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A few minutes later she found herself on the cold tiled floor, which brought her back to her senses as Segun lay atop her unbuttoning her shirt to expose her bra covered breasts. Nike lay still trying not to respond…he was married.

Sex would lead to a secret affair, it would lead to heartbreak, then suffering and what about God… all the rest of her life as a loner.

The shrill ringing of the phone in the sitting room was her salvation as Segun uttered a curse and left her to drown in emotions. Quickly, Nike stood up and ran hurriedly to her bedroom. She could do this! She couldn’t live in the same house with her ex-husband!

 

***

“So Nike, what are you planning to do?” Carol asked pouring them both a glass of non- alcoholic wine. She sat, staring through the glass of dark red wine.

Nike sighed looking at her plump friend morosely. “I don’t know. Everything is just…”

“Messed up” completed her friend wearily. The events of what happened in the morning rushed into her head as she looked into the red velvety drink and a sigh escaped again.

“Have you guys done it?”

Nike looked at her friend again and rolled her eyes in Carol’s two bedroom flat “We nearly this morning”

“Ah” replied Carol in a motherly tone “Girl, you are still in the love zone heading for heartbreak “

“What should I do?” her tone was heavy as she spoke sadly “You are adroit when it comes to men”.

Carol laughed briefly “I think you should just quit this job, after all, it’s not by force”

Nike sighed again “I can’t, you know I can’t commit adultery” she sipped a little of the cold wine “If you see the way I dodged him to go outside you won’t believe. I’m so ashamed, so embarrassed”

“Have you talked to God in prayers?”

“Several times, he doesn’t seem to be answering” she replied frustrated.

“That’s because you’re not patient enough to hear him” Carol chided softly “There’s nothing God doesn’t have the answer to my dear and I’m sure he doesn’t want you to go through all this stress, do you remember Jeremiah 33; 3. It says call me and I will show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not”

“What should I do?” she asked again in almost a wail of frustration.

“Do what you think is right. I can’t decide for you because trust me it won’t work”

“Nothing makes sense anymore Carol”

It was Carol who sighed this time with a look of pity on her face “You have to choose common sense in this issue. He cheated on you when…”

“I’m not even sure anymore,” Nike said in a small voice “We still love each other…I still love him”

Carol shook her head sideways “He’s married so that means there is no vision of a future with him. Bow out of this sin before it is too late”

“It’s already too late”

“No, it’s not until you fall into bed with him. Sin is sweet, as they say, but it leaves you with pain. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in tears?

“No”

“Good” replied her friend sipping wine “Then move out of this axis and start your life afresh as if you were just born” Carol sighed and continued “I know it’s hard but it’s the right thing to do”

“Even just thinking about him and of his wife in bed makes me angry”

“This truly is a sin” Carol responded “You can see for yourself you’re obsessed with love, get another guy and just forget about him. He’s your ex- and that means your past and if you can’t maintain your relationship strictly on business terms”

Nike hissed exhausted in her thoughts “If my mother hears about this, I’m dead”

“Well you are old enough to take care of yourself so everything would be under control by God’s grace”

“Amen o”.

 

CHAPTER 10

In the week that passed, Nike managed to stay away from Segun burying herself in her work. She and Yinka got closer; too close it made her eyes glint with tears for her own late daughter.

Finally, the day came when she had to speak to Segun. She had tucked Yinka in bed and was making her own way to her room downstairs when she heard the master bedroom open; Nike quickened her steps to her room and reached halfway when Segun spoke.

“Wait for Nike!” he said lowering his voice.

By the time she turned around he was by her side breathing levelly, she moved back fretting a little. “What is it?” her tone was evenly cool enough.

“We need to talk”

“About what? Surely it can wait until tomorrow” Nike relied upon walking to her room.

“I’m leaving tomorrow” Segun answered hurriedly “It’s about Yinka”

She looked u at him puzzled “Yinka?”

“Can we talk in the kitchen?”

Not bothering to answer she led the way smiling briefly at her performance in the dark; she turned on the kitchen light and looked Segun ignoring the weak feeling in her. To Nike’s shocking realisation Segun shut the door approaching her.

