In the previous episode of Shades of Deceit
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‘Thank you so much music group for that song to a woman who’s been a pillar of support both to me and the work of this ministry,’ Pastor Michael Igbinedion started, his voice heavy with gratitude and his eyes filled with a sense of pride as he spoke about his wife…
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‘Why are you giving me the pastors’ kiss?’ Laide questioned as she bit her husband’s lips softly, clasping her hands around his back. She ran her lips to her husband’s ears and cooed sweetly into them, ‘I want you.’
Michael munched on his wife’s lips… ‘We’re eight months gone.’
‘You talk like a first time father. Even on the day of my delivery we can still do this,’ Laide said… ‘Take me to your altar, pastor, don’t delay the sacrifice,’ she whispered, sucking on her index finger…
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She pranced around in her room like an angered tigress, seething with rage as her eyes caught the clock on the wall. It read 8:52…Thank God, she had called as a ghost.
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She could feel her husband’s breath on her face… She turned back to the direction of the flashing lights… It could be for something serious… but as she drifted off to sleep, the number she had just she had just seen on her husband’s phone was the last thing on her mind, Unknown number.
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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th, 2014.
Wuse Zone 6, Abuja.
Laide watched as Dr. Benson scribbled on the pad. She searched for clues in his eyes to try to guess what was in his mind like she was wont to do, but as usual she came up with a brick wall, as the doctor’s face was expressionless.
‘Have you been having trouble sleeping?’ The doctor asked, lifting his face up from his writing.
Laide thought briefly about Sunday’s incident with the flashing phone light but decided that didn’t apply to the question. ‘No,’ she heard herself say, ‘is there a problem doctor?’
‘No…Not all,’ Dr Benson replied with half a smile. He stared into the curious eyes of the pastors’ wife. ‘There’s no problem, it’s just that your blood pressure reads 149/99, which is not what I expect, considering the progression.’
‘Is it too high?’ Laide asked, trying to mask her worry.
‘No it’s not,’ the doctor said, waving off her worries. ‘It’s mildly high but as long as you stick to taking your drugs, we will just be fine, I was hoping we would stop the drug this week, but as it is, maybe we would just go on a while longer.’
Maybe she should have told him that she didn’t sleep too well on Sunday night maybe that would have explained the mildly high blood pressure.
‘All, you need is more rest,’ the doctor said cutting into her thoughts. ‘I know being a pastors’ wife can be demanding.’
‘But I didn’t have blood pressure problems with Jeremiah?’ Laide replied, her voice now betraying her worry.
‘And the church wasn’t as big as it is right now,’ the doctor countered with a big smile on his face.
Laide eased up. Her dimples in full glare as her eyes lighted up in a smile. It had become a custom for Dr Benson to remind her that she was a pastors’ wife. It was part of their doctor-patient chatter. And yes he was right this time, the church was not even half as big as it is right now some six years ago, when she was pregnant with Jeremiah.
She allowed her mind wander back to those years when the church was much smaller and their major prayer point was growth. Those days when ministering invitations were scarce and far between and she was always by her husband’s side, the few times he was invited to minister outside the city.
How she missed those times spent together as they honoured their invites. It always felt like a second honeymoon as they would usually spend a day extra in their host city just for sightseeing and bonding.
The case was totally different now as the church’s growth had created not just a few but major adjustments in their home.
Michael now had to reschedule or even politely decline some invites so as to spend a bit more time at home and she never got to accompany him on his ministrations outside the city anymore as she had to care for Jeremiah, their son. He now had Pastor Tony as his constant companion or in the case of this present trip, Pastor Tony and Priye, the latter having also been specially invited to minister in songs at the conference.
She couldn’t think of the church’s growth without the picture of Ivie coming up on the canvas of her mind. The face stirred up memories better forgotten.
Like a skilled driver, she journeyed further down the years to the time when the church was small and her family was big. She felt the now familiar feeling of nostalgia sweep through her being as these memories coursed through her mind, seducing her into a semi-conscious state.
She shook her head out of her reverie, just in time to see her doctor staring straight into her eyes.
‘Welcome back, Mrs Igbinedion,’ he smiled, handing her a piece of paper.
Laide smiled back, her eyes showing a tinge of embarrassment as she collected the piece of paper from the doctor. She hoped he would not speak about the incident, and just as if he had read her thoughts, the doctor stayed quiet.
