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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Secret Games (7) flight in the night





  "That Tobi! I feel like wringing his neck. He's such a creep!" said Koko. She was lying on the couch in the living room of Chuks two bedroom apartment.

 Her head rested on his lap while one of her jean clad legs dangled on the floor. 

 He gazed down at her and laughed.

 "That'll take some effort as he has such a thick neck!" he quipped, laughing again.

 She sat up abruptly, a scowl on her smooth face.

 "You find it funny abi? Didn't you see the text message he sent me giving me two weeks max to get Chief to give him the money or he sends the pictures? The little punk!" she said viciously.

 "I know," he conceded. Then he drew her to him, her head resting on his shoulder. "But look at the bright side. It made us fast track our travel plans. In a week or so, we'll be out of this country."

 She relaxed in his arms and raising up her head, kissed his cheek. "I can't wait for that day! We'll be free to be together as a couple, no more sneaking around and hiding from prying eyes."

 "Yes, my darling," he said softly, kissing her. There was silence in the room for a while as they smooched on the couch...

 Sometime later, when they broke apart, Chuks switched on the TV and began to watch a football match on a sports channel.

 "Oh no! Not football again!" groaned Koko. She picked up the remote and changed to another station showing a Mexican telenovela.

 "What's wrong with football? It's fun and interesting."

 "Fun?" she said mockingly. "Where's the fun in seeing grown men chasing a ball round a field for over an hour or so?"

 "At least, it's better than these silly soap operas you love so much. I can't get my head round them or why you ladies are so obsessed with them," Chuks rejoined.

 "Oh o! The same way I don't understand you guys' obsession with football," Koko said. 

 "Ok. I give up. To avoid fighting over the remote when we have our own home, each person will have his own TV. That way, you can watch all the telenovelas you want."

 "Sounds great," she said, smiling and hugging him close. "The thought that we'll soon be together finally makes me so happy. We'll get married, start a family and live happily."

 "Can't wait too, baby. I want a little girl that will look just like you. But without your stubbornness."

 "What? Are you calling me stubborn?" she said in mock anger. Picking up a cushion, she hit him playfully with it. 
 He grabbed her hands and she fell on top of him, their faces inches apart.

 "Yes, Koko love. You're one stubborn woman but I love you like crazy!"

 She smiled at him and lowering her face till their noses touched, she said: "Love you too, Chuks. You're my world now!"


    ***
 For the next few days before their departure, Koko spent her time putting finishing touches to their travel arrangements. Their travel documents were ready, flights booked and she had begun to pack her clothes and stuff she would take with her.

 Everything was done in a discreet manner so Chief would not be aware of her plans to leave him. She planned writing him and sending divorce papers through her lawyer on arrival in Canada where they were headed.

 Three days before their flight, Koko went to see her mother. She felt guilty at keeping her mother in the dark about dumping Chief and running off with her lover. Her mother, she knew would not approve of her affair and would insist on her ending it.

 She was in the kitchen preparing lunch when she arrived.

 "Hm. So, you remember we still exist, Koko? I thought you had forgotten you still have a family here," the woman quipped on seeing her daughter.

 Koko laughed and embraced her.

 "Ha, Mama! It wasn't too long ago I visited you!"

 "That was nearly three weeks ago. You used to visit at least every week. I know it's not your husband keeping you that busy since he has a nurse to look after him." She paused. "How's Chief?"

 Koko shrugged. "He's alright. He sends his greetings," she said. She walked up to the cooker where a pot of vegetable soup simmered.

 "This smells good. I'm hungry. When will it be done?"

 Just then, her youngest sister, Eka walked into the kitchen.

 "Sister Koko! When did you arrive?" she said, running up to hug her sister.

 "How will you know when you're hardly at home. Miss 'wakabout' said her mother.

 Koko turned to her 17 year old sister. "Is that so"?
 "Sister, it's not true. I just went down the street to see Bukola, my classmate and..."
 Her mother sniggered. "That was three hours ago." Then turning to Koko, she added: "She only comes home to eat and runs off again."

 Koko pulled at her sister's right ear. "That's bad of you, Eka. You should stay home and help Mama with the chores. You're the only one left at home now."
"Ok, sister," the girl said, a grumpy look on her face.

    ***
  After lunch, Koko and her mother sat on the verandah of the house, chatting. At a point, she almost blurted out her plans with Chuks to her but stopped herself on time.

 'She won't approve and might even tell Chief and all our plans will be ruined,' she thought.

 Her mother was talking.

 "I'll be visiting you and Chief the weekend after this one. I want the pawpaw and banana at the backyard to ripen enough for plucking. I want to bring some for Chief since he loves fruits so much." She paused.

 "I hope you're taking good care of your husband Koko. Make sure he takes his drugs on time, feed him well and love him. He needs you now more than ever especially in his condition."

 "I'm doing that, Mama."

 "I hope he'll be able to walk again. Chief is a good man. Our lives have changed since you married him. Look at all these," she said, her eyes sweeping over the front yard of the house. "I never imagined that I would be a landlady in this Lagos. But Chief made it possible. All your siblings are being trained in school by him. And he still gives me a monthly allowance for my upkeep. To me, he's the best in-law any woman can want. So, cherish him my daughter and never do anything to upset him."

 "Ok, Mama," she said quietly, wondering why her mother was heaping so much praise on Chief, even more than usual.

 'Does she suspect anything?' she wondered, looking at the older woman from the corner of her eye, thinking how much she would miss her and her siblings.

 She consoled herself with the thought that they could always come over for visits when she had settled down in her new abode.

