Ginika’s Bridesmaids: Book Five (Ginika) – Chapter 1

Ginika’s Bridesmaids: Book Five (Ginika) – Chapter 1

Chapter One

 

“So, that’s all your bridesmaids married now,” Dike smiled, getting into bed to join me.

“It only took them four years!” I answered, rolling my eyes. “One for each year of our marriage. Ozi and Banji could have even been before us if they’d gotten their act together early enough, instead of that whole nonsense of her fixing him up with everything and everyone in sight.”

“Didn’t she try to hook you two up as well?”

“My point exactly!”

“But I guess all’s well that ends well,” he chuckled. “It was a beautiful wedding.”

I smiled in agreement. It sure was. We had just returned from Ozioma and Banji’s New Year’s Day wedding, a small intimate affair with close friends and family.

“I still can’t get over the fact my aunt and her husband agreed to spend Christmas in Lagos,” I remarked. “That has never, ever happened.”

“After last year’s rumble in the jungle, I wouldn’t say I’m too surprised,” Dike laughed. “I still can’t get over that fight.”

“That fight was e.p.i.c! I’m still upset we only got to see the aftermath,” I giggled along with him, remembering the showdown between my cousin and her would-have-been in-laws on her father’s birthday. If only she’d known she’d be traditionally marrying her future husband exactly a year later, also on her father’s birthday.

“But we danced today sha,” I mused, smiling at the memory of everyone going crazy on the dance floor, led by the bride and groom themselves.

Even though I’d initially thought her short-lived marriage better suited for her, what with the guy being everything she’d been singing about marrying for as long as I’d known her, since reuniting with Banji, her best-friend-turned-lover, it was clear to all that theirs was a perfect and beautiful kind of love.

Starting with Mass in her family church, with her wearing her dream dress, a champagne-coloured bodysuit-styled dress in illusion lace and a tulle overskirt, a private reception had followed, the décor in her preferred orange and pink theme. I smiled at the memory of the new couple’s first dance to Dru Hill’s So Special. If I still nursed any doubts about them, they were erased at that very instant. Banji looked at her like a goddess beamed down to earth especially for him, and if there was one thing I knew better than anything, it was the wisdom of marrying a man who worshipped the very ground one walked on.

“But over and above everyone, Mrs. Unigwe,” Dike said, reaching for me and pulling me closer. “You were the most beautiful woman there by far.”

I smiled, partly flattered and partly smug. But of course I was the most beautiful woman there! I always was. I didn’t spend a fortune to show up anywhere less than best dressed. Granted, it was my husband’s fortune, but it was a fortune nonetheless. And in the Marche Notte bead-embellished gown I’d worn for the occasion, I would have settled for absolutely nothing less than standing head and shoulders above everyone else.

Turning to him, I allowed his lips claim mine in the gentle kiss that always lit me up from the inside. Melting into his arms, I surrendered to the throes of passion only he was able to take me to, surrendering to the kind of pleasure my mind couldn’t even quickly process. I moaned as his hands and mouth did things to me that sent my brain into short circuit. Never had any lover been more attentive to my needs like he was, or satisfied me like he did.

Lying in each other’s arms afterwards, with his arm draped over my waist, I was sated…at least, for the time being.

“Ife was so sad about missing the wedding,” I remarked. “If she wasn’t due, I’ll bet she would have hopped on a plane to come. But Diekola has kept her under house arrest over there.”

“With good reason. Do you think I’d let you on a plane if you wanted to travel so late in a pregnancy?”

His words hung in the air; the reminder of what neither of us liked to talk about.

“Ara and C.J are starting a new cycle of IVF with a clinic here in Lagos,” he said after we’d been silent a while.

I tensed upon hearing this. “I’m aware,” was my terse answer. Of all the things I would have wanted to discuss that night, that was the very last one.

“Baby,” he said, tilting up my chin. “Why don’t we also give it a go? It’s been almost four years since we got pregnant. Maybe we might need a bit of assistance this time…”

“Which assistance? Who needs assistance?” I snapped, sitting up. “Dike, please don’t say the one that will annoy me this night.”

