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Saturday, November 07, 2015

The returnee (2)

  • (This is the continuation of Erica's story that was first published on this blog last week)
One day, about six months after we started seeing each other, I went over to Kolly's apartment one weekend to do some laundry as well as prepare some dishes for him and his flatmate. It was noon and both of them had gone out and I was alone in the apartment when someone knocked on the door. Thinking it was one of the neighbours, a housewife who often came to borrow one item or the other from us, I went to open the door.
A strange lady I had never seen before stood there.
 "Hi, I'm looking for Kolly. Is he at home?" she asked. She was a stunning looking young lady, neatly dressed in jeans and a body hugging top that showed off her curvy figure to advantage. Her make up and hair do were flawless, making her look like someone who just stepped off a fashion runway. Compared to her appearance, I looked really rough in my housework ensemble- an old faded blouse and skirt with my uncombed hair tied up in a black headscarf.
 I shook my head and said:
"He's gone out. And who are you?"
"I'm Jemima, his friend and business partner. I told him I might pop in today to see him on my way to visit a friend who lives on a street close by. When will he be back?" she enquired.
 I told her he might stay long as he had gone out with Sam. On hearing that, she brought out her mobile phone from her handbag and called a number. While she spoke, I was debating whether to invite her in to wait for Kolly, when she turned to me and stated:
 "Kolly said he's on his way back. So, I guess I have to wait."
  She followed me into the apartment. She stood admiring some artworks on the wall and some other interior decor pieces.
 "Nice place you guys have here," she said before sitting down. She declined a drink, opting for water instead.
 I left her in the living room and went to take a quick shower. On my return to the parlour, I met her standing by the window, chatting animatedly on her mobile. Just then, the front door opened and Kolly came in. 
 I noticed the way his eyes lit up on seeing her, and how he commended her on her ravishing look. Feeling a little jealous, I took Kolly's hand and said:
 "Honey, the food is ready. Should I serve it now or you'll eat later?" 
 He shook his head.
 "No time for that. Jemima and I need to see someone at Lekki concerning a business proposal. See you later," he said. With that they were gone. I peeped through the parlour window, watching as they walked towards the gate of the compound, chatting and laughing.
 That day, Kolly returned very late. His flatmate, Sam had come home earlier, around 4 pm. When I told him Kolly had gone out with a lady named Jemima, he had said in a surprised tone:
 "Jemima came here?" 
 "You know her?" I queried. I was curious about the lady as my instincts had told me she was someone I needed to watch out for.
 "Yes. Have met her a couple of times. She has her own company and is doing a couple of jobs with Kolly, I think," he stated.
 On his return, Kolly went straight to bed, stating that he had had a busy day and was tired.
 "I need to rest. I have a very important appointment tomorrow concerning a contract so I have to leave home very early," he said as he headed for the bathroom to take a shower.

I did not see Jemima for sometime after that first encounter. Once in a while her name would crop up in conversations between Kolly and Sam that I eavesdropped on. I was curious about her so one day, I asked Kolly outright what his relationship with Jemima was.
 "What else do you want to know?" he queried. "I've already explained the situation. We are business partners and we do contracts together- the Abuja contract that has to do with computers for instance was facilitated by her. It's a multi-million Naira job. It was one of her uncles that is a director in the ministry that awarded the contract, that helped us get it. That lady has been a godsend because everything has changed for the better business wise since I met her," he said.
 "Are you sure there's not more between you two than business?" I asked, remembering the easy manner between them the day of her visit to the house. Was it all just business or there was something else? I loved Kolly and I was ready to do anything to keep all rivals at bay.
 "What's with all these questions about Jemima? Don't tell me you are jealous! Women and jealousy! Look, babe, I've told you before that you are the only one for me. There's no other. It's me and you forever, Erica, love," he promised, drawing me close in a tight hug. 
 His words that night reminded me of what he had told me at the beginning of our relationship. Back then, he had confessed my coming into his life was an answer to prayers.
 "There were two things I prayed about during my time at the camp," he had stated then, adding: "One was a life partner, someone I can plan my life with, build my world around. The second was breakthrough in my business. Meeting you was a fulfillment of the first."
 With all his assurance of undying love and fidelity to me, why did I still have the nagging feeling of impending disaster, of something bad happening to me? Call it female intuition but as events would prove, my instincts were spot on...

To be continued...

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

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