 'I'm sorry, mother. I know you'll be mad at me when you hear what I've done. But I had to do it to keep my sanity. Hope you'll forgive me,' Koko muttered to herself.

 "What are you mumbling to yourself?" her mother asked with a quizzical look at her daughter.

 Koko laughed.

 "Nothing, Mama. So, when was the last time Stanley came home?" she asked. Stanley was her younger brother, a student at the University of Port Harcourt.

 "I've not seen him for nearly four months. He didn't even come home during the last vacation they had. He said he wanted to stay back and do a vacation job to make money. That boy loves money too much..." she grumbled...

      ***
  On the night before their flight, Koko went through her belongings once more, feeling a bit sad that there was so much she had to leave behind.

 'I can always get new stuff over there,' she thought. Her phone rang as she heading to the bathroom to pack her toiletries.

 "How's my 'wife' doing?" said Chuks over the line.

 She laughed.

 "We haven't done any ceremony yet. So, how am I your wife?" she teased him.

 "In my mind, you already belong to me," he said. "Are you set or still packing?"

  She told him she was ready and waiting impatiently for the new day when 'their lives as a couple would begin.'

  "See you tomorrow then. Goodnight, darling," she said softly before ending the call. In the bathroom, she stared at her face for a moment, a smile curving her lips at Chuks words.

 She looked forward to the day she would be free of her entanglement with Chief that had become like a noose round her neck. And become Mrs Chukwudi (Chuks) Maya...

  ***

 By 5 a.m the following morning, Koko was ready to leave the house. From there, she would drive to a hotel at Airport Road, a few minutes away from the international airport. That was where she and Chuks would stay till the evening before heading to the airport to catch their flight.

 No one was about at that hour and everywhere was still as she quietly dragged the three suitcases she had packed down the stairs. She took them to her car and returned for her handbag and hand luggage.

 She stopped at the door and turned to take a last look at the expansive living room where she had spent so many hours with her soon to be ex- husband.

 As she turned to leave the house for the last time, her eyes rested on something and she froze in mid step.

 "Going somewhere, Koko dear?" asked Chief Badmus as he rolled his wheelchair into the living room from the direction of the corridor.

 "What are...you..I thought you were asleep!" she stammered, a look of consternation, shock and confusion on her face.

 "Sleep? What man would sleep when his wife is about to run off with another man!" he said.

 Then a hard look came on his face and with his mouth curled in anger, he thundered: 

 "How dare you, Koko!"

  ***

 Koko sat on the edge of her bed, her hands cupping her jaw, all kinds of thoughts whirling through her mind.

 She could not believe that all their carefully laid plans could fall apart like a collapsed building. Since early that morning, when Chief had caught her as she was about to flee, everything had fallen apart.

 And the nightmare had begun...

 She initially thought it was Tobi that had snitched on them, exposing her affair with Chuks as he had been threatening all along.

 But it turned out he had got the information from another source, and unknown to them, had hired someone to keep tabs on them.

 "Don't look too shocked my dear wife. I found about your little secret games with Chuks about three months ago."

 "Then why...?" she paused.

 "I didn't confront you?" He shook his head. "I wanted to see what you were planning. I knew when you went to the embassy for your visa and made your travel plans." He paused and was silent for a while. 

 "Afterall I did for you, Koko, you could stab me in the back in such a manner? Sleeping with a member of my staff? How could you Koko?"

 As she feared, his retribution was swift and vicious. He had ordered the servants to seize her travel documents and had her locked up in her room.

 "You think you can just up and leave me whenever you choose? My dear girl, nobody leaves Chief Badmus until I let go. You want to run away and make me a laughing stock in this town? A man of my reputation and standing in the society? No way! You will remain my wife until I'm sick and tired of you. You can never ever leave me," he stated ominously.

 She summoned some courage and tried to fight back.

 "You can't force me to stay with you if I don't want to, Chief. I'm your wife not your slave," she insisted.

 "But I can. You either stay or your family will be kicked out on the streets, become destitute and beggars. I made you and your family what you are today. And with a snap of my finger, you'll be back in the gutter where I picked you from."

 At the threat to her family, all the fight went out of Koko. The thought of her mother and siblings suffering for her actions caused her great distress.

 Worse was to come. Chuks was arrested by the police, charged with theft, fraud and all kinds of trumped up charges the police could think of except perhaps murder.

 "But Chuks is innocent. He's not a thief," Koko protested on hearing the news.

 Chief laughed derisively. "Of course he's a thief! He stole my money and wanted to take away my wife. No one does that to me and goes free!"

 It had been a week now and he was still in police detention.

 Koko pleaded and begged. 

 "Please, let him go Chief. I promise not to have anything to do with him anymore or see him. I'll remain with you and you can dish out any punishment you like to me. But tell the police to release him."

 But he was adamant, insisting Chuks would rot in jail for 'daring to touch what did not belong to him.'

 Tears now snaked down Koko's face, thinking of her poor lover in the Police cell and how much suffering he must be going through.

 'How did everything go so horribly wrong?' she thought sadly. Thinking of what lay ahead, what her life without Chuks' love and care would be like - empty, lonely and cold-she wept more tears of bitterness, sorrow and regret...

  The End


 Did Chuks eventually go to jail as Chief had threatened? Did Koko stay married to Chief or did she leave him? Will things ever be the same between them? Will Chuks and Koko get back together? To answer these questions, we might do a sequel to this story sometime in the future so watch this space.

 And if you've read the story up till here, then thanks for your patience!

  Gudnite and stay blessed!

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