“Don’t come close” the warning was uttered shakily as she held a cooking spoon in her hands “I’ll hit you with this”

He stopped and looked at her as if hurt “I just want us to talk” his voice was desperate and Nike gave in… the first sign of her weakening defence.

She walked opposite the kitchen close to the store “Please say it quickly, I’m very tired” said she feigning boredom. Segun sighed and looked straight into her eyes.

“Why have you been hiding from me?”

“Me?” Nike asked in pretence “I’ve been very busy”

“Busy?” he gave a short snort “Come on Nike, you know better than this”

She looked at him steadily calming her excited emotions but said nothing.

“You can’t deny you don’t feel the passion between us” sighed Segun.

The bewildered expression she feigned supported her “You are a married man and I have my principles”

“I’m not suggesting that we have an affair” he replied mockingly.

Nike felt the colour stain her cheeks in embarrassment and she spoke quickly to cover it up “and I’m not suggesting that either”

“Sure, since you’ve said all you’ve wanted to I believe I can go to bed now?” she made her way out of the kitchen pushing past him and she stood short to complete her statement “Segun?”

Segun turned to face her “Mmmn?”

“Don’t ever call me on a false alarm. Ever again” with that she made her way to the bedroom slumming in unnecessary tears on the bed. Crying over spilt milk.

 ***

She sat in the reception of the big insurance company waiting patiently for her friend, Carol came down. Carol came downstairs hurriedly “Nike why didn’t you come up to my office?”

“I decided to take the old express” she stated drily making her friend laugh as they walked to Carol’s office. Nike sat on the chair looking round the medium size room and let out a deep breath tiredly. “I came to renew my car insurance”

Carol nodded picking up the land phone from its cradle “Hello…yes, come to my office immediately” she placed the receiver gently back in its cradle “So how is Segun?”

Nike hissed in exasperation “That one? I don’t think I can finish this job”

“So what do you intend to do?” Carol asked intently “Don’t forget you are half way through”

“I can’t continue or else…” the knock on the door interrupted her. A man entered dressed in a suit.

“Take this to Ronke and tell her to renew them” Carol gave him the papers and he nodded leaving the room. “What were we saying?”

“I have a high chance of having an affair with him”

“My dear I wish you the best of luck”

Nike sighed looking at her clasped hands “I really don’t know why this should happen!”

“My dear, everything happens for a reason…”

***

A dark cloud of pain and longing hung between Nike and Segun but still, she persisted in keeping him at arm’s length, even with that she knew that he was so close to her but so far away at the same time. During the days that passed he fell sick with malaria, it gave her more time to choke her feelings and decide what next step to take.

Nike frowned to herself running over the past few days since she spoke to him. She looked upstairs hoping to hear the sound of his heavy footsteps. She had to leave… not before she finished her contract.

Her light footsteps made no sound as she made her way upstairs to Yinka’s bedroom. Opening the door, Nike entered to see Yinka dressed and ready for bed. “I see you’ve tucked yourself in,” said Nike lightly.

“Yes” replied the little girl looking up at her “aunty Nike can I ask you a question?”

Nike nodded sitting at the edge of the rather large bed.

“Is daddy’s sickness crit…critc…”

 “Critical?” Nike corrected softly looking at the child “No, he just needs to rest”

“How do you know?” Yinka asked innocently.

“I’m a nurse and that is what I do. I take care of sick people”

“Is that good?”

“Yes” replied Nike smiling in the dark.

“I want to be a nurse too”

She stood up kissing Yinka on the forehead and sighing “Amen to that darling but you have to go to bed, remember our little song early to bed?”

Yinka laughed a laugh of innocence softening Nike’s heart as she sang the same tune.

“Good night aunty Nike” Yinka said yawning tiredly.

“Good night angel” with that she moved out of the room into the dark of the room stopping in front of Segun’s room. The urge to open the door of his room and the other to run as fast as she could be played with her heart. She heard a deep painful cough making Nike catch her breath.

“Who’s there? Yinka?”  Segun shouted as his voice echoed through the silent house from the confined shelter of his room. Nike stood as if transfixed.

“Yinka is that you?” finally, he left her knocked off as he opened the half-opened door of his room suddenly knocking her senses off balance.