“Baby, just calm down and listen to me,” he pleaded, also sitting up. “Yes, we were lucky to get pregnant on our honeymoon, but so many things could have changed after the miscarriage. Even if not IVF, can we at least see a doctor? Even if only for a discussion?”

I let out a long hiss as I got off the bed, reaching for my discarded negligee. It was just like him to spoil it when we were having a good time. “I’m not going to stay here and listen to this nonsense. You can go see a doctor if you like. There is nothing wrong with me.”

“Gigi…”

Ignoring him, I stormed into the connecting bathroom, firmly locking the door behind me. Standing before the mirror, memories of lying in a pool of my own blood as I miscarried our baby flooded my head, so vivid I had to wrap my arms my body. That was the worst day of my life…the day I lost our child.

_

Dike was my rebound love.

Only three months before meeting him aboard that British Airways flight to London, my long-time boyfriend, Muyiwa, left me for another woman. It happened over Christmas and I don’t even know how I made it through that period without harming myself in some way. Even though he wasn’t my first love, we’d fallen for each other as students at Columbia University. A popular player with the school’s basketball team, he had women flocking around him from the very beginning of our relationship, cheating on me more than a few times. But the toxic lover that he was, he drove me crazy in every sense. He was bad medication, as addictive as the most potent of drugs. With him, I was always left wanting more…needing more. And it was enough to keep me there, waiting and hoping for the day I would be his one and only.

The day things went from bad to worse was the day he injured his back during tryouts for the New York Knicks. All the while in Columbia, that had always been the ultimate goal, and when he finally got the chance to test for one of the biggest teams in the NBA, he put his heart and soul into preparing for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, practicing night and day. But while trying to impress the scouts with the slam dunk he was known for, he lost his balance, fell and badly injured his back, putting paid to not only being picked by the Knicks, but indeed any basketball team at all.

That night, he was inconsolable, howling and crying like a wounded animal. The only good thing that came out of that was that he lost interest in chasing after every woman around. The bad part was that it wasn’t only women he lost interest in, but pretty much the will to live. When we all moved back to Nigeria; Ara, her ex-boyfriend Oye, Muyiwa and myself, while the rest of us immediately settled down to get ourselves jobs, Muyiwa opted to mope around, doing nothing all day but drink liquor and play video games, shuttling around his father’s homes around the world. Those days were tough, and I did everything I could to make him realise there was more to live for. And just when I thought I’d finally done that, I got the shocker of my life.

I hadn’t seen it coming. I hadn’t seen it coming at all. One moment, he was hating the hand life had dealt him, and the next, he was telling me he’d met and fallen in love with someone else. To say I was blindsided would be putting it mildly. It was like I’d been standing on a freeway, with no cars in sight, only to be cleared right off the road by a double-decker bus. I cried, I begged, I threatened, but it was clear he and his new love were now an item. They made their debut at the Boat Club’s New Year’s Eve party, and that was when I had no choice but to accept I’d lost him for good.

Three months later, and still reeling from the shock of losing the one I’d thought was the love of my life, a man I never would have even looked at on a good day chatted me up. I’d ignored all his attempts to make conversation while we were still in the airline’s boarding lounge, but while airborne and I was watching my best friend Ara’s favourite movie, Bohemian Rhapsody on the in-flight entertainment system, he’d walked up to me again.

“Maybe when you’re done with that movie, you can explain what all the fuss is about to me,” the bespectacled man had joked. “It’s my best friend’s favourite movie and I’m honestly struggling to understand why.”

Surprised by the uncanny coincidence, I turned to him. “It’s my best friend’s best movie too, and I’ve almost slept off twice trying to watch the nonsense.”

