“…And are you sure of what you’re saying, mum?” Sam asked his mother with concern.
“What kind of stupid question is that?” Sam’s mother asked in obvious disgust. “Of course I’m sure of what I’m saying.”
“I’m just trying to say that your neighbour might have gotten it wrong. She might have misinterpreted what she saw.”
Sam’s mother eyed him and hissed. “And how do you misinterpret seeing someone sneaking out of a house very early in the morning? She saw him to the door and even helped him look around to be sure the coast is clear.”
“Have you called Dorcas to hear her part of the story?”
“Call her for what? I’m not calling her. She’ll be seeing me tomorrow and she’ll tell me where she got the guts to have a boy come spend the night under my roof.”
Sam simply sighed. He knew that with the way his mum was seething she was totally beyond reason but he decided to try one last card with the hope of persuading her to stay till the weekend. He needed to get some things for them before she left.
“It’s okay, mum. You can go. But can’t you at least wait till the weekend? So I can get you all that you can take back home. Remember I have to get a new phone for Dorcas and…”
“No!!!” Sam’s mother cut him off. “It’s all these phone nonsense that’s making all these girls of these days lose their heads. If she can’t make do with what she has then that’s her problem. As a matter of fact, I’m taking that phone away from her. She will know that my second name is fire.”
“But mum…” Sam started to protest.
His mother cut him off again.
“Don’t but me any stupid buts. 5am tomorrow morning, I’m on my way out of this place whether you like it or not. I need to get home as early as possible. “
Sam knew his cause was lost so he simply exhaled as his shoulders dropped.
“Okay mum. I’ve heard you. Just let me know what you’ll need tonight. I need to go see Andrea to find out what she needs.”
“It’s good you mentioned her name. Let me tell you something now before I forget.”
“What now, mum?”
“I’m having this feeling like there’s something going on between Eddie and Andrea. I see the looks they give themselves when they think I’m not watching.”
Sam merely grunted.
“Haven’t you noticed anything?” Sam’s mother asked. “Or you don’t notice anything.”
“There’s nothing to worry about, mum.” Sam replied while rubbing his temple. “They’re just very close friends. We’re all close friends here. Nothing to worry about.”
“Well I’ve not noticed anything close about any of you since I got into this house. This house is just full of tension. Or do you think I’m stupid because I’m an old woman?”
“No one is calling you stupid, ma.”
“Then stop acting like it.” She hissed.
“The four of you are acting funny. You and your wife; you and Eddie; you and Senami; even Eddie and Senami. Everyone is acting strange. What exactly is going on, Samson?”
Sam sighed again and rubbed his temple again. He was physically and mentally drained and he knew he had to get away from there. Worse was that there was still that issue of Andrea to deal with.
“Mum, I’ve heard you and I’ll do all I can to watch them to make sure nothing is amiss. Hope you’re happy now?”
“No, I’m not.” She replied pointedly.
Sam sighed for the umpteenth time but he was getting away whether his mum wanted it or not.
“Okay mum, this is what we’ll do.” He started to say as he got off the bed. “I have to step out now to see to what Andrea wants. Thereafter, I’ll take a shower, grab something to eat from the kitchen and I’ll be back.”
His mother just sneered.
“So you’ll leave me here because you want to go and talk to your wife?”
“What will you have me do, mum? I’ve heard what you have to say and I’ve noted your points. Let me hear what she also has to say.”
“Did I say you shouldn’t hear what she has to say? You’re with me now and I’m leaving first thing tomorrow. Let’s finish our own discussion. You’ll still have her here with you long after I’m gone, won’t you?”
“It’s not always that simple, mum.” Sam said with an edge now lining his voice as he spoke even faster. ”It’s not always that simple. She has something to say to me tonight and it’s possible that if I don’t get her to say it tonight, she might continue snubbing me. So just let me attend to her and I promise I’ll be very brief and I’ll be with you before you know it.”
He exhaled. The pressure was getting to him and he knew it.
Some moments of silence followed in the room as Sam’s mother kept staring at him lingering at the door. When he saw that she wasn’t saying anything, he put his right hand on the doorknob and was about to turn it and excuse himself when his mother’s next question stopped him in his tracks.
“Why is she snubbing you?”
He didn’t catch it at first. He wasn’t sure he heard what he just heard right and turned to regard his mum.
“Sorry, mum.” He said looking a little confused. “I didn’t quite catch that.”
“You said she was snubbing you, son. Why?”
“I did?” Sam was no longer looking a little confused. He was very confused and he seemed to search the air as if his words still lingered there to see where he let it slip.
“Yes you did.” The mother replied.
“You said if you didn’t get to talk to her, she might just continue snubbing you. Those were your words.”
Sam seemed to think about it a while and realized he actually may have let it slip. He knew he had to weave his way around this. He started to laugh a laughter he didn’t feel.
