Jaiye woke up the following morning, very prepared for whatever was coming to her, but when she noticed that her daughter decided to remain in her room all morning, she knew the battle won’t begin until after Chief leaves for work. So she relaxed and carried on with her daily routine as if nothing had happened. She had been so sure Yemi would bring the matter before her dad. She was glad to see it was still between them. She was now convinced that he was unaware of the episode. There was nothing in his behavior or attitude to suggest otherwise.
Two hours after watching his wife pretend as if all was well, Chief Ani decided he could take no more of it. He reached his phone and placed a call to Johnbull, his Personal Assistant, Driver and Bodyguard.
“Hello Sir,” he heard his clear voice.
“Yes, take the car and get in touch with Max. Bring him to the office, I have a job for him and wait for me there. I will find my way there myself.”
“Yes Sir,” Johnbull replied before the line went dead.
Chief Ani got on his feet and went to the room. He had his bath and got dressed. In less than an hour he was through and he came to the living room where Jaiye sat relaxed.
“Are you going to the office so early?” She asked in surprise upon seeing him dressed for work.
“Oh, sorry I didn’t mention that I have an early morning appointment today?” He replied without a trace of the anger he felt.
Jaiye wasn’t convinced. Her mind instantly sounded an alarm. For the past fifteen years she has not seen him leave the house anytime earlier that 10am and to hear him talk about an early appointment gave her great cause to be alarmed. She brazed herself to smile at him as he bade her good bye, deciding to confirm the appointment. But she was practically shocked when she looked from the window and found Kamil behind the steering. Her heart lept violently. She was now very convinced all was not well as she hurried towards them.
“Chief!” she called out as he entered the car.
“Yes dear?” He said, pausing.
“You didn’t tell me you are going with my Manager.” She said breathlessly.
“Oh, forgive me my dear, didn’t know you’d notice his absence. I only want him to take me to the office. I sent Johnbull on an errand. I won’t keep him please.”
“Alright, if you say so but I have an appointment too and I want him to be there. Let me not delay you, just make sure you don’t keep him.” She said.
“I won’t keep him darling, thanks” he said and got into the car.
As Jaiye retraced her steps back to the house, she had no single conviction that he was telling her the truth. Again, she experienced fear and she knew she must act very fast. Kamil could be in danger and she mustn’t seat back and allow Chief to harm him. Perhaps Yemi had gone ahead to tell him everything last night and he had only been pretending. She rushed to their room and shut the door behind her. She dialed a number. The call was to Bukky, her husband’s Confidential Secretary.
“Hello Bukky, how are you?” She said quickly.
“Hello good morning ma’am. I am fine thank you.” Bukky replied, surprised to receive a call from her so early in the morning.
“Good. Chief is right now on his way to the office. He said something about an early appointment. Are you aware of that?”
“None that I can remember, perhaps he made the appointment after he left the office yesterday.”
“Alright. He is with my Manager and we have an appointment to keep this morning too. Please make sure Chief doesn’t keep him for too long.”
“That’s alright ma’am.”
“Do let me know too if he’d need him longer than thirty minutes, okay.”
“Okay, I will keep you posted.”
Most women are often very jealous of their husbands’ secretaries, especially when the secretary is as delectable as Bukky. They rarely speak with them, let alone being friendly. But Jaiye was clearly not in the category of most women. She was way ahead. She was on very friendly terms with her husband’s beautiful secretary. She was even aware of their secret love affair and she allowed it. She encouraged her too to feel free and share her husband with her. A gesture that made Bukky to automatically become her puppet. Ever since she made up her mind to leave her husband, she has felt the need to know everything about his assets and Bukky readily supplied her with this information. And she left nothing out. In her plan, Bukky was very vital. She would help her milk him dry. And then help her kill him and also take the fall. But sometimes, when her mind was human enough and she felt she could never come up with enough courage to kill him, she would tell herself that Bukky will be present to nurse his broken heart when she eventually left him. Either way, she was very important, so she looked the other way too, letting him to believe he had his tracks well covered.
