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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Two Brides And A Ring (7)




"Ebuka, what's this? What's going on?" asked Comfort as she stood in the middle of the living room.

He moved closer and stood in front of her, taking her hand in his.

"Let's go to the room; there's something we need to discuss," he said.

She gazed at him curiously for a moment, eyed Ama, then turned and walked towards the staircase.

After they left, Ama stood up and walked round the large living room, inspecting the furnishings.

"So, this is what Comfort has been enjoying all this while?" she said to herself. "Selfish girl! Chop alone! Well, this is my husband's house and I've come to stay whether she likes it or not!"

 She sat down again and relaxed on the couch, placing a foot on a stool. Just then, a young lady that looked like the maid entered the parlour.

''What will you like to have, Madam?'' she asked Ama.

''Just water. For now,'' she said. As the maid left for the kitchen, Ama picked up the TV remote, changed the channel and sat back again with a sigh.

 ***

''Absolutely not!'' Comfort said hotly. ''There's no way she'll move into this house. Over my dead body will that happen!''

''Please dear, listen to me!''Ebuka pleaded. ''It's just for a short while till her mother returns from the village where she has gone to take care of her sick mother. Her younger sister is in school, leaving Ama alone in the house. You know it's not good for a woman in her condition to stay alone.''

Comfort turned from the window that faced the courtyard and glared at her husband.

''I've made myself clear. This is my house and I can't share it with another woman, least of all that backstabbing bitch!'' said Comfort furiously.

''Be reasonable, Comfort. Where do you want her to go? Have you forgotten it's my baby she's carrying?'' he said, his voice rising.

''And whose child is in my womb? Or did I conceive all by myself?'' she shouted at him. ''All you think and worry about is Ama! What about me and my feeling? Can't you see you're breaking my heart, Ebuka?''

''Keep your voice down! Do you want the whole neighbourhood to hear you?''

''Let them hear! So, they'll know the kind of wicked man I married; one who is always doing things to make his wife's life miserable.'' Her voice shook a bit and she sounded close to tears
''What are you talking about?'' he retorted, sounding pissed. ''What have I done to make your life a misery? Have I not been playing my role as a husband to you? Taking care of you, providing your needs...''

Her mouth twisted as if she had tasted something bitter.

''Is that all there is to being a husband? Just meeting my material needs? What about your love? I know where your love, your heart is and its definitely not with me!" She walked towards the door, stopped and said:
 ''If you insist on bringing her here, then I'm out! She and I can't stay under the same roof!''

 With that, she walked out the door, ignoring Ebuka's call for her to come back.

  ***

Later, after Ama had settled down in one of the rooms in the house, Ebuka went up to see her. She was arranging some of her clothes in the wardrobe when he came in.

 "Hope you're ok with the room. If you need anything, tell the maid," he said, sitting on the bed.

''The room is fine. I heard a bit of your argument with Comfort. So, she doesn't want me in the house. Hmm. What right does she have to kick me out? Is this her father's house?''

 He drew her down on the bed to sit beside him. ''It's been sorted out so don't bother your head about it. There are five bedrooms in this house so there's enough room for everybody,'' he said, touching her large, protruding belly. ''How's my baby doing?''

 ''Not too good," she said, a petulant note in her voice.

 "What's wrong? Are you in pain? Should we go to the hospital?'' he asked, looking alarmed.

 She laughed and hit him playfully on the chest. ''We're fine. Was just kidding. But I'll feel even better if you'll come later tonight and spend time with me. This is the time I need you most, you know.''

 ''Would have loved to do that, but...there's Comfort. She's not happy over the situation so I can't do what will make her even angrier. Hope you understand, babe.''

 She shrugged then laid on the bed and drew him to her so they lay together. ''It's ok. But tomorrow, you'll be all mine I hope,'' she said.

 ''Ok. Anything to make you happy, sweetheart,'' he said, pinching her nose and kissing her.

  ***

With Ama's arrival in the house, an uneasy calm pervaded the air. The two women, by an unspoken agreement, studiously avoided each other. Ama spent most of her time in her room browsing on her laptop or in the living room watching movies. Later, Ebuka got a TV set for her so she stayed in her room watching her favourite programmes all day and chatting on her phone.

 She still remembered her mother's words which echoed in her ears.

 ''When you get to the house, don't get into fights or quarrels with Comfort. Wait till you've delivered. Then, the real battle will start,'' her mother had advised her on the eve of her movement to Ebuka's house. She knew what she wanted so she bidded her time, waiting like a hunter to pounce on its prey.

She even ignored Comfort's often snide remarks about her, openly calling her a 'husband snatcher, thief, home breaker' and other derogatory words.

  Two weeks later...

 It was a Saturday afternoon. Ama and the maid were alone in the house as Comfort and Ebuka had gone out earlier in the morning to attend a wedding in town. Ama, who had a craving for jollof rice that day, was in the kitchen preparing it herself as she did not trust the maid to cook it the way she liked.

She stood stirring the simmering pot of rice, tasted it then added a bit more salt. She was washing her hands at the sink when Comfort came marching into the kitchen, her high heeled shoes clicking on the tiled floor.

 "Óh, you're back. Welcome,'' Ama greeted her.

Comfort ignored her greeting and stood glaring at her rival. ''What's going on here? What are you doing in my kitchen?''

''As you can see, I'm cooking. It's jollof rice; its almost done in case you're hungry."

''How dare you? Who gave you permission to cook here! This is my house and my kitchen and you can't just stroll in here whenever you like. Get that into your thick skull!'' she said furiously.

''And who are you to tell me what I can or can't do in this house?'' Ama countered angrily. ''This is my man's house too. I've every right to be here.''

 Óh, you do? Shameless she goat like you! A thief who won't go look for her own husband but wants to snatch someone's own. Let's see if you'll eat this food today!'' She marched angrily to the stove and picking up the pot of cooked rice, emptied the whole content in the dustbin nearby.

Ama stood, staring stupefied at the food she had taken so much effort and time preparing, now a messy slop in the bin.

She turned, her eyes spitting fire as she faced Comfort. ''You...you threw my food in the dustbin? You evil witch!'' In a swift movement, she reached up and grabbed Comfort by the arms and pushed her violently back. She staggered in her heels then fell with a thud on the floor. The maid, who had stood by watching the two women as they argued, ran to the fallen woman.

 "Madam, are you alright?" she said, looking worried as she shook Comfort lightly on the shoulder. She lay still like one dead, her arms spread out wide on the floor.

''Aunty,' she said to Ama, ''Maybe, you should call Oga to come home o! What if she's dead?''

''Stop talking nonsense! How can she die like that? It was just a little push, nothing much,'' she said quickly. She bent down to examine her closely, to determine if she was still breathing. She felt some relief when she felt her heartbeat, then she almost fell herself when she heard the maid scream.

''What's it now?'' asked Ama.

Her eyes strayed to where the maid was pointing at Comfort's slightly parted legs. A thin trickle of blood flowed down her legs, staining the blue outfit she wore.

''Madam is bleeding o!''


To be continued

What next? What will happen to Comfort and her six months old pregnancy? Details will be revealed later this week. Please stay tuned and thanks for your patience in following the story so far. Your feedback especially criticisms of our stories is welcome so don't hesitate to drop a comment for us.




 




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