He’d laughed and I was immediately endeared to him…his kind smile and the earnest look in his eyes. Finding out we were from the same town of Asaba, and that his father had been the former Governor of our state, made him even more attractive to me. But landing in London, as we prepared to disembark from the plane, I’d been bitterly disappointed when I stood and saw that I was an inch or two taller than him. For someone who’d been with a man almost a whole foot taller, it was a very bitter disappointment, and I’d written him off there and then.

He persisted, locating my father’s home in Chelsea and bombarding me with daily gifts, sending me everything from flowers, to chocolates, to jewellery, to high-end designer shoes and bags. By the end of his first month of wooing me, I decided that, having just turned 31, time was no longer on my side. So, when he proposed three months to the day we met, I happily accepted, realising I could have done a whole lot worse than a man who not only loved me to insanity, but also had some coins in his pocket. So, I accepted the pear-shaped, five-carat diamond ring, ready to start life anew with someone else.

But a few months into our engagement, Dike and I had to put things on hold when his mother suffered an almost fatal heart attack, leading to her being hospitalized for several months and us postponing our wedding. That was when Muyiwa found his way back to me.

It started with a phone call to ‘congratulate’ me. I was so surprised to hear from him, I’d thought of the call for several days afterwards. And then when he called again, this time to lament over having lost me, the only woman who’d ever really loved and cared for him, I was beyond intrigued, surprised that the man who had so unceremoniously left me was the one now calling me multiple times a day, expressing his regret. Soon, the calls graduated in frequency, and by the time he suggested we meet up to ‘talk’, I was also desperate to see him again. Walking into the hotel room he’d chosen for our meeting, I knew I didn’t have the willpower to rebuff his advances. And I didn’t, as we slept together not just that time but several times after.

It was intoxicating. The man I’d spent so many years longing for now wanted me. That was the high I rode on during those clandestine hotel hook-ups, the reason why I was still sleeping with him during the long engagement with a fiancé who didn’t even live in the country at the time.

It didn’t help that I didn’t necessarily find this fiancé of mine, Dike, sexually attractive. He was shorter than I liked and talked about things I had very little interest in. As such, I kept him at arm’s length for the entirety of our engagement, lying to him about wanting to be celibate until our wedding when, in truth, I was steadily sleeping with my ex-boyfriend.

But after our traditional marriage, it all changed.

We’d accompanied his parents and sister to the States for his mother’s medical appointment, after which we set off for Cancun. I’d been unexcited as we headed to the resort in the Mexican city, unenthusiastic about the prospect of finally consummating our two-year relationship.

“Gigi, we could always wait till after the white wedding,” he’d offered, even though I could see the very opposite in his eyes, his desire for me palpable.

Deciding it was better to just get it over with, I’d succumbed…and I was introduced to intimacy in a way I’d never known it. I was startled by the gentleness, the attention, the way he placed my pleasure far above his, something I’d never known with anyone, especially not Muyiwa. With Muyiwa, sex always felt like the re-enactment of a pornographic movie, with the wild pounding, endless position switches and dirty talk. But with this man, this man I’d just married, it was all about loving my body, oscillating between slow and tender, to frenzied enough for me to scream his name in total ecstasy, sending me to peaks of passion I’d never imagined possible. And it hadn’t just been about the sex. Spending time alone with him, I allowed myself enjoy the way he doted on me, the way he treated me like a treasured prize. In those days with him, I wasn’t only immensely sexually satisfied, I felt loved, cherished, and wanted. And I decided never to give Muyiwa any more access, not only to my body, but my heart.

Getting back from Cancun, I told Muyiwa we were done fooling around, and even though he was upset, he’d eventually accepted that I was indeed ready to move on and, two days before the wedding, I agreed to meet up with him for final goodbyes. That had been when C.J. caught us together a second time, threatening to tell Dike everything. I’d been so frantic about losing Dike, and not just because he was a decent man to marry…but more because I had finally fallen in love with him.

