A melanin-enriched arm with a fine coating of hair stretching from wrist to shoulder lay still partly on the ivory-coloured silken bed sheets and partly over her clothed abdomen. Heavy snores escaped the mouth of the man who owned the hand resonated in the large bedroom with its luxurious furnishings.
Beside him, she lay, her coffee-brown eyes staring up at the ceiling. She was enjoying the cool after-rain breeze that was gently swirling into the room through the partially opened windows. Thick, black, curly hair with dyed red streaks plaited back into two chunky lines was cradled by the pillow, and her body was encased in a deep-blue, short boubou dress. Her legs were sprawled over the covers, haphazardly positioned because of her failed attempt to slip out from her husband’s embrace without waking him like she did at the blink of dawn when she left the bed to take her morning bath. She’d returned to the bed after her bath, and Jibril had stretched, subsequently stapling her to the bed with his hand. She angled her head to look at him, and then her eyes had slid to her own hand, and the pear-shaped sapphire ring that still felt heavy and uncomfortable on her ring finger, below her wedding band.
Jibril murmured something in his sleep and his arm tightened a bit around her. Wura exhaled, a frustrated sigh, as Jibril’s morning smells wafted to her nose. He smelled of the morning aftermath, sweat, fading cologne, stale laundry soap and a bit of saliva from the drool that had slipped from his mouth to the pillow. Wura turned her head away from him and expelled another breath, this one tinged with some antagonism. Most of her mornings were just like this one – where she woke up beside her husband feeling sore, frustrated, suicidal, and enduring. Some other mornings were good, those ones where they woke up in different beds.
In her twenties and just wedded six months ago, Wura hadn’t thought twice when her mother joked about marrying the already-married Jibril Adekoya-Williams; that had startled her family, her instant acquiescence to the notion of being part of a polygamous family. Her mother especially hadn’t been able to wrap her mind around the fact that the daughter she’d brought up to be modern would agree to wed a man who not only had a wife but was also ten years her senior.
“Wuraola Stevens, are you sure this is what you want?” her mother had said gravely to her when the wealthy Jibril Adekoya-Williams began courting her. “You don’t have to do this, you know? There’s no pressure from us for you to get married.”
“Don’t worry, mum,” Wura had replied. “This is exactly what I want.” The conviction in her voice had silenced any further reserve from her mother.
Wura wasn’t bothered about the polygamy. There was only so much of her husband she could stand, and she was relieved some other wife would share Jibril’s attention with her. Six months into her marriage, and she was already plotting for him to marry another woman in a short while. It was very convenient really; for everyone who wanted her to settle down, this was the best way to shut them down and shut them out.
Jibril’s first marriage to Wura’s co-wife, Ndidi, was childless. He’d been married to Ndidi for four years and loved her very much. It’d been at Ndidi’s persuasion that he’d had to seek another wife instead of keep waiting for her to bear him children. Ndidi had even steered his interest in the direction of the Stevens family and their nubile young daughter, Wura. In his mid-thirties, tall, broad-shouldered with a beard face and kind eyes, Jibril had swept Wura off her feet – or so everyone had believed – and their wedding at the end of a three-month courtship had been a splashy event. Everyone thought Wura was lucky; Jibril was the man of many a woman’s dream. Wura respected him, perhaps even loved him in her own way of course, well enough to share the same bed with him and not scratch his eyes out on the nights when he made absurd sexual requests of her. The man may be mild-mannered to the world, but in the privacy of their bedroom, he was a kinky lover. That was the only problem Wura had of her new home; for a polygamous family, they lived a normal, contented life, unlike what the Nollywood movies would like their viewers to believe about family units such as theirs. There was no cattiness or malicious competition between the wives, and their husband cared for and provided for both of them equally.
Just then, Jibril gave one more snort in his sleep and slowly began to awaken. He blinked his bleary gaze at Wura and murmured something unintelligible.
“Huh?” Wura said with lifted brows in inquiry.
“I said good morning, wife,” he said in a clearer tone, before his speech was winnowed off with a yawn. He began yawning while he pulled away from Wura to sit up.
Wura rolled away from him, glad to be rid of his cocktail of smells. She sat up on her side of the bed and turned to watch him arch his back as he stretched.
“Did you sleep well?” she asks in a flat voice.
“I did.” He turned a leering smile to her. “Let’s shower together.”
The man always forgot the part where he was supposed to ask, Wura thought irritably, before saying, “I already had my bath.”
“When?” His gaze flicked over her boubou-clad body.
“Early this morning… You were deeply asleep and I’d just woken up and couldn’t go back to sleep.”
