She chose not to call him the moment she got into the country. Her sole aim was to surprise him.
“Is he around?”She asked his receptionist.
“No Ma,he went out with Miss Patricia”
“My best friend” Ayike affirmed as she hugged her tightly when she arrived at home.
“I’ve been cooking for you since morning,you know your maids can’t make ewedu like I can” she added with a smile.
“Uhhh..you want me to put on more weight” Ireti replied.
“I got shoes and bags for you. They are your style,I’m sure you would love them”
Ayike ran into the room to examine them when she heard that.
“Yeye girl!” Ireti teased.
James walked in with a bad boy suave as he went to meet Simon at the office.
“Hi! I’m James..I believe you recognise me from those photos and we also spoke a few weeks ago. I’m Ireti’s lover. We weren’t planning to get so involved,but fate had other plans. She doesn’t love you,she said your existence chokes her heart. I suggest you move on with Patricia and leave her for me.”
Simon was signing several documents all through,he paid not a single attention to the words but he heard them.
“Shut the door on your way out!” He commanded the muscular white man who felt degraded.
“I’ve missed you so much!” She exclaimed in his office several hours later.
“Me too..” He rejoined with a distant look.
“What’s wrong? You’re stressed?I got this for you..With James’ help of course..Tada!” she exclaimed and presented a studded Omega wristwatch to him.
“I didn’t get it with my parents’ money,but with my salary. I’ve been saving for this since day one,I’ve always wanted to get you something befitting” she said blushing.
“Thanks! I feel really special now.”
“You’re really special” she added with a kiss that was not responded to.
“About James…we need to talk”
“What are these? Who took these pictures?”
“Its not true Sims” she retorted with tears in her eyes.
“What isn’t true? You aren’t the one in these pictures? Or that’s not James?”
“No….we’re the ones but…there’s nothing between us…Please believe me”
“I’m not disbelieving you…I just don’t know if I want to see you for now. There’s a lot on my mind..”
“What? I would never cheat on you…the peck was…..I held his shoulder there because he was drunk…..”
“Please don’t cry..I’m just tired of all these obstacles and confusing claims,I don’t wanna force myself on you”
“But..I need to tell you something..its urgent..since Rev Benedict has travelled I..”
“I know you need to defend yourself urgently,but maybe some other time. Glad to have you back in Nigeria.” He concluded,she rose from her kneeling position and exited the office in tears.
She stormed into James’ studio apartment on her way back from Sims’ office.
“I thought we were friends..you have no idea how much you’ve hurt me,” she was sobbing like a little child. “Thanks anyways,I appreciate your effort…”
“Wait blue..”(He called her a blue blood because of her wealthy royal background) she stormed out in tears,promising never to return to his house.
“He doesn’t want to see me” she lamented to Ayike in tears when she got home.
“Sure about that? He sent a package to you earlier on. I was tempted to open it sef..but I didn’t,” she replied truthfully.
It was a knee length black gown with a strip of shiny golden material on each side,there was also a costumed neck piece and an address. The note that accompanied it read thus. ‘ Marquee’s hall, 8pm-Sims’.
She started smiling and scratched her head nervously.
“Does this mean he isn’t angry anymore? Maybe I can finally tell him…” There was a glimmer of hope and faith in her beautiful eyes as she spoke.
He came to pick her up a few minutes after 8pm.
“Everything will be fine..this your gown is hot oh” Yike commented with a smile after which she hugged her briefly.
“Good evening Ma” his driver greeted her the moment she stepped into the vehicle.
“Good evening Kola,” She replied.
He said not a word,they were like two strangers who had no interest in speaking to themselves.
“How’s the gown? Too short? Are you comfortable?”
“Its not short per se,but its different and I’m with you so, I’m comfortable” she replied smiling and he turned his face to the newspaper that sat on his lap.
Ire got into the hall on her own,he kept his distance from her and several men present at the event were staring at her salaciously. She felt like sobbing uncontrollably,but kept herself together.