Thankfully, C.J hadn’t told him, and after the wedding, Dike and I proceeded on an elaborate 5-continent honeymoon, from Marrakesh, to Paris, to the Bahamas, to Kuala Lumpur, and then Melbourne, connecting even deeper than we had in Cancun. For the first time in my life, I laid myself bare, stripping myself of all the façades and coverings I had with other people, presenting myself to Dike, my husband, more open and vulnerable than anyone else had ever seen me. In his arms, I found a cocoon, a refuge. Even though we’d already been a couple two years, it was in those five weeks that we built a real relationship, one with roots, and not one with feet that constantly ran away, like what I’d had with Muyiwa. In those four weeks, I found love for the very first time. And when I got a positive pregnancy test result the day we left Melbourne for London, our final destination, it was the perfect way to end a perfect honeymoon. Everything was perfect with my world, and I had never felt happier.

Until I lost the baby very shortly after.

As happy as I was finding out I was pregnant, I hadn’t known how attached I already was to the growing life inside me. I wasn’t at all prepared for the devastation that came with losing the baby. I cried non-stop, not even stopping when Dike returned to London. It was as if my soul needed to bleed an ocean through my eyes, as if my heart was being shredded from the inside, pain and agony flowing out of my every pore. Despite being just as devastated, Dike put everything aside to take care of me, to try to make me forget our loss.

“God will bless us with another, Gigi,” he said over and over again, as he cradled me.

But I didn’t want another. I wanted the one conceived during the most beautiful, the most romantic period of my life. By the time we returned to Nigeria, even though the tears had ebbed, the pain was just as raw as ever, everything reminding me of our loss. And when Dike reached for me for the first time after the miscarriage, his very touch sent shivers down my spine, his touch a reminder of the gift that had been so cruelly snatched from me.

“I’m not ready,” I’d muttered that night, my back to him.

“I understand, baby,” he’d answered, still wanting to cuddle. But even that had been too much for me.

“Are you hard of hearing? I said I don’t want you to touch me!” I’d exploded, hopping out of the bed and storming off to the guest room, where I remained for the following month.

I kept him at bay, even after I returned to our bedroom, shunning all his attempts to bridge the widening gap between us. Apart from the fact that the mere mention of sex took me right back to the dark days that followed our loss, I didn’t want to remember anything about the magical period we’d not only fallen in love, but had created life, because, as it turned out, it had been nothing but a mirage.

He remained extremely understanding, never complaining even as the weeks became months without any physical intimacy. But as understanding as he was, my resentment increased for everything and anyone around me…most of all for him, for having gotten me pregnant in the first place.

And when I got a phone call from Muyiwa at the end of September that year, it was the very thing I needed, the very thing I needed to distract me from all the triggers around me.

“I didn’t think you’d take my call,” he’d said, his voice tentative. “How’s married life treating you?”

“It’s good,” had been my own scant answer.

“I was thinking we could do lunch sometime? Surely, there’s no harm in catching up with an old friend, right?”

And there it was, the ray of sunshine I’d been searching for.

“Where should I meet you?”

Meeting him up for lunch that afternoon and seeing his dark, muscled body as he rose to greet me, all I wanted was the rough and rugged sex he offered, the kind that would numb my mind and free me from my demons, even if only for a little while. And less than an hour later, that’s what I got in the back seat of his truck. And it became an addiction after that. Every day while he was in Lagos, we would meet up at a different location from the day prior. The sex was at complete odds with the beautiful union of souls I’d discovered with Dike, but a union of souls wasn’t what I was looking for. I didn’t need the sensual tenderness that came from being with Dike, but the heady, wanton shagging that was my time with Muyiwa. Being with him made me not only forget my pain, it helped me even pretend that it had never even happened. And when we thought meeting up in Lagos was getting too risky, we moved base to London.

Using the excuse of taking some time away to ‘clear my head’, I left for London, where Muyiwa and I continued unrestrained. A few times, we got careless and ran into a few people we knew, but I somehow always managed to throw them off our scent. When we thought London had become too risky, we started meeting elsewhere, heading anywhere we could easily hop on a plane to. He became my escape.

“I love you, shorty,” he would always say. “You know you’ve always been my girl. Let’s get married.”

