‘Ades, so what happened? Where did you go?’ asked Charles, his voice, gentle. She met him relaxed on the bed, flipping through one of his car magazines. His question hit her her before the door shut. Adesua was not too deceived; Charles was one of those people whose voices were really soft. She had only heard him shout a couple of times and even she knew she was the one who had pushed him to the wall on all those occasions. These were occasions that Adesua would rather forget.
‘I went to visit my friend’ she responded casually, as she moved to sit on the bed, by his side. She was confident about this lie because she already had her answers worked out
‘Yeah, you said that before. Which of your friends did you visit and why was it an emergency? How come you did not go with the driver?’ he fired at her, his tone hardening up.
‘Kemi Morrison’ she said ‘You know the Morrisons now.’ she repeated when his face was still bland, showing no recognition of the friend that she had mentioned.
‘Why couldn’t you wait for the driver to take you to see Kemi?’ he asked, persistent on his line of questioning. It seemed as though nothing was going to distract him
‘Oh I had sent him out before she called’ she answered lightly, as though her heart was not pounding.
‘And it was a matter of life and death?’ he asked again, getting out of bed, slowly
‘Well, she wanted me to buy some gold and the lady was to leave soon’ she responded. Charles always loved it when his wife looked like a million dollars and would often ask her to buy high end accessories so that she could show the world how well he took care of her.
‘Ah I see’ he said as he walked into the adjoining restroom.
‘Do you know Kunle?’ he asked as he came out, suddenly changing the topic, holding the trousers that he had earlier discarded.
‘Which Kunle?’ she answered, wondering why he was holding his trousers
‘Haba, Kemi’s husband now’ he reminded her
‘Yeah of course’ she said, as her heart beat faster. What could he be up to?
‘I saw him in Abuja last week’ he began, as he drew the thick leather belt from his trousers ‘and he said that Kemi had gone away to the UK to have their third child. So, which Kemi Morrison did you go and see, Adesua?’ he asked, just as the first lash of the belt hit her unexpectedly.
Adesua felt the sting and heat the millisecond the belt hit her across her upper arm and back and she jumped up to try to run, but Charles was faster than her.
‘Do you think you can embarrass me in this town?’ he asked as he rained lash upon lash on her. ‘I refuse to be married to a LovePeddler Adesua’ he ssaid through tight lips as more lashes were rained down on her. She yelped and cried out, trying to dodge the sneaky lashes that got her all over her body. It stung so bad
Adesua ran to a corner where she crouched and cowered in fear whilst she also attempted to save her face from the belt, but the lashes continued.
‘I did not pick you out of the gutter for this!’ He said as more painful lashes rained down on her, she could feel the welts rising on her body but it did not worry her, it was the pain she worried about the most. What had started as a sting had grown into a united throb of pain, all over her body. All her nerve ends were screaming in unison. She hoped that he would stop, but she was powerless to make him do so. She had learnt her lesson the last time she had attempted to stop him.
‘No children’ more lashes, continued Charles, whose eyes were red from anger
‘Yet, you are busy whoring about’ he continued ‘Your mates are spewing kids out every year, yet, you are here wasting my time’ he said through his gritted teeth
‘I will not take this!’ he said, as he suddenly stopped and threw the heavy belt at her before he turned and walked back to the bed where he sat, facing the window and breathing heavily.
Adesua remained crouched in the corner, groaning from her pain, crying wrenching sobs as she rubbed her self all over. It was so painful. She had never been beaten like this, even her dad had never beaten her like this in all her life. What had she done to deserve such a man? What crime had she committed?
‘God, where is your face?’ she cried out, in deep agony, not caring that Charles could hear her.
‘What have I done to deserve being married to this devil?’ she yelled out, angry in her soul
‘I have fasted, I have prayed, I have begged you, but you are silent. You allow this evil man to treat me like this’ she continued while Charles ignored her
‘Charles, thank you but I too, cannot take this anymore.’ she said as she sat in the corner, wailing at the years of waste with this man. She had always prayed and hoped that he would change but he refused to.
Charles lay back and picked his magazine, flipping throughout the pages fast while his wife sat on the floor, sobbing.
‘Won’t you get up out of there? Are you going to continue with this noise all night?’ he asked, coldly, after Adesua had been crying for about fifteen minutes.
‘Leave me Charles. If there is a God, he will judge you.’ she said
‘But you know you annoyed me’ he said ‘Why do you always do the things I hate?’ he asked, getting up to walk over to her.
‘What did I do wrong?’ she broke out on a sob
‘You left the house, you lied about where you went to, how do I know that this isn’t what you do every day or that you went to meet with a man?’ he asked as he moved closer to her
‘Does that merit this treatment, Charles? You called me a gutter girl, have you forgotten everything I did for you? How we started? How I swindled my dad and got money to send you for your schooling abroad. It was the heartbreak of the loss of that money that led to the stroke that paralysed him! she started ‘You call me childless, but are you ever home? Have you followed me to the hospital for diagnosis? Why would you think I went to meet a man? Do you think I have no self-respect? she asked in a rush, her voice getting louder as her sobs got deeper.
‘I know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But you get me so mad, I cannot think of my wife with another!’ he said as he knelt by her side, holding her hands. Adesua tried to extricate her hands from his, but he did not let go
‘Ades, I looked forward to getting home and meeting you. You cannot imagine how dashed those hopes were when I got home to a locked house’ he said, trying to explain his side of the story, now remorseful.
‘You didn’t say you were coming back. You did not even pick my calls’ she pointed out
‘Our home is not a hotel. It must run all the time. I will not call to ask if it is okay to come to my own home!’ he said, his voice hardening. ‘I’m sorry that I got so angry, or that I hit you. I swear, it hurts when I see you like this. Let’s make this thing work. Please, please’ he said as he drew her up and walked with her to the bed where he helped her lay down.
‘Charles, you really hurt me’ she said, with tears welling up in her eyes.
‘I’m sorry’ he responded, simply.
‘Rest’ he said as he cuddled her
‘Charles, please get the my oil from the other room, I don’t want these welts to show tomorrow’ she said.
As soon as he returned, he helped her out of her clothes and slathered the oil generously over her body. The soothing action relaxed her and aroused him.
As he commenced foreplay, Adesua found herself wondering how they got here and she decided not to overthink it ‘After all, God works in mysterious ways and he often makes things worse before he makes them better’ she closed her eyes in bliss and yielded to the s£nsat!ons Charles was creating with his tongue.
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