It was a dinner organised by Patricia’s employers, “The Daily Post.”
“This is our table,” Patricia affirmed as she held Ire’s hands and they both walked towards it. Her blue gown clung to her beautifully,and revealed the hollow of her back.
“Do you know where Sims is?” Ireti asked after she was seated.
“Am I his keeper? Of course not.” Patricia answered with an air of pride.
It was a quite boring event,with too many speeches and lengthy appraisals.
“I want to go home”
“How old are you 21? 22? No wonder he keeps playing you..didn’t he tell you about what happened between us whilst you were in South Africa? you’re just a naïve baby”
“If something happened he would have told me…I’m not naïve” Ire answered sadly.
“Here! Drink this” Patricia placed a bottle of wine in front of her.
“Its not alcoholic right?”
“Of course not”
She gulped down several glasses of the sweet wine and awaited Sims’ arrival.
He wore an ash suit that complemented his beautiful complexion,with a white shirt and no tie.
“Ahh..you’re back! Your baby has been crying all day,its not easy being a baby sitter” Patricia remarked with a sigh.
Ireti looked weak and tired.
“Are you okay?” He implored in concern
“Yes..but I wanna go home”
“We will..very soon”
The moment they were getting ready to leave,her food came back into her mouth and she ran into the bathroom.
“Why did you throw up?” He asked with a hand to her back,”You’re not sick are you?”
“I don’t think so. Please tell the driver to stop,” she requested when they were on their way home.He did and she stepped down and relieved herself by throwing up again.
“Goodnight” he remarked with a smiley face after dropping her at home and they zoomed off.
“Why do you look sick?” Ayike quizzed as she slumped on the couch.
“I don’t know…I’ve been throwing up”
“Ahhh…abi?” Ayike asked as she made gestures of an inflated stomach which implied pregnancy.
“I’m not pregnant jor” she answered laughing.
“How is she?” Ayo enquired as Sims reclined on his grandma’s lap in the living room.
“Fine..but she has been throwing up”
“Ehn? Ehhh!” His grandma yelled as she placed her hands on her head. “Don’t you know what that means? Shebi I told you earlier on when she visited! Ireti is pregnant!! Is it yours?”
He got up from her shrunken laps angrily and went to bed.
“Ireti! Wake up!! Your husband is here,or should I send him in?”
“Please do” she said to Ayike with a smile,and her friend responded with a wink.
“Are you pregnant?” He shouted furiously,he was red with anger.
“Baby….I don’t understand..who told you such?..its not..”
“Don’t stutter or cry,just answer my question!”
“I’m not pregnant” She was crying uncontrollably with a somnolent look in her eyes.
“Please don’t do that. I just wanted to confirm..my grandma said your eyes looked like that of a pregnant woman the last time she saw you,and Patricia said that too.”
“Then why have you been throwing up? You’re not ill.Those are pregnancy symptoms,”
“I don’t know…I’ve taken several tests this morning…but a pregnancy test wasn’t among them.. I can’t be pregnant..no one has..I can’t believe you’re asking me this” she bursted out in tears.
He bent down to kiss her cheeks and wipe off her tears.
“I really need to talk to you..I need you…” she clouted sadly.
“I know..but I’m busy. I have to go now,see you whenever”
“Yes,I’m off to Ibadan. Honey? Maybe you should take the test. James should know if he’s going to be a father.”
“Did something happen between you and Patricia while I was away? Please don’t leave me,I need you…” she wept bitterly.
“Simon, Please!!” She rose up from her bed and held onto him tightly in a transparent night gown that offered him a little view of her feminine body.
“Nothing worthy of your knowledge.We really need a break Ire,I need to think. Goodbye.”
He soliloquised quietly on his way to work.
“I’m so confused and hurt..” He stared at the engagement ring catalogue in his hand and dropped it on the back seat.
“This can wait” he said to himself as he stepped down from the vehicle.