The secret that she was aware of their relationship was between her and Bukky. But Bukky was unaware that she was just a pawn in Jaiye’s hand. Jaiye made her promise never to tell Chief that she was aware of their relationship. And Bukky, desperate to please her, obliged. In her unsuspecting mind, Jaiye was the big sister she never had.
Bukky has been very helpful and useful. She has supplied every information Jaiye has requested for without asking questions. The only thing she has not supplied her was a copy of his Will and Testament and the reason was because Jaiye herself has not asked her for it. But she kept a copy handy, should Jaiye ask for it.
Jaiye was taking her time to ask for ii. She was aware that it was in her favour. She knew that there was no going back the moment she made such a request, so she told herself she must first be ready. She knew too that Bukky would suspect her motive and she wanted a strong enough evidence to blackmail her to keep it secret. She was yet to find one.
Last night, as she walked back to the house from Kamil’s room, she decided it was time she made the request. She was also set to be rid of her husband. And had Chief not taken Kamil with him, their telephone conversation that morning would have been a different one. She would have made the request and sounded her blackmail. But Kamil’s safety was now of paramount priority to her.
Several minutes after the call from Jaiye, Bukky watched from her office window as Jaiye’s personal car drove into the office complex. Kamil was behind the wheel as she had been told. She continued to watch them as they both alighted from the car. Kamil carried Chief’s brief case and led the way. Chief followed suit, not giving any sign of anger. They got to the building and office and he muttered a good morning in response to hers without pausing and headed straight into his opulent office with Kamil still clutching his brief case. Bukky went after them with some files.
Kamil laid the case on Chief’s massive table and withdrew.
“Can I go back now Sir?” he asked carefully.
“No, there is something else I want you to do for me. Sit down” Chief replied without looking at him.
“Sir?” Kamil asked in both shock and fear. No employee ever sits in Chief’s office. None has ever received the invitation and getting it now, the very morning after a night of such horrors, was something that stirred sudden premonitory awareness within him.
“I said sit down!” Chief half yelled.
He sat down without any further argument or hesitation. He saw the anger in Chief’s eyes and he knew at once that he was doomed. He secretly wished Jaiye was present in the big office. He wouldn’t have been half as confused and scared and lost as he felt as he looked furtively at everywhere else but at Chief.
Bukky watched the happenings without giving the slightest hint of doing so. She would report everything to Jaiye as soon as she was safely outside Chief’s earshot. She wondered what has happened.
Something was definitely wrong. She could tell that. She doubles as Chief’s Confidential Secretary and mistress and she has hardly ever received a direction invitation to sit before him inside his office. She could not recollect any junior staff being inside the office let alone sitting on one of Chief’s expensive leather chairs. Surprised as she felt, she controlled herself and carefully laid the papers that required his attention on the table in front of him and withdrew. She wished she could remain in the room a little longer and get more information for Jaiye but Chief waved her away and she left the room sadly, leaving Kamil to his fate.
She got to her desk and retrieved her phone from her drawer. She called Jaiye and related the development to her in hushed voice.
“Thanks, let me know when he leaves Chief’s office” Jaiye said
“Yes, I will do that.” She replied and hung up.
Ever since she discovered Jaiye was aware of her illicit affair with her husband, she became her slave. She did everything she asked her to do, even the unthinkable. Like telling her exactly how much her husband was worth and every other secret a Confidential Secretary should keep close guided. She let it all out in exchange for her permission to let her share her husband. And while Jaiye secretly wondered why Bukky would go to such extents just to keep an affair with a man who was almost useless in bed, Bukky on her part wondered why Jaiye was so generous with her husband. But Jaiye would remind herself of the fact that though he was useless in bed, he was also a very wealthy man and Bukky would remind herself too that Jaiye could afford such generosity because she has a number of other avenues to get her satisfaction.
But had Jaiye known that her husband didn’t suffer the same fate in Bukky’s arms and bed, she would have realized she was the cause of his weakness and not his disease. She would have known that the threatening impotency was the result of his state of mind and not his state of health; perhaps, she would have done something about it. But she was not to know this.
