the day I am proud to be a member of the Pratt family!” Kukuaa said excitedly.
“When does the magazine issue come out?” Ewuresi asked her father.
“In a couple of weeks, I presume.”
“It’s for next month, my dear. Don’t worry, it will be in before you know it.”
“I can’t wait!”
“Thank you for today. You really made the crew feel welcome.”
“Uh huh, my mama raised me right,” Bisi said with a smile. He hugged her.
“Mum, my portrait is ready,” Nhyira said, handing over his finished work. Bisi gaped.
“This is amazing. You could earn yourself a lot of bucks like this. Oh gosh, I’m going to be your manager. This is beautiful, honey.”
“Thanks, mum. Let’s give mum and dad a bear hug.”
The two girls joined him to hug their parents.
“One last selfie!”
Constance watched the televised interview of Fiifi with dreamy eyes. She missed him, the drama of it all. She admitted that causing his wife emotional trauma in the process was unfortunate but there are casualties in every war and collateral damage in every strife. Her eyes darted to the magazine issue where his family portrait graced the cover. She looked back at the screen when she heard Bisi’s voice.
“Well my philosophy is that, no matter how phenomenal I am out in the world, when I enter this house, I am the wife and Fii is the head of this family. It is my responsibility to make him look good because he represents me and this family as much I represent him. So we do our best to represent each other as best as we can.”
“I know every marriage has its ups and downs and I’m sure yours isn’t any different. Has there been a time you thought of walking out?” the presenter asked. The table grew quiet as all eyes got fixed on Bisi. Constance sat up straight.
“Well to be honest, yeah; there has been a time. It was quite a difficult time in our marriage but God pulled us through. Our pastor was instrumental in helping us getting through that phase and I’m glad that’s behind us now.”
“Yeah, right; why didn’t you tell them you went mad after you found out he cheated on you?” Constance scoffed, gulping down her drink.
“And you, Mr. Pratt, has there been a time when you thought that you might have married the wrong person?”
“Never. God knows she can get on my nerves sometimes…” Bisi smiled at that comment. Fiifi squeezed her hand in his and continued, “But I’ve never had that thought. She’s understanding, forgiving and the pillar of this household. I might have built this house but this is Bisi’s home. Without her, nothing stands.”
“Awww…that’s sweet.” Fiifi raised her hand and kissed the back of her hand.
“Whatever,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
“So we’re here at the Pratts’ and we’re being treated to a lovely meal. We’ll end the interview here so we can all enjoy this without interruption. Till next time, I’m out.”
She took a sketch pad, one she hadn’t used in a while and began to sketch a portrait of herself, Fiifi and Nhyira.
“I wonder if my son draws as well,” she said thoughtfully as she admired her artwork.
“Maybe it’s about time my son got to know me. I need to get back what is mine.”
Why should I listen to you? You’re not my mother. She is.
Bisi woke up with a start. Fiifi sat up.
She looked at her husband, her hand on her chest, still panting.
“What about Nhyira?”
“I think Constance is coming back.”
“What? No. I’ve cut her off completely.”
“She’s coming for my son.”
“She can’t. Lie down, Bisi and calm down.” They both laid down. Bisi shook her head.
“My dreams aren’t just dreams, Fii. She’s coming back. You better tell her to back off.”
“I don’t want to contact her, B. The last time I did brought up all the trouble we went through. Doing so the second time will be stupid.”
“So what do we do then?”
© Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXXIV here.