But it had happened. It is a fact and the action can never be reversed. She will forever have it in mind that Ikem hit her, she could never forget it in a million years; and the love between them is forever tainted as a result of tonight’s happenings.
She couldn’t fathom the reason behind his aberrant behavior tonight. He had never raised his hands to her before. Sometimes, when he was angry enough to hit her, he had walked away rather than go ahead with it. Recently though, he had been exhibiting some rather strange behavior, she had been baffled by the subtle change in him.
She fluffed her pillow as fresh tears fell down her face. Her heart was breaking into a million pieces. She couldn’t believe that Ikem, her prince in shining armor, her tall, dark, and handsome lover would raise his hands to her. It still is unbelievable.
She stiffened as she heard the turn of the doorknob. Ikem came in quietly and stood by the door for a few moments observing her. There was a look of chagrin on his face.
“Ugochi…” he whispered reverently.
Ugochi turned to face the wall. She did not want to hear any excuse or see that tortured look on his face. She needed him to suffer a little bit more.
“Ugochi,” he said again, this time a little more firm
Ugochi refused the answer. She wished he’ll just go away and leave her to grief the loss of her trust in peace. It’s not every day her boyfriend slaps her after all.
Ikem was not having that though. He shuffled closer to the bed, walked to the other side so he could see her face, and he sat on the bed beside her. Ugochi stiffened some more. Tension radiated from her body like sun rays.
“I’m so sorry baby,” Ikem began. “I don’t know what came over me. I promise it will never happen again.”
Ugochi stared at his face coldly. “You don’t know what came over you?” she asked angrily. “That is the lamest excuse in the book,” she spat.
“I know, I know,” he raised his palm up in surrender. “I know it sounds cliché but that is the truth.”
“It does not sound cliché, it is cliché.” She refused to look at him, she laid on her back, staring at the ceiling.
“I’m sorry Ugo. What else do you want me to say?””
“I want you to tell me why you think it was necessary to treat me that way tonight. And I don’t want to hear anything like ‘I don’t know what came over me’, because we both know that’s not true.”
Ikem refused to reply. He just kept staring at her. How could he tell her he reacted that way because of the information given to me by a man he does not even trust? He can never tell her what Donald told him. What if he was wrong? He needed to be absolutely sure first.
“But that was happened baby. Maybe I was angry because you stayed out so late, or maybe I was just feeling some residual stress. Either way, I’m sorry I hurt you.”
“I told you I would be out late, didn’t I? I distinctly remember telling you today was Dawn’s birthday, and that we were going for dinner at a plush restaurant on the island. Didn’t I?”
“Yeah, I think you did. Where were you this evening?”
“At work. Where else?”
“You didn’t go anywhere other than to work?”
“I went for Dawn’s birthday,” she threw up her hands in frustration. “Do I need to keep repeating myself?”
“Are you sure? No little lunch date with anyone?”
Ugochi narrowed her eyes at him speculatively. “No,” she replied. “Why the twenty questions?”
“I just want to be absolutely sure.”
Ugochi paused and looked at his face critically. She could see the confusion, and the faint anger, but there was something else lurking behind his eyes she couldn’t quite make out. There was something there that looks a lot like distrust.
“What is going on, Ikem?” she asked, baffled.
“Nothing. I’m sorry for hurting you, okay?” he caressed her abused cheeks. “Forgive me?” he stared into her eyes.
Ugochi wanted to ask more questions but she refrained. She decided to take the olive branch he was offering. Better keep the tentative peace.
“I forgive you darling. It was so out of character, it is easy to forgive. But please, control yourself better next time we have an argument.”
“I will. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Few minutes later, they both lay in bed. They were not touching nor speaking with each other. Each was occupied with his own thoughts.
Ikem’s thoughts were whirling around his mind. So, who is lying? He thought. She claimed to be at work all day and Donald claimed he saw her having a drink with another man. Who is lying? I better get to the bottom of this, and fast.
Ugochi stared at the ceiling as the thoughts chased each other in her head. What did he mean by all those questions? Did he know something? Could he have spotted me with Fredrick this evening? Is that the reason for his aggressive and strange behavior? I better get to the bottom of this, and fast.
The next day Ugochi was in the office when Ijay’s call came through. She debated telling her about the happenings of last night for just a moment before making her decision. The matter was weighing so much on her mind, she needed to confide in someone.
“Hey girl,” she said into the receiver. “How are you?”
“I’m fine o. I called you last night to ask if you got home okay but you didn’t pick your call. I called you several times, hope you’re okay?”
“Girl, na plenty matter I meet for house o,” she began, and then launched into what happened.
Ijay sighed deeply when Ugochi finished recanting her story. “You mean, he slapped you? Like, he actually raised his hands to you and hit you?”
“Yes o. Na so I see am.”
“I’m speechless. I mean, that is so unlike Ikemefuna.”
“I thought so too.”
“What reason did he give for doing that?”
“You know, the usual now. Something like he didn’t know what came over him, he was stressed at work, I was out late, etc. I knew all that was just smoke though because he started asking me some strange questions. Ijay, I think he saw me with Frederick yesterday. I think that was why he flew off the handle like that.”