As addicted as I was to him and the escape he provided, it wasn’t enough to fool me into thinking we had anything beyond that. I wasn’t that far gone not to remember the emotional turmoil he’d put me through in the past. That and the fact I’d already tasted a love that was so much stronger and deeper than anything he could ever offer…anything he could ever even fathom.

We continued that way for two years. Even when I turned 35 and Ozioma confronted me about it at my birthday party, despite my assurance that Muyiwa and I were over, one week later, I was on a plane to meet him in Tenerife. But as the whispers started getting louder, I knew it was time to make a decision. The pain from losing my baby only now came in occasional waves, and I’d only recently resumed a sexual relationship with Dike. Continuing with Muyiwa was too risky, and there was too much at stake. So, I’d ended things with him.

He hadn’t taken it well at all, and had hounded me relentlessly in the months following.

“You can’t do this to me, shorty. I love you. Please, don’t do this to us.”

But at that point, I was ready to rebuild my relationship with Dike, so I stopped taking his calls. And I tried…for several months. Until he called me using another number, convincing me to have one final lunch with him at a small, secluded guesthouse that just opened in Lekki. And I found my way right back into bed with him.

But lying on that hotel bed afterwards, rather than the numbing freedom I felt in the past, I was overwhelmed with suffocating guilt. Having restored the beautiful intimacy with my husband, what I’d just had with my former lover felt incredibly shallow…and dirty. I didn’t even care to linger, but instead quickly got dressed and left the hotel. I left for Enugu the following day for Ozioma’s traditional marriage to her ex-husband, and Muyiwa hounded me on the phone for the entirety of that weekend, begging me not to leave him again. But my mind was made up and I removed him, and every reminder of him, from my life forever. He continued calling and sending me messages, but I ignored every single one of them, not caring to even as much as deem any with a response.

Until that very moment.

_

Still looking at my reflection in the mirror, I remembered the text Muyiwa sent me that afternoon.

Happy New Year, shorty. I’m in town and I desperately need to see you. Call me, okay? Please don’t ignore this.

I squeezed my eyes shut, Dike’s expressed desire for a child bringing to the fore memories I’d thought I’d erased for good. And I found myself in need of the escapism Muyiwa offered.

Reaching for my medicine cabinet, I pulled out my contraceptive pills, pills I’d been taking following my miscarriage, pills Dike knew nothing about.

Back in the bedroom, I saw he was already asleep. Reaching for my phone, I read Muyiwa’s text again, and for the first time in several months, I replied him.

Where should I meet you?

_

“Going out?” Dike asked, as I slid on lipstick the following afternoon. “I was hoping we could hang out today. This is the first time in a long while we’ve been in Lagos this time of year.”

It was the second day of the year and by this time, we would still have been neck-deep in festivities in Asaba. It was as if her health scare had given his mother a new lease of life, and she entertained guests every single day, from when we arrived a few days to Christmas until we left a week after New Year’s Day. But because of Ozioma and Banji’s wedding, Dike and I had given our annual trip a miss.

“Yeah,” I answered, trying to sound casual. “I’m meeting up with some friends.”

“Really? Who?”

I froze, my brain suddenly completely blank. Ara was his best friend’s wife, so she wasn’t an option for a decoy. Ozioma was already honeymooning and Isioma was busy with a party her mother-in-law was throwing that day.

“Umm, an old colleague from way back,” I answered, finally finding a story to spin. “She leaves the country tonight, so we only have this afternoon to catch up.”

“Sounds like fun. Where are you two meeting up?”

“Somewhere in Victoria Island,” I shrugged, trying to throw him off the scent of my true destination, Lekki Phase 1. “I won’t be away long.”

“Maybe we could go out for a meal when you get back?” he asked eagerly.

I nodded, reaching for my handbag. “Sure.”

Once in my car, I was a ball of nerves as I drove to the agreed location, the small hotel where Muyiwa and I last met. In the past, I was always excited heading to him, eager to be able to leave my life behind and disappear into the world of fantasy he offered. But now, the closer I got to the hotel, the sicker I felt in my stomach.