Like they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. To Bukky, Chief Ani was the perfect man for her. He was the epitome of her ideal man and even though he wasn’t very active in bed, well, anymore, he was still her perfect lover because she wasn’t very active either.
Theirs was a perfect match. She knew what he needed and wanted and she gave them to him without hurting his pride. She understood him. She has been a victim too, not once or twice. She has been maltreated too because she was no longer able to perform her God given duties. She didn’t care about sex. She derived more joy from having his head on her lap in the comfort of her bedroom while they talked for long hours. She would pull out the gray hair on his head and then massage his whole body until he fell asleep. She would watch him sleep in peaceful rest, for she was aware that it was only in her hands he truly found peace. Even though he always tried to hide the state of his marriage from her, she knew he was unhappy. She knew about Jaiye’s escapades and she truly wanted him to be happy. He has been good to her. He was the only man who has treated her like the nice lady she was and she loved and appreciated him for that. She wanted nothing more from him, not even his money, contrary to Jaiye’s belief. And not even his heart too, for she knew his heart belonged to Jaiye and Jaiye alone. She was grateful to have the limit he allowed. And she loved him unconditionally.
She had clocked forty years when she started dating him. After three unsuccessful attempts at marriage, she gave herself the good advice to quit trying. It was pointless since the only thing she could offer a husband was an undying love and it wasn’t not enough.
At the age of sixteen, after her secondary education, she’d allowed herself to be convinced by her equally young neighbor to have sex. Six weeks later, she discovered the result of their secret deed was a growing fetus in her womb. Both very scared of the consequences, they’d agreed to terminate the pregnancy. And after a secret enquiry, they found a doctor who could help them. But as fate would have it, the doctor was not in the mood for such a task on that fateful day. His wife had left him for good the previous day and he had no choice but to let the effect of alcohol pacify his broken heart. He was completely zonked as he listened to the duo narrate their predicament to him, half hearing. When they had finished, he told them plainly that he could not help them that day because he was grieving. He told them to come back after a week and he would then solve their problem. Bukky knew she couldn’t return home with her problem or wait another week. She wasn’t sure she would have another opportunity to sneak out of the house either and her mother was already looking at her with suspicious eyes. So she fell on her kneels and begged him. The doctor, suddenly in a mood to render his help, forgot completely the fact that he was nursing the pains of heart break himself. He didn’t realize too that he was too drunk. He decided to help them, at least, so they would leave him to his grief. It was too late when he realized his heart and hands lacked the surgical precision required for such an operation and he could only watch with regret the damages of his uncontrollable hands as they perforated her womb.
It was a miracle that she survived but she lost the one thing she needed most to be a wife. She was now without a womb and in this part of the globe, this was very bad news to a would-be husband or in-laws. And when she couldn’t find a man to marry a wombless woman like her, she gave up the hope of marriage. She accepted her fate gracefully, blaming no one. Life goes on!
Ever since she discovered the truth about his marriage, she has nursed a secret affection towards him. She felt sorry for him. She knew he was unhappy even though he did everything to make everyone think he had a perfect home. She saw beyond the facade and discovered that deep down in his heart, he was an unhappy man. How could she not see it clearly, when she herself has suffered the same fate too. They were both not loved in return by their spouse because of their disabilities. This fact endeared him more and more to her. She wanted to make him happy, to give him the warmth and love he could never get from his treacherous wife. She nursed this desire for years.
By a stroke of a long awaited fate, he paid her a compliment one day and a week later, when she accompanied him to a meeting in Germany, she worked her way into his bed. And she has managed to remain invited to share some intimate moments with him from time to time. She gave him true love. At least, they both have something in common. They were both without value to the people they love.