“Sorry mum. It’s a slip of the tongue.” He stated. “Nothing like that really. Truth is that I’m under a lot of pressure at work these days and I’ve not really had time for Andrea and she’s clearly not pleased with me. That’s just it. That’s why I need you to excuse me a while let me just go and attend to her so she doesn’t start feeling like I don’t care for her anymore. You know how you ladies her.” He gave her a knowing look and a wink as he laughed. “Excuse me, mum.” And with that, he dashed out.
If there was a joke in what Sam words, his mother didn’t catch it because her face remained expressionless. Some things finally made sense because she had noticed in the past few days that there had been this animosity between Andrea and Sam but she had chalked it off as the usual tension in the house. She could tell Andrea seemed to want nothing to do with Sam and she had caught Sam giving Andrea a pleading look a couple of times in the last few days which Andrea had either ignored or not seen. It could probably explain why Andrea had virtually gone missing throughout Sunday and Monday and when she did come out, she seemed to have swollen eyes that make-up couldn’t fully conceal. She had thought back then that Andrea was probably so busy with a project and had not been sleeping well. But it was now clear those swollen eyes were not as a result of insomnia but the results of opening a fountain of tears. So what could Sam have done to her to make things this way? She pondered over it for a while but it didn’t take her long to arrive at the only conclusion that made sense concerning the circumstances.
After all, she knew what her son was capable off.
As he stepped out of the room, Sam shut the door and leaned on the wall as he heaved a sigh of relief. He was now really tired and the pressure was cranking up. He had to go see Andrea now but he decided he needed to get to the shower first. Who knows, a little sexual reconciliation might be required he thought as he smiled to himself and he wouldn’t feel good with all the stress and the sweat of the day clinging parasitically to him. He also decided on the shower because he was certain some aftershave immediately after would also do some magic. He honestly hoped there would be something in the kitchen to eat. The days of having Senami work something out in the kitchen seemed to be a lifetime behind him. One of the perks of his mother travelling down to Lagos. He’ll go grab something to bite after the shower and then go talk to Andrea. But first, he had something to do. He started to head towards his room as he took one more look at his mum’s door. He took out his phone and dialled his younger sister’s phone number. He put the phone to his ears and waited to get connected as he fished out his keys from his pocket, opened the door and stepped in.
Eddie sat in the sitting room doing some work on his laptop. Even though the TV was on and he sat facing it, he wasn’t even watching. He just needed the TV on to serve as some welcome distraction when he needed it. The Mexican stand-off of sorts between Andrea and Sam’s mother ended a while ago and the tension was still everywhere. Hardly a surprise there because the house had always been tense. What else would one have expected when two men were married to a woman?
Sam had gone to attend to his mum and Andrea had also gone to her room after spending the next two minutes looking like she was going to explode. He wanted to walk up to her offer a word of comfort or anything but her look told him it’ll serve his best interest to back off. He actually almost fell sorry for Sam especially as he had to give Andrea the most pathetic pleading look he had ever seen so she could back down and have his mum win that round. Truth is that if all what Senami had told him about her suspicions were true, then the bastard deserved all what he was getting and then some. So he could actually have cheated on Andrea. Funny thing is that he wasn’t surprised about Sam cheating because he clearly looked the type. Fancy Andrea running into him in the thick of the action. But how did Andrea know to go catch him at it? Did someone tip her off? They had dropped her off that Sunday and she was supposed to go rest or something. What made her just turn back and rush out like that? Was it a whim? Or was she telepathic? That was nonsense. Someone must have called Andrea to tell her where to get Sam. Does she have a mole at Sam’s office? Considering Sam went to work that Sunday. Could be the mole called her to tip her off and had her rushing to the office immediately he dropped her. Does she have a mole in my office too? He shuddered at the thought. But something was still funny. If she really had a mole at his office, why that day of all days? He was certain that day wouldn’t have been Sam’s first so why hadn’t the mole contacted her sooner. This was really confusing as he seemed to be plugging holes in the story.
He heard a clearing of the throat and immediately turned to see where the sound came from. Senami stood behind one of the chairs to his side staring at him with amused eyes.
“What?” Eddie asked with his most innocent look.
“A penny for your thoughts, Eddie.”
“Sorry but I wasn’t thinking of anything.” Eddie replied a little too quickly.
“I don’t believe that.” Senami replied with a giggle. “I believe if I have to give you a penny for each of your thoughts, I’d have to hand you a million pounds.”
“Come on, babe.” Eddie responded with laughter and adjusted his glasses. “That’s not only exaggerating but over-exaggerating.”
“Hmmm… I hear you then.”
Senami kept quiet and regarded Eddie a while. He always thought he looked so cute when he adjusted his glasses. There was a lot she wanted to say to him now but she couldn’t bring herself to say it. She wondered what exactly was running through that mind of his. She had caught Eddie looking lustfully her way a couple of times and she wondered if he was getting any ideas. She decided maybe a little encouragement would smooth things out a little. But first, this awkward silence…
“Do you think I should go check on Andrea?” She ventured. “Just to make sure she’s alright and doesn’t need anything.”
