It was on a Wednesday. The harmattan had started bringing dust laden winds from the Sahara. It was still late November, but December was being perceived from afar.
Nneoma couldn’t move from her bed, her entire body was heavy and painful. When she dialled Akwang’s number and called him to help take her to the hospital, Akwang knew the pain must have been horrendous. “So sorry, just take it easy, rise gently,” he said gently to her as he tried to take her off the bed. She cried out when she sat up.
He carried her in his arms and walked hastily to the car. He placed her in the back car seat, rushed to the front and drove off immediately.
“Which hospital do you have your HMO?” he asked.
“Where is that?” he asked hurriedly.
“By Bankilor Avenue,” she said. He reversed and drove speedily into another street.
Nneoma could see how much he wanted to save her from the pains. She felt loved. Jackson would have told her to be strong, that strong women don’t fall sick. She wondered again what else attracted her to Jackson aside his money.
As soon as Akwang reached the hospital, he took her in his arms and rushed her to the emergency unit.
The nurses surrounded Nneoma, and after she was taken to her ward and attended to, the doctor called him into the ward where she was lying.
The female doctor turned to him and said, “Are you her husband?”
Akwang shook his head.
“He is my friend doctor, tell us whatever it is you have to say here.”
“If you’re fine by it, no problem,” the doctor said nodding. “You’re pregnant. Six weeks pregnant,” she added.
Nneoma covered mouth in surprise.
“What? I’m pregnant?” she touched her belly excitedly. The doctor smiled and nodded, “Congratulations ma, the nurses will bring your routine drugs to you as soon as possible.”
Akwang drove her home after she was discharged.
“Do you think the pregnancy is mine?” he asked gently.
“Of course! I haven’t made love to Jackson for months now. You and I know that you own this baby. But I promise you, it’s not gonna bring a problem to your marriage.”
“So, you’re going to give my baby to another man?” he asked.
“No. Please let’s not talk about this. I beg of you my love. Let’s not. When I get home, I’m going to call Jackson and tell him of this. Of course he won’t ever ask me who the father of the baby is, so,” she shrugged, “I am not gonna be a liar to anyone, except I am asked.”
“Please, he shouldn’t ever ask,” Akwang muttered.
They decided they would drive to an Italian restaurant first to have dinner before they go home. After dinner, Nneoma refused white wine for the first time. She wanted juice, and when she was offered a glass of strawberry and pear juice, she gulped it down immediately. He made love gently to her in the car, and as soon as they got home, he took her to her bathroom, watched her pour water on her body, and after that, he covered her with a quilt and kissed her goodnight. As soon as he left, she called Editi and said to her excitedly, “I’m pregnant!”
Editi screamed. “Thank you lord, thank you!”
“Jehovah has done it for me Edy.”
“Oh yes, I’m so happy for you. Have you told Jackson yet?” Editi asked.
“Not yet. I will,” her voice became calm.
“Aw! I’m so happy for you, I can imagine how happy he would be when he hears of this good news. I can’t wait to come back so that I can make you good meals,” Editi said delightfully.
The women talked over the phone for a while and then Editi said, “I have to go now, my husband is ringing me on a video call, he wants to see his son,” she said.
Nneoma’s ‘okay’ was dull. She hung up and slept off.
The next morning, she called Jackson and broke the pregnancy news to him.
“Oh Jehovah! Thank you Jehovah? You really have to go to the Kingdom Hall and tell a preacher to lay hands on your belly and pray over the safety of our baby,” he said excitedly.
‘Our baby’. It sounded weird in Jackson’s mouth. He can’t even impregnate a rat if given a chance, she thought.
The days passed into weeks and then December came.
One evening, she saw a woman mopping the veranda of Akwang and Editi’s house. She’d seen the same woman a month ago at Nathan’s naming ceremony. She wondered who she was.
“Good evening ma,” she greeted.
“Evening my dear,” the woman replied. Then Annie appeared with a broom.
“Good evening,” Annie greeted.
“Ah! Since I came to this compound, this is the first time I am seeing someone. Is it not people that live in the other houses?” the woman–Editi and Annie’s mother– asked.
“Mommy, those people are workers, they leave in the morning and come back late at night,” Nneoma said, as soon as she realized the woman was Editi’s mother.
“My daughter and my grandson are coming back today from America,” she said proudly.
“You’re Editi’s sister?” Nneoma asked Annie. Annie nodded with a casual smile.
Next Chapter: |Chapter 22|
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6||Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12||Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18||Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24||Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28|