“Oh well…” He shrugged. “I have a trip to prepare for anyway.”
Wura was aware of that, and she was anticipating his absence from the house. Jibril would be leaving this morning for Dakar on a three-day business trip. And Wura couldn’t imagine a happier time than now, knowing she’d have so much uninterrupted space.
Jibril got to his feet and sauntered over to the adjoining bathroom, shutting the door behind him. “Check to see that everything is ready for me downstairs!” he called out from the other side of the door moments before the sound of running water came on.
Wura got up from the bed and started out of the bedroom. She didn’t really do much around the house. Ndidi loved to be in charge, and believed that as the first wife, she should be on top of the affairs in the house. And she achieved this through the well-oiled process that involved a cook, a cleaning woman and the gateman. Between them, Wura was left with not a lot of things to do in the house, unless she took it upon herself to prepare some of her tasty dishes for dinner for the house. As water gushed out of the bathroom faucets, splashing and creating its familiar white noise, Wura made for the door. As she walked past the vanity table, she caught a glimpse of herself and paused to check herself out in the mirror. She stood, a supple-skinned woman, with breasts that swelled and hips that flared beneath her loose-fitting dress. She had made up her face before rejoining Jibril in bed, and now checked to make sure her eyes were still perfectly lined with her favourite jet-black kohl and her plump lips are well-enhanced with her favourite nude-maroon lipstick. She was a good-looking woman and loved to keep it that way, married or not. Nodding at her appearance, she turned and exited the room.
As she made her way downstairs, the scent of caramelized onions drenched the air in the Ikoyi loft, its aroma mixed with the smell of fried eggs, a combination of smells that Wura had recently being finding nauseating. She got into the dining room and walked over to the table where a basket of fresh fruits sat waiting. She picked an apple up and sank her teeth into it.
“Joy!” she heard Ndidi’s voice bark the cook’s name from the kitchen. “How many times will I tell you this, you this stupid girl!”
Moments after the waspish comment, the woman emerged into the dining room, her tall frame clad in a similar patterned boubou as the one Wura was wearing.
“Joy is still around?” Wura said around her mastication of the apple. The young cook had academic classes she often attended on some mornings.
“Yes, to help make breakfast for your husband before he travels,” Ndidi said with a smile and an eye-roll.
“Good morning to you, my first wife,” Wura said with a short laugh.
“Iyawo, did you sleep well?” Ndidi asked, collecting a bowl of fruit salad from the cook who had followed her into the dining room.
“Could have been better,” Wura replied, leaning against one of the dining chairs and staring at the first wife as she pottered around the table, setting it up for breakfast.
The striking thing about Ndidi was her height. The woman, who was five years older than Wura, was tall, supermodel tall, even towered above their husband by a few inches. Wura’s gaze flickered over the woman’s face, taking in her full lips that were never without her signature coral lipstick spread out on them. Her eyes were almond-shaped, their colour constantly varying because of the woman’s addiction to contact lenses; today, they were coloured green, a shade that lent her striking, aquiline features a certain mysticism. If Wura thought she was good-looking, she believed Ndidi was beautiful. When she first met her, Ndidi had intimidated her, with her appearance and her voice that was some husky decibels away from sounding masculine. Outwardly, she projected an intimidating elegance and striking sophistication that made her difficult to relate to by a lot of people, Wura too, initially. But behind the doors of their home, she was sweet and radiant, in spite of her foul disposition whenever she had to wake up early to be the taskmistress.
“Sit down and eat, you will feel better,” Ndidi instructed, before turning to frown at the maid. “Come, Joy,” she roared, “if I sound a slap on that your fat head, perhaps then you will learn to listen to me. How many times will I tell you to dry your hands before handling my chinaware, eh?”
“Sorry madam,” Joy stammered, before hastening out of the dining room.
“Onye nzuzu!” the first wife hissed. “Every time, you will carry your wet hands to come and touch my expensive ceramics, then come and let the fucking dirty water drip into my finely chopped fruits, and yet you wonder why God made you look the way you look. Anuofia!”
Wura tried hard not to laugh. The woman was clearly a bitch on wheels this morning.
Ndidi clicked her tongue in displeasure, dropping her hands akimbo as she waited for Joy to return with the other dishes containing the rest of breakfast. The maid rushed back in, hefting a plate of fried sausages and grilled tomatoes, following her madam’s instructions to set them right in the middle of the table.
“Madam, it aff finish,” Joy said with a little curtsy when she was done.
“Gini?” Ndidi squinted a frown at her.