Nike stood dry-mouthed at the handsome ragged sight of Segun dressed in pyjamas trousers and leaving his chest bare.

“I… I… I was elm… I went to see Yinka”

He looked at her expressionless, still silent.

“I should be leaving,” Nike said hurriedly realising all her energy was on the spot, she couldn’t move. She looked away from the hypnotizing eyes.

“You haven’t come to see me since” Segun finally spoke, his voice heavy with sarcasm. Nike lifted her chin up in defiance gathering her wits together.

“I’m not your wife anymore Segun”

“Ah”, he replied drily, you finally called me by my name. Rubbing his roughened skin, he walked up to her holding her two arms to her sides “You can’t run away anymore now can you Nike?” he whispered into her ear.

Segun’s breath was warm against her ear making Nike’s skin tingle, she tried every angle of attack. He put his lips against her throat breathing in her lavender-scented skin. Nike shivered fighting herself. She tried one last angle of attack.

“You are a married man” she let out with difficulty in her husky voice “You must be faith…”

“My wife and others can wait till tomorrow, you are for today” he murmured against the smooth skin of her cheek.

It was wrong, a little portion of her mind said to her. Wrong timing, wrong place, wrong event… wrong passion. Unconsciously, tears slid down her cheeks as Segun carried her to his bedroom manipulating her weakness and what followed were a rekindled passion of love and a sense of excess happiness for her. At least.

CHAPTER 11

She awoke in the cold light of the day with her senses, realizing what she had done. She looked around the room as if in a horror movie automatically getting up and moving silently out of the room. Nike rushed up to her own room and into the cold bath.

Her tears mixed with the cold shower as she violently scrubbed her body leaving marks where she scrubbed.  The violent wave of tears shook her to the core as she ended up sliding her back against the wall to sit heavily in the bathtub.

She had slept with him… finally, and what did it give her? Only a rekindled light of love…  and a satisfied libido. She took it as the whole world; he took it as sex, she said she loved him; he said he wanted her, her eyes told him forever; his eyes told her a lover, she wanted his forbidden love and now she had only succeeded in breaking her own heart.

She blamed herself terribly as the long-buried past resurrected.

A long wail of helplessness escaped from Nike as she hit her fist against the tap sending a spurt of blood on her fist. Nike cried herself to sleep in the now shower-off bathtub, crying for the love that was once hers.

 

***

It was late in the afternoon when she finally awoke surprised to see herself on the bed; she sat up to find Segun on the chair close to the door. She flushed as she wrapped the white bed sheet tightly across her bare breasts.

Segun walked up to her, his expression hard to read “What were you thinking when you slept in the bathtub?” his voice was with controlled anger.

Nike looked away failing to find the steel in her heart. “Please I’m very tired, I need some rest”.

“I can see that” he replied, his mouth twisted in sarcasm “Why did you leave me in the morning? It was barely five” his tone held a hurt expression making her lips quiver with a soft centre.

“Why did you leave?” he asked again looking more intently at her.

“What did you expect me to do? Sit back and smile while I was committing a sin? For heaven’s sake I slept with you on your matrimonial bed and you aren’t even bothered” Nike remarked holding back tears “You just came back into my life so unexpectedly, married, and you expect me to welcome you with open arms?” she managed a bitter laugh “You men are so cruel!”

“Oh” replied Segun as if in a world of his own “the fact I’m married is a breach”.

Nike gave a long mocking hiss “That is just a part of the problems, perhaps the most important. I can’t believe you are talking like this! We committed adultery and all you do is to interrogate me. I’m leaving this contract today Mr Peters!” her voice shook with dry tears.

Segun walked towards the bathroom door backing her, “You caused all this”

Nike gasped in disbelief “I caused this?” she asked in fury getting up naked and jerkily putting on a morning robe to face him as he backed her “look here Segun. You were the one who came to me begging me to speak to you, I didn’t” she turned him roughly to meet him face to face raising her voice and continued “You planned all this. You pervert!”