Chief Ani never wanted the affair to last longer than their stay in Germany but he always had a reason to be with her again and again. He found profound peace with her but he didn’t want to acknowledge it. There was no doubt about his love for his wife. No other woman could beat that and so with great regret, he watched Bukky give him her best, knowing he could never do more than he was already doing. He could never make their relationship more than spending time with her only when it was convenient for him. With Jaiye alive, he could never dream of openly having an affair with any other woman. So he kept it a close guarded secret. Had he known that Jaiye was aware of his secret affair, he would have ended it a long time ago. He would have repented and even fired her. And had Bukky been half as smart as Jaiye, she would have since fulfilled her heart’s desire and become Mrs. Ani the second. Or the only Mrs Ani, deposing Jaiye. Fortunately for all of them, she wasn’t desperate or greedy.
She has long suspected Jaiye was having an affair with Kamil but her timid mind refused to let the idea go beyond mere suspicion. It wasn’t her business. She didn’t want to pry into Jaiye affairs, after all she was magnanimous enough to let her share her husband with her, why would she betray her after such a privilege?
As she sat on her chair, her ears directed towards Chief’s office, ready to pick up every word between Chief and Kamil, she couldn’t help but wonder what had happened. She had a remote feeling that they might have been discovered by Chief at last. She secretly wished it wasn’t so.
The door to her office opened suddenly and Johnbull walked in, accompanied by three strange looking men. She sat up, startled out of her engagement. She looked at them with an uncertain gaze.
“Good morning.” Johnbull greeted gaily. He had very high regards for her because she took good care of the boss. He was the only other person that knew of the affair and Chief trusted him to keep it secret.
“Good morning JB and how was your night” she replied.
“Fine thanks. Is Chief alone?”
“No. He is with Kamil. Perhaps you should go in and see him. Who are these people?”
“Chief wants them. He asked me to get them.” said and winked at her. He has wondered what Chief wanted the death squad for, he was now pretty sure. He has longed for Chief to take this action a long time ago. He hated Kamil with all his being.
“Let’s go” he told the flock, smiling. He made a single knock on the door and went in.
Bukky watched them. She was a hundred percent convinced now that Kamil was in trouble. She took her phone and narrated the recent development to Jaiye before moving to the door to eaves drop at their conversation.
“I am going to make this unfortunate incidence easy for everyone.” She heard Chief saying. “I have known that you have been secretly sleeping with my wife. I didn’t do anything about it because I was desperate to please her. Now I no longer feel that way because you have messed it all up. To have you sleep with my wife and my daughter too is something I will not allow. So, I am giving you a chance to save your head while you still can. I want you to leave this state without a possibility of ever coming back. Do you undertand me so far?”
“Yes Sir!” Kamil said quickly. He could not protest. He could not bring himself to defend himself either. He sat still while he listened to his fate.
“Do you have your cell phone with you?”
“Yes Sir.” He replied, shifting uncontrollably on his seat. His phone has been ringing non-stop for a while now, and he was sure it was either Jaiye or Yemi or both of them. He had been glad the phone was on the silent mode but now he feared that Chief would go through it.
“Good, you will make a call to any member of your immediate family. Tell him or her that you have to leave the country urgently and you may be away for a long time. I hope you know why you have to make this call?”
“Yes Sir.” he answered without giving the question a single thought. He was glad he wasn’t going to seize his phone.
“Are you sure you know why?” Chief asked calmly.
“Yes Sir, so that my family will know I no longer live in your house.” He explained.
“Good.” Chief said. “Go ahead and make the call.” He added, thinking how stupid and naïve he was.
Kamil brought out his cell phone from his pocket. His hands shook so violently that it was almost impossible for him to dial the number.
“Relax, you have no need to be under so much pressure. You need to speak calmly so you won’t make them feel you are in some trouble.” Chief Ani advised mirthlessly, sick of the sight of him.
Kamil called his father. He managed to speak in a convincing voice that conveyed no trace of the fear within him.
“Why such a hurry? You should come over to the house and see us before you leave.” He heard his father say and because he knew why he wanted him to come, he felt a sudden feeling of anger.
“I can’t, I am on my way to the airport already!” He replied impatiently.
