Jane couldn’t believe her ears, her mouth hanging wide open. She stared at him, Mofe is tranquil waiting for her response. How would she tell her father she wouldn’t be working O’del telecommunication, he gave her with so much enthusiasm. How would she tell Tega to handle Infinity wine alone? How would her family react?
What is she going to be doing at home all day? This isn’t the life she had envisioned for herself. Her family thinks Mofe will be her downfall, they’re right. He’s draining her life. She had done everything to make the relationship work but it’s futile, she didn’t want to give up but nothing seem good enough. She knows Mofe is after her wealth but she had hoped her love would change him.
Mofe would get drunk, come home and force himself on Jane, often times he would thwack her. He cheats on her, bringing them home at will, spending extravagantly. She should think it through and probably take a drastic step but her health is her top priority.
“African woman it is” she concluded.
“You say it without vigor and with hurt”
“I’d love to be a house wife full time” she said managing a weak smile.
Mofe nodded and walked away.
Jane took a deep breath. She might have given him a license to host her funeral. This wasn’t the welcome wagon she had hoped would usher her into her home. She ran her hand through her thick hair, Kiki’s words popped in.
‘Your health is in declivity’
‘You lost your child…the fifth child in four years’
‘If only I knew the duration, then maybe….just maybe I can hope’
Tega stole glances at Jane’s office. It’s almost lunch and she’s nowhere to be seen. Mofe might be behind it, maybe he thwacked her again, she could have speed-dialed me already.
“Max he battered her again”
Max stepped into her office, sat and stared at her.
“I’m sane, quit giving me the askance gaze”
“Jay isn’t here doesn’t mean he thwacked her”
Tega lean forward smiling.
“Jay is in need of medical help right now” she raised her hand to stop him. “If she’s battered you’ll tell me who your crush is but…..”
“If she’s not thwacked, you will quit bugging me about the love of my life till am ready to bring her home”
“I know Jay, she’s hurt. You know you’ll definitely lose” Tega said standing up.
“Will you accept him eventually?”
Tega swiveled at the door, stunned by his question. He obviously know something I don’t, why would he ask when he knows the answer already.
“Are you keeping secrets from me?”
“Will you accept Mofe eventually?”
“He’s after her money, he batters her to unconsciousness, cheats on her and discard her like trash. If you have a reason why my family and I should accept him then do tell”
Max didn’t utter a word.
Tega unlocked the door with her spare key. Walking towards Jane’s room, she heard voices at the balcony. Approaching, she saw Mofe and his mother deep in a conservation. Taking refuge near she door, she eavesdropped on their conservation
“Mom, I told you to wait till we’re married. You can’t just barge in here to tell me a house and wife is ready for me.” She scoffed.
“It’s not as if you love her, we both know you’re with her for money and prestige”
“After she signs the marriage certificate, I will be free of all obligation to her. Few more weeks”
“I don’t care what you do, just keep her at bay”
“She lives with me, bay wouldn’t be possible”
“Her money should also be at bay but of course it wouldn’t. You’re here for her money, I couldn’t understand why you’re desperate for her money then I realized it’s in your gene. Your mother also want her money” Tega said stepping into view.
They turned in the direction of the voice. Mofe’s mom chided her.
“Your mother didn’t tutor you manners?”
“Did you tutor your son manners?” She rebuffed her.
“Tega, did your manners fly out the window?”
Tega laughed scornfully.
“I thought you had forgotten my name, clearly you haven’t. My manners is safely kept at the exact location you kept yours.” Mofe approached her with unwavering gaze.
“Threats are expected to be heard now Mofe but it wouldn’t” Tega told him inches apart.
“Time shouldn’t be wasted on insolent brat” Mofe’s mother said standing besides her son.
“Your father apparently knows the location of your manners. While you’re at it, ask him why he left you and your nagging mother”
She got the desired effect, he’s furious. His father is still a sensitive topic, the exact reason why she brought it up.
“What wrong Mofe? Daddy didn’t tuck you in? He didn’t take you to the park? He didn’t buy you chocolates?”
Mofe’s hand connected to her cheek, she returned the favor immediately. She strike his cheek with much vigor than his.
“I’m not Jay your punching bag,” she said leaving.
She couldn’t quite make out the words spoken by Mofe’s mother but it’s nothing short of smeared words.
She found Jane in the kitchen, she brought out a file that needed her signature. She told her she thwacked her fiance, she wasn’t pleased. She scolded her forgetting the bubbling pot for a minute, that’s her opportunity to get her signature without her reading the content. She succeeded but didn’t fail to notice the bruises on her face which was loosely concealed underneath the heavy facial powder and those on her arm.
“Max asked me if I would eventually accept him, I told him I wouldn’t.”
“You’re a hypocrite. Everything you taught me growing up is the exact opposite of Jane O’del standing before me, whom I can’t seem to recognize. You did one good thing in your life and that’s raising Mena and I properly like a mother would but it doesn’t cover the wrongs.”
Tega was gone before she could utter a word. Jane sighed deeply, she’s slowly losing her family and her life is fading faster than her family.
“You shouldn’t have lied Max,” Tega said barging into his room. He feigned ignorance at her accusation.
“They’re getting married, I heard the scoop. It’s not something that can be concealed”
“It’s not your decision to make. Give her your support”
“What did she do to you? I want Max back”
“At some point, you’ve got to forgive her for yourself not her”
“I would for the only thing she did right.” She intoned.
“She chose someone else and she’s happy. You won the bet, Clara told me about her bruises”
“I won the bet but not excited. You’re heart broken like me but I want details of everything”
“Don’t wait up”
Jane spent the whole day cooking for Mofe’s friends. She wasn’t expecting any appreciation but she didn’t expect the horrible names shot at her. Mofe didn’t defend her, she wasn’t moved by it. In a split second, she couldn’t recognize her home. It was a pub in every aspect.
Mofe’s mistress wasn’t left out. She wasn’t sure if all the females in her home are married women considering the activities indulged in. She went outside and sat on the stairs leading to the porch.
“You’re missing all the exciting adventures in there” Jane lost in thoughts didn’t hear Max come in or sit besides her. She stared ahead.
“Are they strippers in there?”
“Strippers are fun, no strings attached and no baggage” Max trying maintaining a straight face but couldn’t. He laughed.
“You could join them” her eyes darted from him to the cold night.
“When will you be happy?”
“Can you look into my eyes and speak those words?”
Jane suddenly felt uneasy, she haven’t been alone with him in years. She looked around, hoping something would capture her attention and redirect the conservation.
“Jay” she turned her gaze to him. He probed further.
“You left, why?”
“We’re beyond that, it’s in the past”
“I deserve to know why you left. I will eventually move on and when I do, I don’t want to make the same mistake.”
“It wasn’t you, it was all me”
“You’re joking, right? The old cliché?”
“It’s not, I was scared you would leave me. You always gush about your love for me, I thought that was it. I thought it was just a scratch surface thing with nothing beneath but I was wrong. You have always been perfect, it was all me”
“You left because of your insecurity.” He whispered. He obviously wasn’t expecting it.
“I was scared”
“You left because you thought I didn’t love you? You left due to your insecurity? My mom kept probing why you chose a beast over me, for years she refused to believe I did nothing wrong. She pleads severally to tell her the truth Jane. Mom refused to forgive me, I couldn’t get over it. I kept asking myself what I did. You chose a beast over me because you were scared. Loving you was and is the only thing drifting you away”
Jane looked into his eyes, it was blank and motionless. He got up, gazed at her cynically then left.