What the hell was I doing?

But my growing hesitation was not enough to make me spin the car around. On the contrary, as I drove past the clinic I knew Ara and C.J were to visit in the coming week, Dike’s request rung loudly in my ears, resurrecting emotions long buried. Gripping the steering wheel tighter, I grit my teeth and cursed. I wasn’t going to open my body for a baby that would leave just as quickly as it came. No, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

That was what buoyed me for the rest of the drive, and when I got to the hotel, I gave myself a once-over with the rearview mirror before getting out of the car. Muyiwa preferred me in clothes that showed off my body, so I was dressed accordingly in an orange, figure-hugging jersey dress. Walking into the hotel, my face shielded by large sunglasses, I could only hope that I left there feeling better, and not worse like I had the last time.

“Hey, beautiful,” Muyiwa said, rising to his feet as I walked into the bar where he was waiting. “You look amazing.”

I forced a smile as I took my seat next to him. He was so different from Dike and, sitting next to him, I realised his bulky, muscled frame was not as appealing as it once had been.

“I was scared you wouldn’t come,” he said, leaning over to kiss my neck. “God, I’ve missed your sexy body.”

My eyes scanned the room, hopeful nobody had seen us, but apart from a few expatriates, the place was empty. “I’m sure you’ve found enough willing partners to satisfy your sexual cravings.”

“There hasn’t been anyone, babe,” he answered, still kissing my neck. “And there never will be.”

I withdrew, wondering why his kisses were making my stomach feel like lead. It was probably best for us to get right to the main thing, rather than keep wasting time.

“You wanna go upstairs?” he asked, his eyes searching mine, heavy with lust.

“Just like that? No conversation? No lunch? Wasn’t it lunch you invited me for?” I snapped, even though he’d pretty much verbalised what I was thinking.

“Do you really want lunch, shorty?” he chuckled, his eyes still holding mine. “I don’t know about you, but what I want to eat isn’t on this menu.”

He rose to his feet and extended a hand to me. After another quick look around the room, I accepted it, allowing him lead me to the elevator.

“I’ve missed you,” he remarked, as the elevator made its way up two floors.

I forced yet another smile. The truth was I hadn’t missed him. I’d barely even thought about him. If Dike hadn’t upset me with his nonsense talk the previous night, I probably wouldn’t even be there.

He opened the door to a room at the end of the corridor, and had started kissing me even before the door shut. As I tried to respond to his kisses, it felt forced, and when his hands slid up my dress towards my underwear, it was anything but arousing. As a matter of fact, it was downright sickening.

“You know I prefer it when you come here without this,” he whispered against my ears, tugging at my panties.

As his hands made their way between my legs, I knew right then that this wasn’t going to give me the escape I’d come there seeking. On the contrary, it was going to add to my distress.

So, I pushed him away.

He looked at me, his brows furrowed in confusion. “What’s going on, shorty? If you’re hungry, we could eat first.”

“I’m not hungry, Muyiwa. Not for food…and not for this,” I answered, pulling down my dress. “I don’t even know why I came.”

He pulled back, a frown on his face, and I felt immediately sorry for him. But not sorry enough to change my mind.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked.

“I already told you I can’t do this with you anymore,” I answered. “I told you this when we ended things in Tenerife, and also last year when we…” I couldn’t even bring myself to complete the sentence, appalled by the vulgarity of meeting up with him for sex. “I want to make it work with my husband.”

“Then why are you here?” he asked, his voice a low gruff, indicating his own rising anger. “Why did you agree to come, not just here, but even up to my room?”

I sighed deeply, not knowing how to tell him he’d only been a means to an end for me, a way for me to lose myself in fantasy and forget about my worries.

“I’m sorry,” I finally managed to say. “But it’s time for us to move on. It’s time for me to work on my marriage, and for you to get yourself someone decent as well. You’ll be 38 this year and you also need to start thinking about settling down.”