“You shouldn’t have left without giving us some money for our up keep. You know the way things are here.” The old man said grudgingly. Kamil wanted to scream at his father. He would have given anything to ask if that was all he cared about but he couldn’t. Chief Ani’s glaring eyes suppressed his anger.
“I will send you some money as soon as I settle down.” He said angrily instead and without giving his gullible father the chance to protest further, he cut the line.
Chief stretched out his hand towards Kamil and he dropped the phone into his open palm without any hesitation.
“Johnbull and these gentlemen will escort you to the Seme border. You will have only thirty minutes to cross the border and if any one of these gentlemen should as much as see your face again on this soil, they have my mandate to shoot you to death and come for a reward. Am I clear?”
“Yes Sir.” he managed to say. There was nothing gentle about the men, he thought. Even Johnbull looked different to his eyes. He was sure there was something about his demeanour that made him feel Chief Ani was lying and he was in real trouble. He would have willingly disappeared without having to be escorted. But he had no choice in the matter.
“Good. I am a generous man and I am benevolent enough to give you a sum of money to start life again.” Chief said as he opened his brief case. He brought out a fat envelop. “Here,” he said. “This is five hundred thousand naira. It is your pay off package. If you ever step your feet on this state again, you will die, understood?” He added in a voice that clearly conveyed his message.
“We have a deal then. You are never to contact my wife or daughter ever again.”
“Good, take the money.” Chief said, flinging the envelop across the table at him.
Kamil grabbed the envelope with both hands, even though they shook violently. He needed it desperately. He clung the envelop onto his bosom, assuring himself he would rather die than lose it.
“Gentlemen, he is now your problem.” Chief announced to the men. “I want him outside this territory.”
“On your feet!” One of the men commanded, they have all been itching for some action. Kamil got unsteadily on his feet. From that moment, they doled out the commands while he obeyed without complaining, too glad to be out of Chief’s presence.
“Johnbull, give me a moment.” Chief said.
“Yes Sir” he said.
“Make sure they do a clean job. The money is their pay. I want to receive the news of his death when I see you later. Okay?”
“Okay Sir, consider it done.”
“Call me on my mobile phone as soon as you are done and I will tell you where to find me. I will be out of the office and I don’t hope to be back today or anytime soon. I am going to have a repose. Good luck to you.”
“Thank you Sir,” he replied and left.
Bukky waited for Johnbull to head out too before placing the call to Jaiye. She narrated the new development to her.
“Thank you very much.” Jaiye replied plainly before she hung up.
Jaiye has learned over the years never to be taken unaware. The moment Bukky reported to her that Chief was keeping Kamil, she had sprung into action. Almost at the same time as the men, she pulled her car to a halt somewhere near the office gates and waited. She was still waiting inside one of her cars when Bukky reported the men’s arrival to her. She was already trailing the car when Bukky told her they were taking Kamil away. She was glad she took the cue and came to the office. She had no doubt now that her husband knew everything and was about to kill him. She would follow them and try to stop them. She was even prepared to call the police and give her husband away. As she tagged along behind them, she was suddenly without scruples. She couldn’t allow them to kill him.
Twenty minutes later, Chief Ani came out from his office. He stood before Bukky and watched her for a long moment. He was surprised to feel his heart relaxing as he watched her. For the first time he felt differently, he saw her differently and he wondered why it took him so long to see her the way she truly was.
“Can I help you Sir?” Bukky said, blushing. They both always behaved formally in the office, to see him look at her with such open affection embarrassed her.
“Yes, you can help me my darling, lock up, we are going to your apartment. I want to spend the rest of the day in your arms.” He said, watching her closely.
“Is something wrong?” She asked in bewilderment.
“Oh no my dear, we are going to make plans for our future. I have been a fool to have neglected you for so long. Come on, I will wait in the car for you.” He said and walked away.
“Oh my God!” She exclaimed as realization hit her. She rushed into his office and switched off the gadgets. She did the same in her office and grabbing her handbag, she rushed out of the room. She locked the door quickly and hurried after him. She did not give the idea of relating the last development to Jaiye a single thought. She has been a fool herself too, she thought instead.