In the previous episode of Shades of Deceit
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She looked at the phone suspiciously, her face wrinkled in worry. Something was wrong.
How could Priye’s chat history be blank when just last week, it had some innocent church conversations?
What could have been in the chats with Priye -another set of nude pictures?
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”O ye of little faith. You have not received a spirit of fear, but of love,’ her voice cooed sensuously in his ears…setting his body aflame with desire.
It’s of power and of love and of a sound mind. He corrected her.
‘You’re the Pastor…I’m a singer, I think it’s time you do your job so I can sing,’ she said…
That was the exact moment the song Olo mi by Tosin Martins serenaded the room, it was his special ringtone for his wife.
She cut the call and put the phone off, tossing it further away from them before lining his lips with a hot kiss.
‘Do you know I can’t remember when I cut the call and put off my phone? I was so fast asleep,’ Michael muttered…
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‘Why is Priye’s chat history blank?’ Laide asked…
Michael was transfixed. ‘What sort of a nonsense question is that?’
‘The kind that a wife would ask?’
‘Have you started fooling yourself with Priye just like you did with Ivie?’ Laide asked, her voice laced with contempt.
The response was fast. It was a lightning slap across her face… sending her crashing to the ground.
‘Don’t you ever talk to me in that tone of voice in your life again,’ Michael barked …the sound of her sobs trailing him as he stormed out of the bedroom, shutting the door with a bang.
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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th, 2014.
Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja.
The song filtered into her head as she drifted between sleep and reality. She had dozed off while listening to a program on radio with her phone on the bed. She knew the song.
My skin is like a map
Of where my heart has been
And I can’t hide the marks
It’s not a negative thing…
Laide winced in pain as she felt her swollen lips with her tongue. Her hurt was not from her swollen lips, it was from a broken heart.
I bruise easily
So be gentle when you handle me
There’s a mark you leave
Like a love heart carved on a tree…
The tears rolled down her cheeks as Natasha Bedingfield’s velvety voice seeped out from the phone’s speakers. In a former life, before she became a Pastor’s wife, this was one of her favourite songs, but never had she connected with the lyrics of the song the way she presently connected with it.
She sniffled as she wrapped her arms around her son, not like one seeking to protect her child but as one seeking protection from her child. His room had been her refuge for the past two nights as she had refused all entreaty from her husband to return to their shared bedroom.
She would however have to return to their bedroom when it was daybreak as her sister Yewande was arriving from Lagos for a short stay. She couldn’t let anybody, not even Yewande, know that Pastor and Mrs Igbinedion were not living as a happily married christian couple, let alone as the respected christian leaders that they were supposed to be. They had a reputation and she had to play her part to protect that reputation.
Who would believe that Mrs Laide Igbinedion, wife of the charismatic and heavily anointed pastor of a ten thousand member congregational church had sad nights like these?
Who would believe that she was a victim of abuse in a marriage that was globally acclaimed as a model for what a good and happy marriage should look like?
Michael had hit her once while they were courting and she remembered how he had begged and grovelled for months before she eventually forgave him. That was six months before he proposed.
He would eventually start his assault on her four years after they were married, when Jeremiah was just two years old. She remembered vividly that the argument was about his seeming closeness to Ivie whom he had elevated from being just a leader of one of the home fellowship units in the church to being his personal assistant. She had explained away his closeness to Ivie to the fact that they both hailed from the same tribe, but having her as a personal assistant was way more than she could logically explain.
In the first place, why did he need a personal assistant, and a female one at that?
‘These days, with the amount of speaking invitations that I get, if I don’t get an assistant, I might end up having to sleep in church,’ Michael explained. ‘I need time with you and my growing son. I don’t want to be an absent dad,’ he said, planting a kiss on her lips.
As usual, she was bought.
Ivie was eventually employed and Michael continued to sleep in church, closing just as late as he used to.
‘You’re not stupid enough to infer that I’m going out with my P.A, are you?’ Michael asked, his face contorted in anger as he responded to his wife’s questions.
‘You are not stupid enough to go out with her, are you?’ She asked, throwing the question back at him.
‘Is that question for me?’ He lashed out with a slap right across her right cheek.
The sound was like a thunder clap.
Shock was riddled on her face for the first thirty seconds and as the tears rolled down her eyes, all she could say was, ‘Michael, you slapped me because of Ivie?’
‘I slapped you because you insulted me,’ he replied, walking out on her.
