ONE WEEK LATER
Tunde walked through the lawn; his eyes behind the dark shades were red with dark circles beneath testifying to his lack of sleep. He finally got to the car and paused taking in another breath of fresh air, the blasted tune played in his head – remembering his wife loved the tune. Tunde gritted his teeth and opened the door sliding into the driver’s seat.
The passenger door opened and Demilade sat on the seat beside him, he removed his glasses surprised. “Demilade…”
“Can I come with you?” her voice was unusually soft “I’m tired of this house.”
Tunde nodded saying nothing; he started the engine and drove out of the compound through the already opened gate by the gate man. Silence filled the air as he drove. They were both buried in their thoughts but the same issue hung between them.
He slowed down getting to the little clog of traffic at the T-junction. The same tune played repeatedly in his head, hell; he knew he missed Priscilla so much. In fact, he was beginning to doubt he reacted to the issue the right way, what if he had been patient. Heard her out? What if…
“Are you thinking about her?” Demilade’s voice interrupted his thoughts as the car surged forward “You are thinking about her…” her tone was distant.
“Yes” Tunde replied simply, there was no use denying it.
“I heard your conversation with dad the night you came in” this time she looked at him and their gazes locked. Tunde stared at her shocked and dragged his yes back on the road.
“I’m sorry Demilade.”
“Don’t be” Demilade looked out to the road through the window. “So many secrets, dirty secrets…”
Tunde sighed at a loss for words; he turned towards the road leading to his house, his heart slowly thumped in his chest secretly hoping she would be there, waiting for him.
“What are you going to do?” She threw him a glance; her eyes glistened with tears for her brother. “You can’t keep her around Tunde, she and her family ought to leave us alone”
“It is not her fault, Demi” he sighed in resignation. “ It’s not her fault dad had an affair with her mother.”
“Still you can’t keep her around. Do you know what that would do to mum, me, dad?”
“Your father wants her around” his lips thinned as he thought of his father. “That is all he has ever wanted, he cares only about his name.”
“Our father is a pig.” Her voice was heavy with hate and he threw her a sharp glance in response. It took a breath as if to calm herself and she continued, “If mum found out about everything, her health…”
“That’s why she won’t Demilade. Don’t say a word about it to her.”
Demilade shook her head in frustration but chose not to respond. Tunde turned into the all familiar street and silence filled the car once again. The tension was almost tangible. His breath quacked when he parked the car in front of the gate, he opened the door but his body felt too flaccid to move. Demilade got out of the car and stood in front of the gate with a look of confidence but within him, he knew she too was scared for him.
After what seemed to be forever, he got out of the car and locked it. It took him a minute to walk towards the gate and walk into the large compound. His heart was pounding, he thought his sister could even hear it.
They entered the cream building and slowly climbed the staircase with her in front of him. Demilade turned around and held out her hand as they got to the front door. Tunde held on to it and gave her a light squeeze. His chest felt too tight to contain his heavy heart, it took strength to turn the silver key in its lock, it made a light click and his hand slid away from the door handle of its own volition.
He wanted to hear those soft footsteps as they came towards the other side of the door. He closed his eyes for a brief second and looked at his sister. He gave him a sympathizing look with tears in her eyes. She could see how much he loved the woman.
Finally, he held on to the door handle and turned it slowly. The door creaked open and slowly gave way for them to enter. He could almost wail as the house stared back at him giving him all it had.
Demilade slid her hand from beneath his and walked into the apartment, like a robot he walked behind her. Each step he took sunk his heart further, Tunde walked towards the corridor towards the bedroom half hoping Priscilla would walk into the room any moment.
There was a single piece of paper on the bed, he sat on the edge almost bewildered and shakily picked up the paper. He gazed hazily at the piece of paper. It contained an address. She had left. Tunde hung his head swallowing the deep wave of disappointment rocking his body.
Priscilla hastily stumbled towards the toilet and lurched herself at the toilet vomiting. Soon after, she sat helplessly on the clean floor and burst into fresh tears, feeling another wave of self-pity. It took her a long while to get up and flush the toilet with the stench of her vomit hanging heavily in the air.
She dragged herself towards the brown drapes and parted them open. The morning sun flooded into the room taking away the morose atmosphere. Priscilla stood like that for a few minutes watching the little boy that played with himself in the house on the other side of the street. A little quiver of peace came into her heart and her hand rested on the little bump in her stomach. For the first time in a long while she remembered her sister Imabong, her heart quivered again with nostalgia also remembering the lengthy conversation she had with Seyi the day before concerning her issues.