“The whole thing, it aff finish,” Joy said hesitantly as she gestured to the well-laid-out table.
“Oh dear,” Wura said, knowing what had caused her co-wife’s fresh outrage and trying not to laugh.
“Is that what they’re teaching you in that school I am paying for?” Ndidi snapped. “It aff finish,” she mimicked with a sneer. “That is what you are learning from all that private education I’m paying for?”
“Sorry ma,” Joy hurried her apology.
“Don’t ‘sorry’ me. Say it the way it should be said osiso,” her mistress barked.
The girl flinched at the caustic tone and hesitated before venturing, “Madam, it finish…?”
Wura was now shaking with barely restrained hilarity as Ndidi clapped her hands in sneering wonder.
“Chim ooo!” she hollered. “Is this how my money is just going for nothing?”
“Didi, chill na,” Wura said, coming to the chagrinned maid’s rescue. “She just started schooling there. These things take time.”
Ndidi sniffed in disbelief.
“Madam, it will better soon,” Joy attempted to pacify her mistress.
“It will be better. It will be better. You know what, just go.” Shaking her head, Ndidi waved her away. “Time is going. Don’t let me delay you any further. Your transport fare is on top of the cupboard next to the kitchen door. Be fast and go, before your excuse for poor performance will be that I make you late.”
“Yes ma.” Joy curtsied, and hastened out of the room.
“And don’t bother returning to the main house when you come back from school,” Wura called out after her.
“Ma?” Joy wheeled round to face her, startled by the instruction.
“You can finish up your day at the boys’ quarters. You don’t have to come back here. Oga is travelling and we can cater to ourselves.” She made an inclusive gesture between her and Ndidi as she finished.
“Ah madam, is everything well?” Joy was worried now.
“Mebo, Mebo, come and be going,” Ndidi said, clapping her hands at the girl.
“Nothing is wrong, dear. We just won’t need you during this period that oga will be away,” Wura called after the maid as she left the room.
Following her exit, the two women looked at each other, exchanged a smile, before proceeding into different directions. Wura moved to the living room and collapsed on a sofa, before turning on the television to catch up on morning movies on Africa Magic. She curled up into the warmth of the sofa as a sudden strange lethargy overtook her. Several moments passed before she picked on the sound of Jibril rushing out into the dining room. She turned to see him ogle the breakfast table; Ndidi was at his side. He had a small valise in his hand; he never packed a lot for his trips to Senegal, because he already had a lot of his things set in the apartment he rented in Dakar.
“Are all of this for me?” Jibril said as he lifted the lid on the dish of sausages.
“Yes now. You have to eat before travelling,” Ndidi said with a smile and a pat on his arm.
“I cannot waste any more time, my love,” he said with an apologetic look cast her way. “I know you put so much effort into this, and I promise to make it up to you when I return.” He leaned toward her to plant a kiss on her cheek.
“Why do I even try?” Ndidi huffed.
“Didi, not this morning please,” Jibril said as he slipped his right hand and then the left into his suit jacket.
“If it’s Wura that cooked now, you will eat her food,” Ndidi continued, unwilling to ease up on the guilt trip.
“Abeg, abeg,” Wura called from her position in the parlour, “don’t add me to you two’s issues.”
Jibril chuckled. “Didi, I’m really sorry. Okay, name whatever and I’ll get it for you from Dakar. Okay?” He drew close to her to kiss her again, this time on the lips.
“It is going to be sinfully expensive,” Ndidi threatened with a smile.
Jibril laughed at this. “I don’t expect anything less.” He glanced at his watch. “Okay, I really have to go now. I’m running late for my flight.” He turned to hurry out of the room, but Ndidi pulled him back.
“Not so fast. Give your wife a proper goodbye.”
He chuckled again before taking her into his arms. Their bodies melded together as their lips locked into a kiss. Ndidi purred as her arms slid up around Jibril’s neck and he moaned as he ground his hip into her. Wura watched them from the parlour and felt the icy flicker of a sensation that could almost be hate. A cold mask shuttered down over her features, and her mouth tightened into a grim line.
The couple pulled back from each other and Jibril started for the door.
“Have a safe trip, darling,” Ndidi hollered.
“Thanks, my love,” Jibril hollered back.
Wura wasn’t going to bid him farewell. She didn’t want to. And yet, she dutifully called after him, “Take care, my husband.”
“Take care too, my wife,” Jibril said with a flash of a smile in her direction.
And then, he was gone.
The silence that ensued after he left was slightly tense, filled with undercurrents of unspoken emotions. Ndidi stood there in the dining room, as though waiting for Wura to say something. Wura didn’t. She kept a cold profile to her co-wife as she focused on Nse Ikpe Etim’s antics on the television.