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th, 2014.
Michael knelt by his bedside offering a prayer of thanksgiving. If results could be seen in facial expressions, then he could safely say that the two days spent in Lagos had been successful.
He reached for his phone to call his wife, rising from his praying posture and plugging the device to his ears immediately the call connected. ‘How are you dearie?’
I’m great, his wife responded from the other end. He could feel the joy in her voice, even though it sounded sleepy.
‘Did I wake you up?’
‘No… you know I will not sleep without hearing from my sweetheart,’ she said, her voice teasing and sweet.
‘I know,’ Michael said, smiling sheepishly to himself. ‘Can’t wait to be with you tomorrow,’ he whispered into the mouthpiece. ‘We’re taking the first flight.’
‘Can’t wait to have you my king,’ Laide replied. ‘I should let you sleep now so you can rise up early in time for your flight, you know how Lagos is famous for its traffic.’
‘Yes my love, even though I think, you need the sleep more than I do,’ Michael joked as he engaged his wife in another five minutes of pillow talk before the eventual hang up.
He would have loved to just lay in bed and sleep but he knew any attempt to do that would end up with him just tossing around the bed. He had to take his bath. It was almost a ritual, especially after a ministration.
A quick cold shower was all he needed and as he doused his body with his towel, his eyes caught the beeping light of his phone. He picked it up from the bed and saw that he had a new message. It was obviously his wife wishing him sweet-dreams, with lots of flowers and emoticons to express her love for him.
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Priye scanned the room with her eyes, checking around to make sure she was not forgetting anything as she zipped her bag up.
A hotel room was not a good place to forget personal effects, especially if they were valuable.
As she settled into the bed, Sinachs’ voice cut through the silence in the room, it was her phone’s ringtone. She picked up the phone from the bed and smiled knowingly as she saw the number displayed on the screen of the phone. It was her Pastor boyfriend -Ben.
His voice was soothing as he asked about the conference, taking particular care to enquire about her ministration. ‘I trust you must have been such a blessing in the conference,’ he said.
‘It’s God’s grace sweets. I felt the butterflies as I climbed the stage, but you know how it is when you finally start,’
‘Sure I do, that’s when the Holy Spirit takes over,’ he said, sounding every inch like the clergy that he was.
Priye smiled as she listened to Ben’s voice over the end of the phone. It was no different from the day he asked her out almost eight months ago. Smooth, with a little mix of shyness. It was a weird combination.
‘Goodnight my love,’ He cooed.
‘Goodnight dear,’ she replied. Tapping on the end call button, as she nestled in between the sheets. She was obviously distracted from the call by thoughts that were locked up in a cell in the recesses of her mind. She gazed up at the room’s deck, seeing nothing but blank space.
‘Are you asleep?’ she typed into her phone. Watching the D icon, to see when it will change to an R, signifying that the message had been read, but it didn’t.
After what looked like an age but was actually just seven minutes, she picked her phone up again from the bed, searching to see if the D had changed, but the alphabet stared back at her stubbornly.
Maybe he was asleep, she thought to herself, her eyes still plugged on the D icon, and just as the conversation continued within her, the D changed to the much awaited R.
R u there? She typed on her keypad excitedly, biting her lips in anticipation.
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Immediately he read the message, Michael knew he had made a mistake. He had thought it was his wife sending him some ‘sweet-dreams’ wishes, but he was wrong.
He paused, holding the phone in his hand, not sure what to do with it and just like he expected, the next message came in, R u there?
Yes, he typed, albeit reluctantly. He waited for the response anxiously, his fingers dancing in mid-air as he twitched his lips unconsciously.
I’m coming over.
You can’t, he quickly replied, his heartbeat picking up pace. This is a hotel!
You better leave your door open, so I don’t have to knock when I get there. You don’t want us waking up the other guests. I’m on my way.
Michael dashed to the door to open it up. He knew it was a waste of time trying to type a reply as it was obvious she meant every word -Priye never bluffed.
He stayed some few steps away from the door after making sure it was open, he obviously did not want her knocking at that time. He had too much of a reputation to protect.
He rubbed his palms against each other, as his eyes stayed glued to the entrance of the door. He waited with bated breath as he allowed his heartbeat do a countdown to the arrival of trouble.
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