“Well, I didn’t force you to give into my so-called seduction did I?” he returned equally angry. “Of course, you know that I still love you even with everything that has happened”

“You are a dirty cad! An idiot!” she shouted at him as she was hurting inside that everything turned out to be this way. Everything was her fault she had lost him and now she knew she would always love him even when he was with another woman.”You put me in my present predicament”

Yinka entered wondering what ensued between them in her room “daddy?”  She asked innocently “what’s going on?”

Nike knew that when Segun got like this, no one escaped his wrath except and Yinka just stepped right into a ditch.

“Get lost now!” Segun shouted angrily to her surprise. Yinka looked at Nike hurt and curious to know what caused his mood.

“Yinka do as your father says,” Nike said with a controlled shaky voice and Yinka bowed out hurt leaving them alone on their own battlefield. “You shouldn’t have shouted at her!” she shouted back at him in rising fury.

“Don’t tell me what to do with my own daughter” he replied equally.

“She’s not to blame for your problems!” continued Nike in full rage “I hate you Segun, I hate every…”

“You hate me so much you personally stripped for me!” he answered heavily in sarcasm.

“I was weak!”

“You are so selfish with everything! That has been until today. You haven’t moved on psychologically, you have made yourself colder after Madina’s death”.

“Don’t talk to me about Madina’s death! Nike responded her voice shaky with rage “At least I didn’t have the guts to sleep with my best friend a year after my daughter’s death!” she looked at him full of scorn speaking through gritted teeth. “I’m surprised you have only one wife or do you think I would be your mistress?”

She knew she had driven deep into his skin and she felt satisfied and yet sad that he felt the pain from her. Nike continued in her anger “You are a poor excuse for a man! A cad! A pig…. I hate you!”

“Stop that Nike!” he cautioned his face very fierce, she nearly developed cold feet but all her frustration was seeping out and the delicious invitation of continuing was so difficult to resist. She continued with an unknown force driving her “Tell me something Mr Peters, how many promises did you make to own this business?” she eyed him with a poisonous look “Or did your wife marry you for your boring services you’ve been providing her because I must say you lack exquisite skills than other men I’ve been with!”

A sharp stinging slap on Nike’s cheek was more than enough to send her to the floor in tears with a spurt of blood seeping out of the side of her head, silence reigned in the room as the realisation of what he did dawned on them both.

“Oh my god!” he said concerned and frightened for them both “I’m very sorry,” he said squatting to met her on the floor.

Nike cried harder feeling too faint with pain wreck to stop “Get out!” she finally screamed at the top of her voice “Just leave me alone!”

Segun tried to comfort her but she gave way to hysteria with flying fists and feet even with all the pain. Segun finally left, slamming the door behind him to leave her in the company of her emotional and physical pain.

  ***

“Aunty please don’t go”

The pleading voice of the 6-year-old girl made Nike desperately want to stay… but not with her father around, the man who granted her the gift of love and pain, reality and fantasies, no, she couldn’t stay. It would be a fool amongst the angels. She was too guilty to see Tola, too guilty to touch Yinka, too heartbroken to stay.

“I’m sorry” sighed Nike giving Yinka her scarf “Take this, anytime you think of me just look at the scarf you hear darling? Just like in those books we’ve read be strong for me you hear?”

Yinka nodded in tears and Nike not looking back went towards the door carrying her one luggage with her. Segun leaned stretched out by the door looking into space as Nike squeezed herself out of the door to the compound.

“Nike”

She turned around catching her breath. How she wished everything didn’t have to end like this, she didn’t have to leave with a wounded head and a bleeding heart. She looked at Segun through blurry eyes.

“Let me drop you home” came the emotion-filled voice.

“No, I’ll find my way home by myself” she replied with steel in her voice.

“I’m so…”

“No, don’t be sorry, you are my past now, whatever happened is over” with a long pause she said “We both have long lives ahead of us”

Segun sighed “Would you someday forgive me? I shouldn’t have hit you”

“I can forget but not forgive you” it was a lie; she knew it as she walked out of the gate. Briefly, Nike closed her eyes remembering that fateful night of their argument which led to their heartbreaking divorce.

A tear burned through her right cheek as she hurriedly wiped it off walking slowly towards the lonely junction.

Click to continue to Episode 6

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Written by: Oyinda Dosunmu

Author of LITTLE WHITE FLOWERS

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