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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Secret Games (5) Badagry blues

They sat in the hotel lounge, a chilled bottle of beer in front of him. Koko eyed him warily, wondering what he was thinking. She could not tell as his eyes were hidden behind dark glasses.

 Since her marriage to his father, Tobi like his older siblings had never hidden their dislike of her. They mostly ignored her when they came over to the house for family gatherings or to visit their father.

 While the rest barely acknowledged her greetings, at least Tobi had made some effort to be friendly, often chatting with her whenever he was over at the house usually to harass his father for money.

 He had been given a couple of jobs in one of his father's companies after he left school but he did not last long in either of them. He lacked the discipline and dedication needed to work successfully in a corporate organisation and often talked of starting his own company where he could do his own thing without 'all these dark suited men breathing down my neck, bossing me around' as he put it.

 Koko had been shocked to see him at the hotel car park earlier. She had been holding Chuks hand and laughing at something he said. To a casual onlooker, their 'body language' showed closeness and intimacy.

 She hoped he would not read any meaning into the encounter. 
 "I came to see a friend in this hotel and we ran into each other," she tried to explain.

 He had stared keenly at her, then at Chuks and nodded. "Is that so? Quite a coincidence!" Then taking her hand, he had led her towards the hotel entrance with a peremptory: "Let's talk!"

 Now, he removed his glasses and grinned crookedly at her. "I understand everything. See, Aunty Koko," he said, leaning towards her across the small table. "We are both adults. You might be my stepmum but I don't see you as one. To me, you are more like a sister- afterall, you are just a few months older than me. Anyway, we can be open with each other. 

"You are a young woman married to an old man, my Dad who's sick and in a wheelchair. So, what you're doing is understandable. I understand your situation. You are only human afterall, with needs that need to be met. But others, more critical and judgmental might not."

 "And what do you think I'm doing?" she demanded in a defensive manner.

 "That," his head nodding in the direction of Chuks, seated a short distance away from them.
 "What do you think my Dad will say if I tell him what I saw today. His lovely, precious young wife walking hand in hand with another man from a hotel? A member of his staff for that matter?"

 "So? What's wrong in that? Afterall, he's no stranger and we met..."

 "Yeah," he butted in. "You met here by chance. Ha! You can tell that to the gullible ones. Not me!"

 Then giving her a knowing look, he added: "Aunty Koko, you and I know the truth. What's been going on between both of you. Your affair with him. You might not be aware but someone saw you with him at Badagry beach during the Sallah holiday. Now, I meet you here with the same guy and you sit there calmly and tell me there's nothing between you two? What do you take me for? A child?" he asked testily.

 His words jolted her, made her glance up quickly at him.

  They had gone on the Badagry trip some weeks before. That particular fun spot had been chosen because it was far from Lagos. They both wanted a place where they could relax from prying eyes, have some privacy.

 It did not seem so private then as someone who knew her had seen them, if Tobi was right. Who was it?

 She tried denying it.

 "I wasn't in Badagry during the holidays. Perhaps, it's someone that looks like me..."

 "Yeah. It must be your twin sister. Ha ha!" he laughed mirthlessly.

 Koko was getting irritated by his attitude and accusations. So what if he saw her at a hotel with Chuks? He did not exactly catch them in bed together, did he? So, what proof did he have? Besides, whose account would Chief believe?

 Is it him, a son whom he regarded as a lazy, no good drifter who can't hold down a job and spent his days and considerable allowance drinking and womanizing? 

 Or his loving, caring wife whom he loved and adored?

 Picking up her bag, Koko stood up.

 "Look, Tobi. I don't know what your game is. But I won't sit here and listen to all your lies and insinuations against me. I care about your father and would never do anything to hurt him. So, you can say whatever you like. I don't bloody care!"

 And she began to walk away. His next words stopped her in mid step.

 "You'll care when the bikini and kissing pictures get into my Dad's hands!"

 She turned round slowly, a stunned look on her face.

 "What...what pictures are you talking about?" she asked quickly.

 "Here," he said, waving his phone at her, a gleeful look on his face...


                        ***

 Usually, Koko enjoyed Madam Gina, the Cook's dishes as the woman's food was often delicious. But that evening, after her return from the outing with Chuks at the hotel, every morsel of food she put in her mouth tasted like sawdust.

 She pushed the food- jollof rice and grilled chicken- round her plate with her fork, her mind faraway from the dining table where she was having dinner with her husband.

 "Dear, is there a problem? You've hardly tasted your food. Don't you like the food?" Chief asked.

 She managed a weak smile at him. "The food is fine. I guess I'm tired."

 "I wanted us to play a game of Scrabble after the meal. But you look as if you could do with some rest. So, you can go upstairs to bed once we are done here," he said, taking her hand in his and squeezing it.

 After a warm bath, Koko lay on her bed. But sleep eluded her. All kinds of thoughts swirled through her mind, Tobi's words and his shocking announcement about the pictures uppermost in her thoughts. Her head began to pound, a sure sign of a headache.

 She got up, took a painkiller from a bottle on her dressing table and washed it down with some water.

 She sat on the edge of the bed, her hands supporting her jaw, thinking about the ultimatum he had given her.

 "You do what I tell you or my Dad gets to see these!"

 Should she call his bluff or agree to his demands? That thought kept her awake all night long, made her toss restlessly on the bed...


 To be continued


 What does Tobi want and what next for Koko and her lover boy Chuks? Don't miss the next episode coming soon!
       
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