In the previous episode of Shades of Deceit
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The future where she would finally write and publish her book; The Memoirs Of A Pastor’s Wife. The future where she would grow old and grey with Michael and forget that he was the same man, Yewande had joked about poisoning. The future where Jeremiah and his sister Joy would visit, and bring their kids to come see Grandma. The future that was very certain to come.
Her eyes glowed as she dwelt on these thoughts and like a thought lightly dressed up in sound, she muttered a quiet, ‘Thank you Jesus.
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7th, 2014.
Mrs Remi Johnson was a picture of a very happy woman. The smile on her face seemed like it was permanently plastered on it as her eyes glittered like masterfully cut out diamond pieces.
Why would she not be happy when she had been blessed with four beautiful daughters?
There was a time it had bothered her that she was having only girl children especially as the taunts of her now late mother in-law, had made her life a living hell.
She did not lose heart but had continued to hope and try out for a boy even after the complications that accompanied the birth of her third daughter, Boluwatife.
The news of her husband having a son from a hitherto unknown mistress had not weakened her resolve but had actually inspired her to try again, getting pregnant for what would turn out to be her last child.
Maybe the son from the mistress would open the way for her own boy child.
The child had turned out to also be a girl, a stubborn one at that and her husband chose to name her Yewande.
You can’t have any more children Mrs Johnson, to do so would be a big gamble on your life.
The doctor’s words sounded like a death knell then as it meant an end to her dreams of ever having a baby boy.
Lekan her husband, who had moved in with his mistress and mother of his son, began to visit home even less frequently, and with no one to talk to she found friendship in the queerest of places; her ten year old daughter, Laide.
She remembered that very first night little Laide had crawled into her bed as she muffled her sobs with her pillow as was her custom every other night. She had paused as her daughter slid in beside her, not wanting to have to explain to her why she was crying.
Mummy, stop crying, Daddy will come back, and even if he doesn’t come back, you have me, Idera, Bolu and Baby. We are God’s blessings to you and we will never leave.
The wisdom in those words spoken by little Laide had pierced her heart and brought even more tears to her eyes, but this time the tears were different. They were tears of gratitude.
Laide grew up to become a second mother to her sisters, especially to Yewande her last child. And even in their separate marriages, Laide was the go-to-center for her sisters when they had issues in their various homes. It served her well that she was a Pastor’s wife as she seemed to expertly handle all issues brought her way.
Who would have ever thought that the wife who was scorned for not having a boy would become this blessed?
Here she was revelling in the thoughts of Yewande’s wedding coming up on the sixth of December and Laide’s tenth year wedding anniversary which was in two days time while the one who gave birth to a boy was living in the torture of seeing her son stand trial for rape. A case she heard he was definitely going in for, as there was overwhelming evidence against him.
The stupid boy had made a recording of the rape and sent it to his victim – omo oshi.
She rubbed her palms together in typical prayer fashion, muttering words for herself, her mate and all mothers in the world. Ki’Olorun sha ma shaanu awa iya oo.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 2014.
Pastor Michael Igbinedion scrolled through his notes on his Samsung Galaxy notebook as Bishop Desmond did the welcome address of the Transformation Master-class.
The massive edifice was already filling out as people thronged into the hall with every passing minute. It was an impressive sight considering the fact that it was still work period and most people were yet to close from work for the day.
There had been a last minute adjustment to the schedule as Pastor Tony Richards who flew in from America and had been scheduled to take the first session had a flight delay from Lagos and so both of them had to swap sessions.
Pastor Michael raised his head up from his note to watch as his mentor enjoined the congregation to have their hearts set for transformation. He felt charged up and ready to go, speaking words of prayer under his breath and just at that moment, his phone rang – distracting his preparation.
