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Thursday, November 19, 2015

I fell in love with my brother’s killer (4)

My family. He wants to know about my family. Hmm. Do we still have a family in the real sense of the word? The 'family' we knew died the night of the robbery attack in our home all those years ago. Seven years ago. After my elder brother Brendan died, aged just 25 at the hands of those evil men, our world fell apart. The thread that tied us all together in a close knit bond, was broken, never to be fixed again.

 My father, out of shock at losing his first child and only son, the heir who will carry on the family line, suffered a stroke. He never recovered himself fully after that. It was like, he had lost the will to live, to carry on. He died about a month after. So, we had two deaths in the family within a short period. 

As for my mother, the double tragedy was like a two edged hammer that knocked all the strength and willpower out of her. She aged overnight, was no longer her vibrant, lovely self. To put it bluntly, our mother lost her mind; she was no longer the mother we used to know and was like a shadow of her former self, an empty shell of what she used to be. 

There were days she was lucid, speaking clearly, acting normal. Other times were not so good-she would not recognize us, her living children and only remembered the dead.
"When is Brendan coming home from work? Or has he gone clubbing again? That boy loves to party too much! Just like his father, a party freak in his youth! I remember how he travelled all the way from Benin to Lagos just to watch a foreign music group that was doing a show at the National Stadium. That's the kind of..." she would say, and would go on in a rambling, incoherent manner about past events that took place long before we were born.

With my mother in such a pitiable condition, the onus of keeping our family together fell on Ena, my elder sister. At 22, she became the head of the family, looking after my younger sister Rukky and myself, besides caring for our mother.
The past seven years have been really tough for us- if I should narrate all we went through, it will fill a book. But we survived. And life, as they say, goes on. To start afresh, we moved from our former home where so many tragic things had happened, to another of our father's properties in the city. As Ena said and I agreed with her: 'That house has a very bad vibe, with too many bad memories.'

I did not tell Mark all these though. I just gave him the basics about my family- that both my father and elder brother died under tragic circumstances within a short period of each other, that my mother was unwell, and my two sisters, besides my mother, are the only real family left to me in the world.
"I'm really sorry to hear about what happened to your father and brother. It's really sad," he said quietly.
"That's life. It dishes out all kinds of hard knocks when you least expect it," I stated glumly.
After our meal, he took me home and before driving off, he said:
"I've enjoyed our date today. Hope we can do this again."
I had no objections to that; I liked him, enjoyed his company. So, I did the sensible thing and stopped pushing him away. 

In love
Mark and I saw each other regularly over the next couple of months. From just liking him, I began to fall in love with him. Maybe this had to do with the way he treated me. Since I told him about my family, he has become very protective and always concerned about my welfare.
I was always happy whenever he was around. He made me laugh and helped take away some of the pain I felt over my family's misfortune.

One weekend, we attended the wedding of a relative of his. After the ceremony, we ended up at his place. He lived alone in a nicely furnished apartment in Lekki, a nice suburb in Lagos.
As soon as we got in, he said he was hungry so I went to the kitchen to prepare some eba to go with the vegetable soup he had in the fridge.
After eating, we watched a movie on T.V and by the time it finished, it was nearly 8 pm. 
"I've to get home. I have to go and help my sister with our Mum," I said as I went searching for my shoes and handbag.
He came up and held me from behind.
"Must you go? I want you to stay with me tonight."
I wriggled round to face him.
"You know that's not possible. At least not tonight as I did not tell my sister I won't return home," I explained.
"Ok. I understand. In that case, how about staying for a little while longer. There's still time. Don't worry about getting home as I will drop you. There's something very important I want to discuss with you," he said, taking my hand and leading me to the couch.
"So, what is it"? I queried.
"Relax. This will take some time," he said, bending down to remove my shoes. Then reaching up, he began to unbutton my blouse.
"Mark, what are you doing? So, this was what you had in mind all along! You are a very bad guy!" I stated.
"Yes, I know. I'm bad. And looking at you makes me worse. Because it makes me think of bad things I will like to do to you..."
"Like what?" I asked.
"Like this," he said, cradling my face and kissing me, before caressing my body in a slow, sensual manner. 
Before long, he had taken off his singlet and I ran my fingers over his chest which had a sprinkling of dark, sleek hair. As my hand slipped down towards his navel and below, he began to moan with pleasure. I slipped my hand inside his boxers, exploring the bulge inside, fondling him, making his moans increase.
Then, unable to bear it anymore, he carried me from the couch and headed to his bedroom. He quickly undressed me, and as I settled comfortably on the bed, his hot lips sank into my breasts, teasing my nipples in such a way as to make my head spin with desire...

Some months later
One weekend, the maid that usually did the cleaning and cooking in Mark's apartment fell ill. So, I offered to help out, at least cook some dishes so he will not starve. I had finished my work and was watching TV in the parlor when someone knocked on the door. A tall, pretty lady I had never seen before stood there. She asked after Mark.
"He's not in right now. Maybe, you can leave a message," I told her.
"That won't be necessary. I'll wait for him," she stated.

She inspected me from head to toe then walked pass me into the house, her high heels clicking on the tiled floor. She looked around the living room, a little smile on her face, acting as if she owned the place. 
I looked at her curiously, wondering who she was.
I put my curiosity aside though and offered her a drink. 
"Don't bother yourself. I will get it myself when I need it," she stated calmly.

Just then, I heard my phone ringing in the kitchen where I had left it. It was my sister, asking when I would return home as our mother, in one of her lucid moments, was asking after me.
By the time I returned to the parlor, the mystery lady was comfortably seated on the couch, watching TV, a glass of what looked Ike brandy on a stool by her side. In her right hand was a lit cigarette, smoke curling from its tip in dark rings.
She looked up at me and smiled.

 "My name's Victoria by the way," she said.
 I was about introducing myself when she cut in:
 "I know who you are. Omos, right?" she said. I nodded.
 I gazed at her, puzzled.
"You might be wondering how come I know so much about you. Well, let me introduce myself properly. I'm Mark's ex-girlfriend. And I make it my business to know whoever he has replaced me with."

She paused to take a sip of her drink. She also took a large drag of her cigarette before continuing.
"Let me tell you something about Mark and I. You see, we were together for nearly five years and we were madly in love. We were even planning to get married. Mark was the first guy I gave my heart to. And when we broke up which I admit was my fault, my heart was torn in two. It's been over a year since then, yet I can't forget him or get him out of my mind, or heart," she said.

I just sat looking at her, wondering why she was telling me all this. To me, this was too much information. Whatever had happened between my boyfriend and her was over, in the past. I didn't want to know.
"You might be thinking; why's she telling me this now? Well, the truth is, I want Mark back and I'm ready to do anything to have him. So, the better you get used to the idea, the better for all of us," she said firmly.
I stood up then, getting angry.
"What's the meaning of this? Is this a joke or what? How dare you walk in here and say you want to take my boyfriend from me?" I said angrily...

To be continued...

The concluding part of this series will be posted tomorrow morning. Don't miss the sizzling details so remember to log on!

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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