Priscilla moved away feeling slightly better. After a while she stepped out of the room fleshly dressed in a shirt and sweat pants. She could smell pancakes and her stomach complained of hunger, her footsteps led her to the kitchen seeing Mrs. Bridget hum to herself as she fried pancakes.
“Good morning”, she walked to the cupboard getting out plates.
“Good morning dear”, Mrs Bridget replied with her refreshing motherly smile. “Trust you slept well?”
“Yes I did”, Priscilla replied returning reassuring smile. Much to her embarrassment, her, stomach grumbled loudly again and her host laughed.
“Don’t worry!” She put the last batch of pancakes on the plate and Priscilla carried them to the already set table.
“Please let me handle the cooking”, she rushed on feeling uncomfortable “That is the least I could do for your kindness.”
“Nonsense!” Mrs Bridget replied with her usual enthusiasm. “I won’t allow my guest cook in my house. You are here to relax and get your thoughts together.”
A tear slid of the corner of Priscilla’s eye and she dabbed it away with her palm “Thank you” she said in a croaked voice.
Mrs Bridget put down her fork in surprise “why are you crying?”
“It’s just, my own mother should be doing this,” she said after a moment “well at least the woman I thought was my mother,” Priscilla added with spite.
“She is still your mother” the other woman replied softly.” “Regardless of everything, she raised you and brought you up to this point in your life even though it may seem like the worst.”
She swallowed a piece of the pancake slowly. In her heart, she knew Mrs Bridget as a mother. She also knew Mrs Bridget had a point but her heart was too hardened to believe. “I’m in a mess and all she cared about was to grab unto her money, she didn’t even care that I was hurt”, her voice shook remembering the day she went to her mother’s house.
“So, what do you plan on doing now?” Mrs Bridget asked obviously unwilling to pursue the subject any further.
Priscilla stared down at her barely eaten meal “I don’t know. I love my husband but we both need time to heal.” She stared at her host expectantly and she responded nodding in agreement. Priscilla busied herself and cut another piece of the pancake taking it into her mouth.
Her heart hurt thinking of her husband.
Karen stared at the door of Tunde’s office hesitant to open the door, she knew the nosy secretary watched her intently as she opened the door with confidence and stepped into the office.
Tunde looked up from the documents on the table. Seeing Karen, he got up in courtesy and she rushed towards him gathering him in her embrace. His heart repelled it but he was too soft to care. Finally, she released him and walked round the table to seat in front of his desk. He sat down as soon as she did.
“How are you?” Karen asked him with her eyes supposedly full of concern. Tunde stifled a grunt of disgust; sometimes she forgot just how well he knew her. He knew very well she had come to stake her claim, her prize. Him.
“I’m okay, I’ve been busy” his tone was flat.
“Too busy to call me?”, she threw him one of her famous sulky looks.
“I’ve been busy Karen. I’ve had a lot of things to handle.”
She said nothing at that but he knew she was not pleased. “I want to be there for you Tunde,” Karen stated softly. “I really want to be here for you, you need me the most right now.”
Tunde said nothing watching her as she spoke.
“I feel like you are pushing me away and we know I’ve been with you for a long time, I know when you need a friend.”
“A friend?”, Tunde echoed in uncertainty.
Karen shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Am I not your friend?”
“You tell me, Karen”, he replied drily and relaxed back in his chair. “Is this a game to you where you’ve come to stake your prize?”
She looked at him surprised, genuinely surprised. “Err Tunde… Tunde I…”
Tunde smiled a little “Karen I can take care of myself, you don’t need to worry about me.”
“But there’s your dad and her mom and the fact that she had ‘sex’ with Richard and now she’s pregnant.” She laid heavily on the ‘sex’ word as if to rub it in. “It’s a lot of drama for one person to take in.”
It stung him, it really did but he chose not to give her the satisfaction of showing it. “Karen”, Tunde replied firmly. “I’m fine, you don’t need to worry about me but thanks.”
“Have you heard from her?” Karen asked, gingering.
“Priscilla and I would sort it out ourselves; I can’t think when everyone is badgering me.”
She threw him a hurt expression. Tunde’s mobile phone rang and they both looked at it, it was Demilade.
“Excuse me”, he said to her and picked up the call. “Hello?”
The other end of the line was noisy and Tunde strained to hear what was going on “Hello?”
“Tunde it’s me!”
Tunde glanced at Karen who was watching him with an unfathomable look on her face. “Yeah where are you? It’s noisy.”
“I’m at the hospital.”
He sat up in his chair “What for? Are you okay?”
“Its mum, she fainted!”
Safe Haven: Episode 23 CONTINUES HERE
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