Finally, Ndidi sighed and walked out of the room. Wura felt something constrict inside her as she turned to look after the woman. She was starting to burn, as she did during moments like this. She didn’t know how to handle this.
Then she winced as a sharp bolt of pain shot to her nether region. She involuntarily placed her hand over her abdomen as the pain just as quickly flitted away. What was that? she wondered, and then dismissed the pain from her mind.
Minutes later, her concentration on the dialogue coming from the TV was interrupted as the sound of highlife music erupted in the living room. She gave a start and turned around to see Ndidi shimmying her way into the room. She was dancing to the music in the most sensual way. Her hips swayed with undulations that started from her shoulders, junctioned at her waist and rippled the rest of the way to her feet. She was no longer wearing her boubou; she had replaced the dress with a halter-necked Ankara top that bared off her flat midriff and a short Ankara tutu skirt and emphasized the sinuous length of her legs.
She was smiling as she danced into the room.
Emotions began to pulsate inside Wura as she stared, smitten by the dancing beautiful woman.
“Come here,” she husked at her.
“Be polite, you little girl,” Ndidi chided in a teasing tone, still moving her hips to the song.
“Please come here, baby.” Wura sat up on the sofa, spreading her legs and sighing.
“If you insist, my little wife,” Ndidi hummed, and shimmied her way over to Wura.
She gently began lowering her body, still dancing, between Wura’s legs, and began grinding herself against Wura, quickly stirring the younger woman’s deep hunger for passions yet untapped. Wura brought her arms up around her waist, her eyes fluttering shut as she reveled in the sensation of Ndidi’s fully-fleshed derriere against her torso and between her legs. She pressed a kiss to Ndidi’s neck, and groaned, a keening sound of wanting that Ndidi responded to. She turned to face Wura, with some urging from Wura. There was a victorious smile on Ndidi’s face; Wura was aware she’d just used this dance routine to beat through her earlier sulkiness, and she didn’t care. She simply wanted Ndidi.
Their mouths melded against each other, their lips igniting a passionate kiss. The kiss was fire, not at all gentle, and begged for air. Ndidi leaned in, pressing her chest to Wura, as the kiss deepened. Wura moaned as Ndidi bit on her bottom lip and she eagerly pressed her body closer to the woman. Ndidi dragged her lips away from hers, and began mapping Wura’s chin to her neck with tender kisses, splashing them around her collarbone. Wura panted with desire as she drew her head back, her entire body tingling with Ndidi’s kisses. Ndidi’s hands grasped her dress and lifted the front upward. Wura closed her eyes and gave a whimper of desire as Ndidi palmed one of her breasts, flicking her thumb over the sensitized nub of her nipple. Wura jerked repeatedly, the more Ndidi assaulted her nipples with her fingers, the rough and cool touch firing off every nerve ending in her body.
Then Ndidi reached downward, moving her body down along with her hand, craning her head toward Wura’s torso.
“You weren’t wearing anything under all this time?” Ndidi breathed out.
“I was born prepared,” Wura said with a laugh, a sound that choked to a stop when Ndidi began stoking her desires down there.
She gasped as Ndidi navigated her body with her kisses, moving around Wura’s thighs, the spaces between her legs and skirting over the faded scars surrounding her groin from an old accident. Ndidi lingered over the scars, pressing her lips to them, before moving her hand swiftly up to Wura’s breast to stroke it as her mouth dove into Wura’s centre. Wura gave out a strangled cry and heaved her body slightly, her breathing getting hitched as Ndidi pushed her tongue through her opening. She arched her body and dug her fingers into Ndidi’s hair, rolling her hips as Ndidi’s tongue traced delicate circles around her inner flesh. It didn’t take long before Wura shattered the atmosphere with a cry dredged up from her soul, a cry that morphed into a deep throated moan as a conflagration of sensations rushed down toward her centre and burst out with an energy that had her spasming for several seconds.
“Wow!” she finally heaved, as she felt the tremors between her thighs spread down to the tips of her toes.
“I know, I have that affect,” Ndidi said with a chuckle as she came up to kiss her lips. The kiss tasted of Wura.
The two women slipped and moved their bodies until they were lying cuddled in each other’s arms in the expansive sofa.
“I just want to stay here like this all day,” Wura whispered, as she lay curled up against her lover.
“Do you now?” Ndidi said with an indulgent laugh. “Well, I’m okay with that.”
