I let her see the shock on my face. Not the guilty shock of being exposed but the shock that says in not so many words, “What the fuck are you talking about?” After the shock, came the confident laughter.
“What are you talking about? That’s just ridiculous.” I said, casually serious. I kept my voice low.
There was a little frown on her face; doubt. But it went as quickly as it came. She continued her onslaught.
“I know everything. She told me everything.” She said, whimpering. The pain I saw in her eyes hurt me. I think I realized then how much she loved me.
“What’s everything? Who told everything?” I asked, looking genuinely puzzled.
The doubts came up again but this time, as strong as an ox. She had trouble suppressing it.
“Kemi. You have been having an affair with Kemi, haven’t you?” Her tone had dropped considerably. It appeared she had become aware that the attention in the room was focused on us.
Rule Two: Deflect. Turn the mirror and give her a view of what you see.
“Really?!” I asked, feigning a little disappointment and letting it show on my face now. I glanced at her table. Her gaze followed mine. There were two empty bottles of red wine and a third that had only recently been uncorked.
“You’ve been drinking, haven’t you? I asked, gently now. Before she could reply, I took her hands and led her outside the reception hall. We walked amidst the eyes of curious busy bodies and who were anxiously waiting for a gossip story to unfold. She reluctantly allowed her self to be dragged. As we stepped outside the hall, I squinted at the bright sun shine and immediately, my face began to form sweat beads that had been suppressed by the air conditioned hall. My palm was sweaty and my legs shook so violently that I feared it would give way from under me but I maintained my tough and unperturbed exterior. We stopped in front of my car.
“Wow! Where did this Christy come from? So now, we air dirty laundry in public, right?” I asked quite sternly.
“Where is Kemi? I’d like her to repeat what she said to you in front of me.” I said rather miffed.
I knew Kemi had escaped to God-knows where and from the hurt on Christy’s face, she wouldn’t have the nerve to see Kemi one more time or go through with accusations and counter-accusations, especially as there were doubts now.
“I don’t know. She’s probably in there somewhere.” Christy replied, a bit impatiently. Her face was flushed. She lifted her small hand bag towards her face to protect her face from the sun.
“Let’s go and fetch her.” I said angrily, holding her hands and heading back to the hall. If she agreed, I was sunk!
“No, I don’t want to go in there again.” She squirmed. She was feeling remorseful over her outburst in there and a bit embarrassed; I was counting on it. I sighed in relief.
“Why? We have to get to the bottom of this!” I said, angrily, my confidence greatly bolstered. I made to leave her and head back to the hall on my own but she held me back.
“Baby, I’m sorry.” She pleaded, the tears still in her eyes. “I’m a bit drunk.”
“Is that your excuse for embarrassing me in there?” I asked petulantly but celebrating internally that my plot had worked to perfection.
Rule Three: Badger her!
“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t thinking…” I cut her short.
“Have I ever given you any cause to doubt me since we started dating?” I asked. Her head was bowed to the floor and she continued to stifle her tears. She was sweating profusely now.
“Have I?” I asked, a bit louder.
“No.” She said, softly.
“How did Kemi tell you a story and you fell for it, hook, line and sinker without even making an attempt to verify before you crucify me publicly?” I continued.
“I…I…” She began but I cut in again
“Is that how much you trust me?” I asked. She remained silent, her sniffs increasing in intensity. Her pure white handkerchief was now stained with a combination of her tears, sweat and make-up.
“So you never trusted me?” I asked, as if in realization.
“I trust you, Mickey. I trust you with all my heart.” She said, holding my hands. I pulled away. Her tears came out in torrents when I stepped a few paces away from her, lost in thought.
“If you never trusted me, how could you love me?” I asked, more to myself than to her.
She ran to me and held me from behind before I could move away from her.
“I love you Mickey. I love you so much.” She cried.
“Then why are you breaking my heart?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes.
Ok, I get it. You must be saying to yourself what a shameless, cheating, sugar-coated tongued devil I am. I won’t argue; just hear me out. My tears were genuine, only misinterpreted. I was indeed heart-broken seeing her cry so much. I was overpowered by a strong sense of guilt that I had just successfully manipulated her. It made me realize what a sweet and innocent jewel I had and at that moment, I had an epiphany. I never wanted to see her cry again. I was truly, deeply, madly in love with her.
“I love you too.” I said holding her close. It was a warm moment of peace and relief under the blazing sun for both of us, albeit for different reasons. Our kiss was deep and passionate like the very first time. I felt myself melt into her and she into me as we were transported temporarily to a world of bright lights and dizzying colours. The sound of the double doors of hall opening brought me back to the world. I saw Ifeanyi, Austin and Tuoyo come out into the blazing sun. There was a funny look on Austin’s face as he saw us caught up in so passionate a kiss. I think he was the closest during her outburst so he must have heard enough to have added two and two together. I waved them back immediately. They nodded, seeing that I had it under control. As they retraced their steps, they ran into others who came out with hopes of enjoying a little drama scene. Christy became aware that some of the guests had stepped outside to catch the drama and she suddenly became nervous.
“Let’s get out of here.” I said, noticing her obvious discomfort.
She nodded silently. I opened the car and she got in. I sent a text message to Tuoyo and Ifeanyi telling them that I was leaving. I’d catch up with them later. It was on the way that I got the full story of what transpired at the bachelorette.
“We were all quite drunk last night. It all began when Amaka began to talk about Tunde.” Christy began. “How they met and how she managed to put him on a leash. You featured prominently as she mentioned you and Tunde were inseparable partners in crime.”
“Whatever that means.” I smirked.
“She extended the floor to me because we both have you two in common. That was when Kemi passed a snide comment. I didn’t hear it but I saw the shock on the faces of those who did.”
“You didn’t ask those who heard?” I asked, my heart beating faster.
“I did but no one would tell. So I had to meet Kemi privately to know what she said. She was pretty wasted; we all were…she seemed so sure of herself and uninhibited…” She broke off. The image was too strong for her.
The last picture that flashed through my head was my threesome with Kemi and what’s the other girl’s name. I hoped that stupid home wrecker didn’t paint the sordid picture. I was so angry with myself. I knew somewhere in the recesses of my mind that this was a very possible outcome. I had sensed jealously in Kemi on many occasions and it grew steadily; that was why I backed out. Was this her way of getting back at me? I thought we had an adult arrangement? Why did she want to ruin it for me?
“What did she say?” I asked, anxiously.
“Her exact words, “I’ve had your man more times than I care to remember”.” Christy said this looking intently at me, trying to measure my reaction. I glanced at her in surprise.
“That girl’s crazy!” I exclaimed. “Just a lift at Asaba and she’s had me?” I gave a snort.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Christy smile. There was no way to tell what it meant. I had to lighten up the situation.
“But you know what this means, don’t you?” I asked mischievously.
“What?” Christy asked confused.
“She’s got a crush on me.” I said keeping a straight face.
She laughed. Her laughter had a peculiar ring to it; it was relaxing to me. It was genuine and infectious and without knowing when, I joined in. She held my hand and when I looked into her eyes, there was a longing. I stepped my foot further down on the throttle. I had to get her home to fully utilize this moment. As for Kemi, I’ll deal with her later.
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