Sunday saw Jide and Patricia Babalola drive off to church in matching attires, inspiring jealousy in their closest neighbours and other churchgoers, the very picture of a happy and devoted couple. Patricia clapped vigorously and danced to the offering basket more than a few times, beautiful face wreathed in smiles, while Jide was more restrained butno less visibly happy, hi swell-starched agbada proudly creating a balanced counterpoint to his wife’s gently cascadinggown as it skirted past her ample hips, cinched by a length of glittering aso-oke. Many people shook their head in admiration at what seemed like a well-matched couple and prayed for the type of happiness the Babalolas seemed to have.But the thoughts going through Jide Babalola’s mind were far removed from the pretentious smiles on his face. He was agonising over feelings of guilt at being distracted from the sermon of the pastor on the pulpit and the depth of his betrayal to his wife.Not only was Jide regularly jolted back to reality whenever the pastor hit a crescendoin his preaching, from heated daydreams in which Anita Bankole and her luscious body was played a star role, he was also plagued by thoughts of what could still happen if he let his hormones guide him further down the rocky path he was on. Just when he had begun to find some modicum of peace and move along from his near-betrayal of his wife, he had managed to saddle himself into something even worse.That evening, he was supposed to meet Anita at an out-of-way relaxation spot for what she called a ‘frank discussion’.His mind wandered again as he remembered the discussion that had ensued when Anita had finally cornered him at the lobby of his office floor. He hadbeen relieved that other colleagues had occupied the elevator with them on their way down to the ground floor, so Anita had kept her hands to herself, but the moment they both walked out of the officebuilding and reached where his car was parked, she had become her usual coquettish self, pouting and deliberately rubbing her body against his. “Really, Anita, you have to stop this.” He gritted as he gently held her back from himso he could unlock his car door. “You may not be concerned by the fact that I’m married, but I am not interested in having rumours reach my wife’s ears.”
Anita pouted and leaned against his car, her fake nails tapping on the roof. “What rumours? Like you’ve done anything?” she rolled her eyes and pinned him with an injured look. “Which is the real problem here.” Jide swallowed as he remembered how close he had come to actually going beyond heavy petting with her and stepped away from her, looking round to make sure they were not being watched. “It’s better that way, trust me.” Anita would not be dissuaded. “I know what you’re scared of. That I may start harassing your wife or insist you leave her.seriously, Jide, who has time for that? definitely not me.” she moved closer to him and ran a long nail down his chest. “I have no plans to destroy your precious marriage. I’m just looking for a friend.”“A friend with benefits, right?” Jide retorted.Anita threw her head back and laughed, striking a deliberately sexy pose which Jide had to struggle to tear his eyes away from. “You know every na.” Jide sighed and slid behind his steering wheel.
“Sorry, Anita. I love my wife and I can’t give you what you want.” Anita held the door and leaned close to him. “That’s the point, Jide. I don’t want you to give me anything. I’ll do the giving.” She ran a hand over his chin and the scentof her perfume on her fingers made him catch his breath. “Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t want me…” Jide jerked his head away and closed the car door abruptly, causing Anita to jump back with a small laugh. He refused to look at her, knowing he could not in all honesty, tell her those exact words. “Okay. Fine. Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way, Jide. Give me a chance to explain why I’m doing this.” Anita pleaded.Jide felt his resolve weaken at the look on her face. “Just one last chance to state mycase and I’ll let you be. Just promise me this. Please.”“Fine.” Jide acquiesced gruffly, pulling his seat belt over his chest. “When and where? When she named the place, Jide’s heart leaped. It was a remote place, popular amongst lovers who wanted to be discreet and unobserved. He looked into Anita’s face and knew going to meet her there was a mistake waiting to be made.Yet when he responded, it wasn’t his brain being logical. It was pure hormones and he knew it was a bad idea before the words left his lips. “Fine. I’ll be there.” The pastor let out another loud exclamation, and Jide’s thoughts were abruptly brought back to the present. Beside him, Patricia’s face was serene andintent as she clung to every word issuing from the pastor’s mouth.If only she even looked at me the way she looks at this pastor, I could be more steadfast in my love for her, Jide thought bitterly.But deep in his heart he knew the only one to blame for his wandering eye was him. Patricia was just a convenient reason to excuse his recent proclivities.Feeling guilty, he stretched out a hand andgripped his wife’s own, but all he got in response was a questioning look and plastic smile before she gently pulled away. Jide turned to see if anyone else had noticed and returned to his thoughts, sad that such a simple gesture could not even dredge up any affection from his wife.According to the tenets of a society always eager to absolve the cheating adultmale of blame, Patricia Babalola might as well have just drawn back her foot and kicked her husband right into the waiting arms of his would-be mistress.
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