“I’m not sure I’d do that if I were you.” Eddie replied. “Besides, I’m sure she’ll wanna be alone for now until Sam can see her. Just leave her be. She’ll be fine.”
“Okay then.” Senami replied as she regarded Eddie who was now concentrating on his computer. She bit her lips as thoughts which were now regular coursed through her mind.
“Eddie?” She called as she rubbed her hands together a little nervously.
“Hmm?” Eddie’s raised his head from his computer and removed his glasses from his face as he regarded Senami with a serious look.
Her tongue was suddenly heavy and as she found out she couldn’t ask what she really wanted to ask. But she had to talk.
“So what do you think about what Sam’s mother said about leaving tomorrow?”
“Now that’s some welcome news. I’m tired of all these if you ask me. It’ll be a real good thing if she leaves so we can all get on with our lives.”
“Yes you’re right.” Senami replied with a sigh and a voice barely louder than a murmur. “Everything returns to normal. It was real fun while it lasted though.”
Eddie put away his laptop and motioned to her to come sit next to him. She obliged and sat gingerly beside him.
“Senami,” Eddie started, “I know what you’re scared of and there’s nothing to worry about. I know you had fun and went to see many places all the while we acted like we’re an item but there has been a lot of tension here that has been made even more pronounced with the presence of Sam’s mum. If you’re scared that her departure would mean relegating you back to the duty of full time domestic staff then you have nothing to be worried about because a lot has truly changed. I’m sure Andrea will still see you the same way as she’s seen you these past few days and I’ll most certainly see you the same way I’ve seen you these days. The only person you have to worry about is Sam but I’m certain we can always win him over. So you have nothing to worry about, dear.”
Senami simply smiled and faced downward for a while. When she looked up, she saw Eddie still looking at her with some concern in his blue eyes. She couldn’t help but ask him the next question that popped into her mind.
“And if I may ask you, Eddie, and I’ll need you to be truthful to me because I promise this is between us; how exactly do you see me these past few days?”
Eddie quietly used the edge of his shirt to clean his already clean glasses as he regarded Senami.
Sam had stepped out of the shower feeling all fresh and better. His thoughts went briefly to the talk he had with Dorcas minutes before. She had denied it stating that the guy in question had just rushed in early that morning to see her and she was sending him out when the lady had seen her. He believed her for reasons he couldn’t explain but he had still scolded her and warned her their mother would be home the the next morning. The silence at the other end told him that last part really hit home. Too bad for Dorcas, now she wouldn’t be caught unawares. She had her own troubles and he had his so he couldn’t be bothered about her own right now. He really had had a hard day and even though he didn’t need all the drama he was getting now, he felt he fully deserved it so he wasn’t planning to complain about it or take it out on anyone.
What did Andrea want to tell him? He kept thinking to himself. He had rehearsed so many ways he would apologize. If he had to swear on his dad’s grave that he won’t cheat on her again, then he’ll gladly take the oath. Although he had to admit to himself that he’d rather not have it come to that. He’ll just have to go see her looking as contrite as possible, apologize for being such an asshole, blame it all on the pressure at home not making him think straight. He was ready to say just about anything to make things right because he had to admit the way things were going with Andrea was eating badly at him. He had to mend the fences tonight and that was that. He applied some after shave that he knew Andrea was crazy about and then wore a pair of shorts and a white vest that seemed to cling for dear life to his body. When he was satisfied, he stepped out of his room to march to Andrea’s room. Hunger by this time had somehow been forgotten.
“…I’m sorry I missed your birthday, Febi. I’ve had a lot on my plate that’s why. And I haven’t checked my facebook in days too because if I had, I wouldn’t have missed it.” Andrea listened to the speaker on the other end for a while. While she listened, there was a knock on her door and it opened. Sam walked in and shut the door behind him. “I’m happy you had fun, dear. Please give my regards to your man. I’ll send you a mail later. I need to run now, okay? Muah.” She cut the call and made a mental note to send a lady called Folayemi, another online friend of hers a birthday card before she retired for the night. She regarded Sam as he took a few steps towards the bed and she got up to go meet him.
“I’m really sorry about all that happened, babe.” Sam started to say, “I feel like a complete jerk. I didn’t really mean to hurt you but I was just being…” He kept silent as Andrea raised her right hand to his face.
“I’m no longer interested in this marriage with you, Samson.” Andrea stated coolly. “You can save your excuses for whatever bank will cash them. I want out”
“What?!” Sam blurted out. Andrea’s words seemed to hit him in the guts forcing the breath out with his words. He sucked at his breath for an instance and when he could find his voice again, he spoke with a voice even he couldn’t recognize. “Are you out of your fucking mind?!!!”
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