He chuckled and shook his head. “Now, you’re trying to give me advice? Shorty, don’t worry about me.” He looked at me and shrugged. “I knew this day was coming. Even though I refused to accept it, after the last time, I knew I’d started losing you.”

I placed my hand on his arm. “I’ll always be your friend. We can’t throw away twenty years just like that.”

He smiled and nodded. “Yeah, sure.” Then shrugging, added. “Can we at least do lunch? I really don’t have any good company today.”

Now lunch, I could do.

Back downstairs, I was more relaxed as we ordered a seafood platter and the bar’s amazing cocktails. As we ate and chatted, it was the best transition for us. Yes, we’d had years of emotional and sexual involvement, but it was now time to let that go. It was time for both of us to move on.

“I actually enjoyed myself today,” he chuckled, walking me to my car. “It was a different kind of enjoyment from what I expected, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.”

“Thanks for a lovely lunch and wonderful company,” I responded, hugging him. “So, what next? Are you still going to hang around town?”

“No, there’s nothing for me here,” he answered. “I’ll probably go to LA for a while.”

It was at the tip of my tongue to ask him why getting a job wasn’t an option, but I quickly bit it back…especially considering I too had refused to do the same.

“I hope this husband of yours is worth it,” he said, as I got into my car.

My mind went to the devoted, loving, caring man I’d left at home and I smiled and nodded. “He is.”

And that was all I thought about on the drive home, wondering if it would be so bad to consider the possibility of trying for a baby, wondering if maybe, just maybe, we would have a better outcome this time. An outcome that didn’t involve us getting our hopes raised, only to be dashed again.

“Baby, I’m home,” I announced, walking into his study, having seen the lights on from outside as I parked my car.

Dike looked up at me, and the moment I saw his eyes…I knew there was trouble.

“Where are you coming from, Ginika?”

He never addressed me with the longer abridged form of my name, which was another red flag.

“Lunch with my former colleague. I told you before I left,” I answered, trying to keep my voice steady.

“Then please explain these,” he said, pushing forward what he’d been looking at when I walked in, A4-sized pictures he’d just printed.

My hands trembled as I reached for them and as my eyes fell on the first of them, an image of Muyiwa and I in a swimming pool, me wearing a barely-there bikini, my arms wrapped around his neck and my legs draped around his torso, our lips submerged in a passionate kiss.

I looked up at Dike, but he stared back at me, his own eyes deadpan.

“Please continue,” he prompted.

Still with shaking hands, I proceeded to look at the other pictures, pictures that perfectly documented almost every tryst, every rendezvous, even those I’d forgotten about.

“These are all old pictures from long ago,” I answered, my voice now trembling and my heart pounding so loudly, I could hear it in my ears. “You know we used to date. These are all from before you and I got married.”

“I figured you’d say that,” he answered with a pensive nod, before reaching for another set of pictures. “And these? Also from long ago?”

My mouth parted as my eyes took in the new pictures, pictures of me in the same orange jersey dress I was still wearing, my hair in the same honey blond wavy wig that was still on my head, and my left finger brandishing my wedding and engagement rings that it still was. I bit my lower lip as I flipped from a picture of Muyiwa’s head buried in my neck as he kissed it, to another as we walked hand-in-hand to the elevator.

“Still from long ago?” Dike asked, an edge I’d never heard before in his voice.

At that point, I knew I’d been cornered. There was no more room for lies.

“Baby, I can explain,” I said, reaching for his arm, but he stepped away from mine like it was hot coal.

“I was taking a nap when I got a call from my cousin, Bobby, all the way in America,” he said. “He was so angry, I didn’t even understand what he was saying at first. He said he’d had some information about my wife for a while, how people had been sending him pictures of you and another guy as far back as the year we married. He said he’d been waiting for the right time to tell me about it, but then reconsidered when he stopped getting the pictures, thinking you’d stopped whatever it was you were doing.” He shook his head and laughed, the most mirthless sound I had ever heard. “Only for him to get these today.”