“Wow, wait a minute. What made you say that? Did he tell you he saw you?”
“No. At least he didn’t say it out, he was just asking me some strange questions like did I go out of the office or something like that. Anyway, I think something is up, something he knows that he’s not telling me about.”
“But….I don’t know how he could conclude it was something shady, at least if he saw you there, he must have seen me too.”
“Yes, that’s true girl! I didn’t even think of that. You were there with us the whole time now.”
“Exactly! I don’t think you have anything to worry about on that front. Our plans will proceed as outlined.”
“Hmmm, I hope so because I really don’t want him to know about this decision I am taking. I need everything to be perfect and in place before I tell him about it.”
“I understand girl. We’ll get it done.”
“Thank you dear. I know I can count on you.”
“You know I’ve got your back dear. Meanwhile, I don’t want you to worry about a thing.”
A thought suddenly popped in Ugochi’s mind. “Wait, Ijay!” she said “Remember, you stood up for like five minutes to use the rest room, so technically, you were not with us the whole time. What if he saw us then? What if it was during that period he saw Frederick and I? Sitting together? Discussing cozily?”
“Oh my goodness, I totally forgot that. Oh, you’re so right. He could have seen you guys then.”
“Oh, this is bad, this is so bad.”
“But wait now Ugochi, we are just assuming that’s what he saw. What if it was something else entirely? What if it had nothing to do with your lunch with Frederick?”
“Oh baby, I don’t think so. I have this gut feeling this is what it’s all about. He saw me, Ijay. He saw me.”
“Okay, calm down. Let’s deal with this in a logical manner. What if you’re right? What if he saw you? What then? You can lie your way around that. Just tell him he’s your colleague, or client or something. He doesn’t have to know what it is all about.”
Ugochi calmed down a bit and thought about it for a minute. “That’s true,” she agreed. “I can always lie about it, and then I’ll pretend to get angry because he doubted me.”
“You go girl. You see? It will all work out.”
Ugochi sighed deeply. “Yes, I believe so. I’ll wait for him to bring it up though. I won’t.”
“Good. I have to get back to work now. Keep me updated?”
They dropped the call and Ugochi laid her head on her office table. This is getting too complicated for me. I just want to do right by myself and by Ikem. At least, what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, she thought to herself.
Ugochi was very wrong about that. What Ikem doesn’t know can hurt him, and it is in fact hurting him. He managed to hold himself in check until lunch break, while his stomach churned with anger and disappointment. He didn’t want to conclude though, he had to confirm what that bastard Donald saw before he takes any action. He had never tolerated a woman cheating on him aand he is not going to start now. She cheats, she goes.
Lunchtime came and Ikem bolted out of his tiny office cubicle as if pursued by demons. He paid no mind to his colleague Wale calling him to probably chat about last night’s game, and he stared Bibi, the sexy bombshell who was always making calf eyes at him, down as he quickly exited the building. He had thirty minutes to meet up with Donald and get to the bottom of this matter.
Five minutes later, he was seated across Donald at a small café. It took monumental control to keep from smashing his fist into Donald’s smug face.
“So, what did you see?” Ikem asked when they were both settled.
“Guy, why are we going over this matter again now? I already told you what I saw yesterday. I just felt it was my duty to tell my guy when I think his babe is stepping out on him. What are you taking it out on me?”
“I’m not taking it out on you. I just want to be absolutely sure of what happened.”
“Okay, I’m going to say this just one more time, and then I’m not going to talk about it again. By the way, why didn’t you ask your babe now?”
“She denied it,” he said. He didn’t like the gleam in Donald’s eyes so he explained further. “Okay, she didn’t deny it because I didn’t ask her straight out but she lied to me all the same.”
“Hmmm, interesting. Why didn’t you ask her?”
“I needed to be sure before accusing her of cheating.”
“Okay then. I saw her with this very sleek guy, handsome, you know? And looking very rich and put together. They were seated side by side, he was talking to her about something and she hung on his every word, looking at him adoringly, like lovers, you know? So, I checked them out for a few minutes, and then left. That was when I called you. I didn’t hang around cos I didn’t want her to see me. That’s it.”
Ikem’s fingers were drumming a nervous rhythm on the table. He studied Donald for a few moments. “Did you see them kiss, or anything?”
“No. That’s all I saw.”
“No suspicious touching?”
“No. But come on, Ik, I’m not a kid. I know when a man and a woman got feelings for each other and those two were sending off serious vibes. Come on, man.”
Ikem checked his time. He needed to get back to work. “Okay.” He stood up and offered his hand to Donald for a handshake. “Thanks for having my back guy.”
Donald clasped his hand firmly. “Anytime, anytime.” he said as he pumped enthusiastically.
“I’ll see you around.”
“Sure. Are we still on for the game tomorrow night?”
“I’ll let you know.” Ikem said and walked out.
Donald watched him go with a wicked gleam in his eyes. Your girl is the most faithful in the world, eh? We’ll see how both of you handles this now. We’ll see, he laughed gleefully.
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