“Why do I have to share you with him?” Wura asked, some of her earlier sulkiness creeping back into her voice.
“We don’t have a choice. At least this way, we can have each other without any questions we can’t answer,” Ndidi cajoled.
“But you seem so passionate with him,” Wura complained.
“That’s because I love him, my darling,” Ndidi said gently. “I am bisexual after all.”
“And I’m gay. And so, it kills me whenever I have to sleep with him, or whenever I know he’s sleeping with you,” Wura sighed, now turning melancholic.
“At least he is a good man,” Ndidi attempted to console her.
“I know. But it will not make me suddenly attracted to him in that way. I just want you.” Wura pressed her face into Ndidi’s neck with a small thready sound.
“Come here, Iyawo mi,” Ndidi soothed, wrapping her arms around the small form beside her.
“You’re teasing me, abi?” Wura murmured.
“I have to, you’re too cute. And I like you a lot for wanting me.” Ndidi giggled.
But I love you, Wura wanted to say. I loved you when I first met you. I loved you when you told me you were married. I loved you when you told me the only way we could be together was for me to marry your husband. And now, with everything I have to endure from him, I still love you.
Wura’s heart ached to say these things to the woman she’d known and loved for three years. But she couldn’t. She didn’t have the courage to give voice to her feelings.
Instead, she said, “We should shower together later on.”
Before Ndidi could respond, Wura’s phone buzzed on the side table. She made a face that showed annoyance, because she knew who was calling. She’d given him a special ringtone to indicate to her whenever he intruded on her digitally.
With an irritated sigh, she moved about on the sofa until she could reach for her phone and answer the call. “Hello?” she said around a fake yawn. He had to know he was disturbing her.
“My love, were you sleeping?” Jibril asked. In the background was a torrent of airport noises.
“Yes. Haven’t you left already?” Wura asked.
“I missed my flight, and I’m not sure what I should do now. Maybe go to the office and conduct the business with Dakar via Skype.”
“You should absolutely go to Dakar,” Wura said, suddenly aware that panic had ratcheted up her voice a few decibels. She’d been counting on Jibril’s three-day absence, and now, she wasn’t even going to get a full day with Ndidi? Aware that Ndidi was now looking at her curiously and that there was a startled pause coming from the other end of the phone, she said in a calmer voice, “I mean, surely, your business partners will not appreciate not seeing you face-to-face. A Skype meeting seems quite demeaning, don’t you think?”
Jibril gave out a short laugh. “My dear wife, since when did you know this much about business?”
Wura bristled at his patronizing tone, but kept the ire from her tone as she said, “You can always get another flight out, you know.”
“I know. But to be honest, I never really wanted to go anywhere jaré. Anyway, the driver will be returning some of my things back home after he has dropped me at the office. Tonight, when I return, we will all go out for dinner.” Jibril seemed gaily unaware of the wreckage he caused Wura with his determined change of plans.
Wura sat there, listening to her husband as rabid melancholy began ravaging her insides. Mentally and emotionally, she slowly began plummeting into that dark place, that bitterly dark place that seemed only to exist whenever Jibril was around. The contentment she’d felt moments before from Ndidi’s lovemaking had evaporated, and the scent of Ndidi’s surrounding perfume didn’t do anything to rescue her from her downward slope. A craving began to wrack through her, a suicidal craving to either throw herself out from the building from the top floor or find a gun and put her bullet through her head. Jibril kept on talking from the other end; he was now talking about a new restaurant in Victoria Island and something about a business partner who would join them for dinner as well. The phone slowly slid off Wura’s ear and grasp, as the darkness she felt resurrected the familiar bolt of pain, the one that shot to her nether region. She gave out a strangled cry and clutched at her belly wherein had surged pleasurable sensations minutes ago.
“Oh my God, Wura – what the fuck!” Ndidi gasped. Her panicked gaze was on Wura.
Wura followed her gaze to her thighs, to the sight of blood seeping out from between her thighs.
“You’re bleeding!” Ndidi choked out. “What’s wrong?”
Realization sunk into Wura in that split second. It all made sense. The nausea she’d been feeling lately, the tiredness, the sometimes ravenous appetite… She was pregnant. And now she wasn’t. She was undergoing a miscarriage. The rightness of the situation hit her. Her body was commiserating with her soul, rejecting Jibril’s seed the way her mind had rejected him.
“Wura, we need to get you to the hospital!” Ndidi cried.
Wura’s head began to swim and her vision rolled back as she slumped back on the sofa. The last thing she heard before she lost consciousness was Ndidi’s harsh call of her name: “Wura!”
Written by ThatGayCousin