It was also the first time they had slept in separate rooms.
She missed church the next day being a Sunday as her eyes were swollen and reddened by the slap. It was the last time, Michael hit her on her face and on a Saturday.
His assaults had since become more planned and strategic as the three other times he had hit her was either on a Thursday or a Friday and he had lashed her with his belt and on her buttocks, after over-powering her on the bed and muffling her cries with a pillow -like she was an errant child. He had not followed this rule two days ago when he slapped her on her face. It was reminiscent of the first time he hit her since they became husband and wife.
‘Please, no one must know of this,’ Michael pleaded as she looked at him with disdain.
‘I thought you said you both had nothing between yourselves?’ she asked, waving the phone at him. ‘This is nothing right?’ Her eyes glancing at the nude pictures of Ivie plastered on the screen of the phone.
Michael was quiet.
‘You will sack her immediately,’ she said, her voice fierce and authoritative. ‘And if you must have a personal assistant, then I will choose that person,’ she continued, her mind already set on Nike whom she trusted and was like a younger sister to her.
Marriage was not supposed to be perfect and hers was not. The only difference with her marriage was that everyone seemed to believe that she and Michael were living a fairy-tale. He was the poster boy for a good man and her, for a virtuous woman. They were a perfect marriage.
If only they knew.
If only they knew. She muttered into the dark cold night.
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Chika Ezenwa stared at the suspended ceiling boards in his room, his eyes seeing nothing, as his mind x-rayed his life in the past five months.
It was a sad life.
Where there used to be patters of the tiny feet of his son Josh, there was quiet. And where there used to be the body of his wife lying next to him as a human heater, there was emptiness and cold.
He missed his family, but most especially, he missed his son.
But how do you forgive a woman, whose sex tape is right now on the internet?
It was a question he had been unsuccessfully trying to find an answer to and no matter how hard he tried to push the images to the recesses of his mind, the pictures from the tape remained crisp and clear. They haunted him.
He loved Amaka with his life but now he was not so sure. What he was however sure of was that, his heart was not hating her as much as he would like. It was looking for excuses to forgive her.
How do you hate the mother of your only child? The mother of Josh.
He exhaled loudly as the handsome face of his son formed in his mind and his tiny voice rang out in his ears. Daadi.
What if she was right that the video was done way before they met?
There was nothing to prove it, but what if she was right? Was it not enough to take her back for?
‘Too many questions,’ Chika muttered as he closed his face with a pillow, ‘Too many questions,’ he repeated.
He missed his family and he wanted them back.
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Michael watched the couple as they argued between themselves.
‘Pastor, this is exactly what I’m facing,’ the husband said exasperated. ‘I don’t know if she is the husband, or I am the husband. She doesn’t even let me drink water and put the cup down. If I talk one word, she will talk twenty, if she could, she would wear the trousers in the house,’ the man said, his eyes showing his frustration.
The woman sat still, hands folded across her belly, her gaze fixed on her husband.
Michael smiled. ‘She’s a woman Mr Nweke, talk is what she knows how to do best.’
The wife grunted in acknowledgement, a quiet way of saying, tell him.
Michael smiled, ignoring her very quiet interruption. ‘The bible urges you to love your wife and one of the ways of showing love is to love and eat her food, no matter how angry you are. She has spent time in cooking, you should eat.’
The wife’s eyes glowed as the pastor spoke, visibly pleased with the path the discussion was towing.
‘And madam, you know you have to submit to your husband?’
‘Yes Pastor,’ the woman replied, her face slightly bowed.
‘It’s easy to draw out his love in that manner, the bible recommends it,’ Michael stated.
His eyes settled on the clock in his office. It was reading, 3:12. He was running late as he had planned to leave the office by three ‘o’ clock to get some gifts for his wife.
His mind ran on the kind of gifts he could get to break the ice that was currently in his home.
Romantic apology card? Check.
10 sweet cherries & 12 swizzled strawberry chocolates? Check.
3 dozen long stemmed red roses? Check.
Sweet session of lovemaking? Check.Check.Check…
Pastor Michael Igbinedion smiled to himself, nodding his head as Mr Nweke’s mouth opened and closed. He wasn’t hearing one word, but that was no problem, there was always a bible verse to fill up that space. He had to close up the session as soon as possible so he could go and prepare for the very long night that was surely ahead in the home of the Igbinedions.
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