“Dike, I’m so sorry,” I whimpered. “It didn’t mean anything. It meant absolutely nothing.”

“He said this one was taken in London, only a few months after our wedding,” Dike said, pulling out one of Muyiwa and I walking out of the tube station. “You were sleeping with another man mere months after we got married? Mere months after we lost our child?” He slammed the picture to the table with enough force to break it. “You didn’t let me touch you for eighteen months, Ginika. You lied to me about still suffering trauma from the miscarriage. But yet, you were fucking another man?”

“Dike, please…” by now, tears were pouring from my eyes like a waterfall.

“This one was in Mykonos. This one in Mallorca. This one in Tenerife,” he yelled, skipping from one picture to the next. “This one in Bordeaux. This one in Zanzibar. These ones here in Lagos. You and your lover really got those air miles.”

I dropped to my knees. “Di’m, biko. Please. I was so devastated after the miscarriage, I don’t even know what came over me. Please.”

He smiled again and shook his head. “While I was there hurting and doing my best to help my wife get over the pain, she was so devastated that only another man’s dick was the solution.”

“Dike, please,” I wailed, reaching for his legs, broken to hear him talk like that.

But he pulled his leg away with so much force, I stumbled forward.

“As if all this isn’t bad enough, I found this in the toilet this afternoon,” he said, holding up the half depleted pack of my contraceptive pills. “Have you really been taking these? Have you really been trying to keep yourself from getting pregnant?”

I stared at him, my hand over my mouth as I wept, not knowing how things had gone from horribly bad to unimaginably worse.

“Have you?” he yelled, his eyes wide in his rage.

I lowered mine, unable to look him in the face anymore. He said nothing for a long time, the only sound in the room coming from the gentle purr of the air conditioner.

“All this time, Ginika, all this time…and you’ve been doing it deliberately all along,” he finally said, his voice so quiet, I could barely hear him. “You’ve been deliberately trying not to have my baby.”

Bracing myself, I looked up at him, broken anew by the devastation on his face, broken to see how my actions had hurt him…had hurt me…had hurt us.

“All these years, and it’s been nothing but a lie. It’s over. Our marriage is over.”

My eyes widened with terror as I stared at him, wanting to reach out to hold him but frozen to the spot; wanting to scream at the top of my lungs, to plead with him to give me a chance, but unable to even make a sound.

“I’ll be back for my things in the morning,” he said, before walking out of the room.

I stared at the closed door, heard his footsteps as they made their way down the hallway and down the stairs, heard the front door open and its click as it locked, heard the start of his car, heard the gate open, heard his car drive out of the compound. My eyes returned to the pictures, now scattered all over the floor around me, and I knew that I had destroyed my happiness.

With my very own hands.

 

Ginika’s Bridesmaids: Book Five (Ginika) out on Bambooks on Christmas Eve!

6 Comments
  • IyanuOluwa Olorode
    Posted at 09:18h, 18 December Reply

    Wowwwwww

    I’m so conflicted. I’m not sure I want them back together. Ginika definitely deserves the divorce. I feel sorry for Dike.

  • Deedee
    Posted at 11:26h, 18 December Reply

    Nice…. Thumbs up Adesuwa

  • Milli
    Posted at 23:40h, 18 December Reply

    Couldn’t put my phone down when I started reading. Amazing story

  • Nsibo Udoh
    Posted at 07:17h, 19 December Reply

    I feel deeply touched about Ginika’s escapades with his ex lover and above all refusing to get pregnant for her loving hubby at the expense of the full dose of Love Duke was willing to shower on her. Its such a high level of betrayal from her.
    If you ask my candid view on this, I will say they should never come back together. You can’t Eat your Cake and Have it.

  • Dooshima Dapo-Oyewole
    Posted at 19:07h, 19 December Reply

    Na wa o….to hold on tight till the 24th…..

  • L Leigh
    Posted at 13:26h, 24 December Reply

    Beautiful wow. Sometimes explaining what trauma creates in us a hard.

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