He reached quickly into his pocket, tapping the silence button at the same time as he checked to see who the caller was. It was a set of displayed numbers as the number was not registered on his phone. He waited for the completion of the True Caller search and saw the names Engr. Antawa pop up after about seven seconds. He had no idea who it was, allowing the call to ring out in the silent mode as he looked around for Nike to collect the device so she could receive his calls as was the usual practise anytime he was ministering.
He couldn’t find her.
Please do help me make welcome, my son and my friend, Pastor Michael Igbinedion, the Bishop’s voice boomed out from the loudspeakers as he quickly turned the profile settings on his phone to the silent mode to prevent distractions from incoming calls and then slipped the device into the left inner pocket of his jacket. He picked up his Samsung Galaxy notebook from his laps and made his way to the altar, his eyes on Bishop Desmond, who had his arms outstretched towards him with a welcoming smile on his face.
The congregation was on their feet by this time and the applause was deafening. ‘Thank you sir,’ he whispered into the ears of the Bishop as they shared a hug.
The Bishop pointed to the pulpit and proceeded to leave the stage to a young man he was extremely proud of.
Laide powered on the television in the office immediately she settled into her chair and watched as Pastor Ben led the congregation in the prayer session.
The door of her office eased opened and Yewande strolled in, bearing the car key fob in her hand.
‘You left the bag in the car?’ Laide asked her sister, surprised that she was not carrying a bag into the office.
‘Which bag Sister?’ Yewande asked as she dropped the key fob on the table and sat opposite her sister, her eyes on the television, watching live events happening in the church auditorium.
‘The shopping bag I stacked Nike’s clothes,’ Laide answered. ‘I put it in the sitting-room; did you not put it in the car?’
‘Ah! I did not Sister,’ Yewande gasped, realising she had made a mistake. ‘I actually took it back to your room when I saw it in the sitting room.’
‘Urgh!’ Laide sighed, ‘and that’s the same bag I asked you to remind me to bring to church so I can finally hand it over to the owner. You didn’t remind me and when I put it in a place where I can’t forget, you take it back into the room.’
Yewande smiled, ‘I’m sorry Sister, I thought you said you would hand it over to her on Sunday, seeing that she might not be in church today as she would have followed Pastor to the invitation,’ Yewande said, surprised at how easy it was for her to switch from calling her brother in-law Uncle Michael to Pastor anytime she was in church.
‘Barrister Yewande, I know I said that but I just wanted to bring it in to the office today since I remembered. At-least if it’s already here, I can hand it over to her anytime.’ Laide explained with a mischievous grin on her face. ‘I’m beginning to suspect you have plans for those clothes.’
‘And what about the note pad that I placed at the top of the stack in the bag?’ Laide asked her sister, her eyes searching her sister’s hands to see if she was holding a note pad.
‘I left it on top the stack of clothes in the bag,’ Yewande replied, not sure what she had done wrong this time. ‘That’s your home study note, or is it not?’
‘Yes it is, but there are important things I wrote down for today’s message. You will have to go back home to get it, whether or not you know how to drive,’ Laide said matter of factly. She was clearly not pleased.
Yewande remained silent, knowing she had indeed messed up this time.
Laide picked up the car’s key fob from the table and rose up from her chair after stealing a quick glance at the table clock. It was just about 6:25, meaning she had about thirty five minutes before she was scheduled to minister. It was enough time to drive home and back. ‘Let Pastor Tony know that I went home to pick something and that I’ll be back soon,’ she said walking briskly out of the office.
Yewande watched on as her sister walked out of the office and even though she felt terrible for inconveniencing her, she couldn’t help but admire her at this moment. She looked so smart and beautiful in the pink gown complete with the jacket ensemble that she put on.
And who says pregnant women can’t wear heels? Yewande thought within herself as she remembered her sister’s brisk steps in a pair of heels.
You should be feeling terrible, but here you are analysing clothes and fashion. You’re definitely materialistic.
Yewande smiled as her mind voice whispered to her. It sounded exactly like what her sister would have said. She turned her gaze to the television and set her heart on the Praise Session going on in the church auditorium.
Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja.
‘I won’t take a minute,’ Pastor Michael said as he turned off the engine of the car in front of his house. ‘If the drink had spilled only on my jacket, I would have worn only my shirt to church, after all I don’t wear jackets on Saturdays,’ he added as he stepped out of the car.
‘Pastor, I’d also like to get some drinking water,’ Nike said as she also stepped out of the car. ‘I’m really thirsty.’
‘Is that a problem?’ Pastor Michael asked as he secured the car by tapping on the key fob in his hand. ‘You know where the fridge is,’ He said as he opened the pedestrian gate lock, leading the way into the compound.
Nike walked behind him, staring lustfully at his image as his long strides kept him safely ahead of her. Her mind wandered to some twenty five minutes ago when he had held captive the attention of about thirty thousand people. The applause, the screams, the endearing look in the eyes of members of the congregation, not only made her proud of him, it made her yearn for him.
She dropped the glass cup on top the marble counter top in the kitchen, feeling even thirstier than she was, before she had taken the glass of water. It was the kind of thirst that only his kiss could quench.
She felt a tinge of guilt well up in her immediately the thoughts of his kiss entered her mind but she waved it aside preferring to dwell on the pleasure the feel of his lips would bring.
If he could initiate sex with her, why did she feel so guilty anytime the thought of initiating sex with him crossed her mind?
She walked out of the kitchen, towards the direction of the master bedroom, her mind setting her feet to purpose. She dropped her jacket at the entrance of the door as her fingers worked open the buttons on her blouse.
Michael paused as he walked out of the closet, his fingers glued to his shirt and his mouth agape, unable to be held together by a slackened jaw. He was just in time to see Nike toss her blouse to the ground in his bedroom. ‘Stop,’ he said to her as his eyes caught her jacket lying on the ground, just at the entrance.
Nike walked up to him, biting her lower lip sensuously as she advanced towards him like a predator stalking a prey.
She unclipped the straps of her bra with nimble fingers as she let her nipples stare at him while she quenched her thirst with the joining of her lips with his, her body vibrating feverishly as she felt the sweet sensations of his kiss. It was wrong but it felt like a miracle.
Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja.
Laide stopped the car in front of the house and was surprised to see her husband’s car parked outside.
Is it that he didn’t get to honour the invitation anymore? She thought to herself as the information on the letter he had shown her had read that his session would be starting by 6pm.
She smiled as another thought crossed her mind. He was busy planning another big surprise for tomorrow, which was their tenth year wedding anniversary and had come home behind her, to drop his gift.
Michael was a master at planning surprises and how it would hurt his feelings and waste his efforts if she should just barge in right now and spoil his surprise. She picked her phone up from the rack by her side in the car and dialled his number. It would be better if he would just bring the bag with the note pad outside to her than for her to walk into the house and spoil his surprise.
She gazed at the screen of her phone as she tried the number again, listening to the familiar beeping sound that signified that the call was ringing at the other end, but like in the previous two occasions, the call rang out as her husband didn’t pick her call yet again.
‘There’s no time for this right now,’ she muttered to herself as her eyes caught the time on her wristwatch. She had only ten minutes more to get back to church.
She stepped out of the car and made straight for the house, tapping on the key fob as she crossed the entrance of the pedestrian gate. She was surprised to see it open.
As she approached the entrance door to the house, she turned the knob, much against her inner prompts to knock on the panel of the door. There was no one in the sitting room but she could tell instinctively that she was not alone in the house.
She stepped into the lobby that led to the room and immediately caught the scent of the perfume. It was a female and familiar fragrance but she could not immediately place its owner. She swallowed hard as her saliva refused to go down her throat.
Unconsciously she began to tip toe, muffling the sound from her heels, she could feel the pacing of her heart-beat increase with every step and a breakout of sweat from every pore on her skin. She had a clammy feeling that something was wrong, she was too scared to even imagine it, but she knew something was definitely wrong.