Previously on THOSE AWKWARD MOMENTS: So remember how Kevin and his mom went to the hospital to see Jude, and then Kevin gets to see the man of his dreams smooching with the girl he doesn’t remember he dumped? And remember how in the midst of the drama that followed that discovery, Kevin’s mom slumped into a faint? Well, it turns out the old lady was just suffering from a bit of stress due to her condition. If you haven’t read last episode, here’s a spoiler! Kevin’s elderly mother is PREGGARS!

Ghen-ghen!

And that’s what you missed last episode.

*

Your mother is pregnant… You’re going to be a big brother…

It had been about thirty minutes since the doctor broke the news to me, and I was still reeling. I stood there, next to my mother as she lay prone on her bed, staring out the window. Beyond the curtains, I could see a woman with a wrapper tied around her bosom pinning her underwear to a thin clothesline, and I idly wondered how some hospitals could share premises with regular residents.

Just then, I heard the sound of movement beside me – a creak of metal hinges and a shuffle of sheets. I turned to look at Mother. She was awake, and staring up at me with the bewilderment and some vulnerability that came together to form the most heartbreaking expression.

At the sight of her look, I felt a deep loathing overtake me; loathing at myself for how inconsiderate and callous I’d been toward my mother in the past twelve hours or so. This was a woman who had loved me unconditionally in the beginning; even though she’d gone on to hurt me significantly, I wasn’t always the kind of person who acted so spitefully in retaliation. For a split second, I questioned who I was becoming.

Mother adjusted her body a little, almost sitting up in the bed. “Emeka, what happened? Are you okay?”

A strangled sound that was part-sob and part-laugh escaped involuntarily my mouth. The woman was on a hospital bed and asking me if I was okay.

“I’m fine, mom,” I replied as I moved toward her to help her sit up better, tucking the pillow more snugly behind her to support her back. “It’s you who fainted. How are you feeling?”

I was startled to see her eyes moisten a bit, and hastily said, “Mom, are you okay? What’s wrong? Do I have to call the doctor –”

“I’m fine, Emeka,” she said with a chuckle.

“Then why do you look like you’re about to cry?”

“Because you called me ‘mom’,” she said simply. “Twice.”

I stopped short. I had stopped calling her ‘mom’ sometime in the first year she started persecuting me, taking instead to calling her the less affectionate term ‘mother’. A small smile stretched my lips as I sat on the bed beside her and clasped her hand. “I’m sorry…” I choked out.

“Oh hush,” she interrupted, placing her other hand on mine. “There’s no need for all that.”

“There is, mom. I’ve been such a jackass to you, especially since you came around, when I should be taking care of you.”

“If you’re going to saddle yourself with guilt over my fainting spell,” she said sternly, “don’t. I shouldn’t have shouted after you as you left the hospital the way I did.”

“No, mom, that’s on me,” I objected. “If I’d just stayed and talked to you, none of this would have happened.”

“Well, I’m fine, okay?” She smiled at me. “By the way, what even happened to you then? You looked pretty riled up.”

“Oh, it’s not important,” I dismissed.

“Must have been important, for you to act so furious the way you did in the reception,” she maintained. When she noticed my hesitance, she said insistently, “Seriously, tell me.”

“Fine, when we get home, okay?”

“Okay o,” she replied.

Silence descended on us, with none of us knowing how to proceed. The last few years had seen too much resentment between the two of us for us to know how to relate on a more lovesome level. I wrestled within myself for a way to break the news to her that I knew about her pregnancy.

I should tell her now… Maybe not, maybe I should leave it for when we get home… Or it’d probably be best if I wait till tomorrow… Finally I decided to take my own advice from the lyrics of my song, Misery, which Demoniker was soon going to make famous.

Got to rip the band aid off / And let it bleed…

“Why didn’t you tell me you’re pregnant?” I blurted out.

Her countenance changed at once. She seemed uncomfortable as she asked, “How did you know?”

“Does that even matter? So it’s true…”

She nodded, her gaze not quite meeting mine anymore.

“And were you and daddy ever going to tell me?”

“Yes, but with everything you were going through, I didn’t think you could take –”

“No, mom, that’s not an excuse not to tell me you’re pregnant. I’m your only son for chrissakes.”

“Oh really,” she shot back, suddenly terse. “Because when I came to your house, you welcomed me with open arms, abi?”

It was now my turn to hang my head in embarrassment. “I guess not.”

“Look, Emeka,” she continued as she moved her body closer to me, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, okay?”

“It’s okay,” I replied. “All that matters is that I know now.” I leaned toward her and gave her a peck. “Looks like I’m going to be a big brother.”

She laughed softly. “Yes.” Then she added, “But wait, how did you find out? Was it Samuel that told you?”

“No, the doctor told…” My voice trailed off as her words registered. “Samuel knows you’re pregnant?”

“No.” The lie jumped from her mouth, as though she didn’t think before blurting it. Then she tightened her lips and stared at me.

I stared back. The stare standoff lasted a few seconds, before we both started laughing.

“I swear, mom, if you ever say Samuel is like the son you never had, I’m taking out an assassination contract on his head,” I said amidst my laughter.

“Am I permitted to say he’s like the second son I’ve always wanted?” she retorted tongue-in-cheek.

We laughed some more. In the hour that passed then, the two of us remained in the room, talking and reconnecting. At some point, I wanted to drop into Jude’s room to see how he was doing, but the thought of running into Lily or Janet kept me firmly by my mother’s side.

Before long, the doctor who attended to Mother finished up with her and discharged her, with recommendations of bed rest for at least twenty-four hours.

I was relieved when we left the ward and didn’t see anyone unwanted lurking around.

But I should have known my luck wouldn’t hold out for long, for as we walked out of the hospital building, there he was – Samuel, sitting on the trunk of his car, with his phone in his hand. He looked up just as we exited the building, and both concern and relief wreathed his face as he started hurriedly toward us.

“Mrs. Achike, are you okay?” he began effusively the moment he was by Mother’s side. “What did the doctors say?”

I rolled my eyes as Mother said laughingly, “I’m fine jaré. I haven’t seen you since I was inside. Why didn’t you come visit with me?”

“Emeka wouldn’t let me come in to check on you,” he replied, deliberately using my Igbo name, something he knew I disliked very much.

Getting back at me, are we, Sammie? I thought, as I looked sullenly at him.

“Oh, I see,” Mother said, sounding like she didn’t see at all. “It’s okay sha. I even needed the rest.”

Samuel gave Mother a look, glanced askance at me, and then returned his focus to her, with a small smile tugging at his lips. “Oh yes, of course, ma,” he said. “I understand.”

The idiot thought he was still in on a secret I didn’t know about. I chuckled as I sniped at him, “Mumu! I already know. Between the doctor and her incapacitation, did you really think I wouldn’t find out my own mother is pregnant?”

He gave a small start, before beaming a smile and saying loudly, “Well, congratulations to you, buddy!” He spread his arms and made to hug me.

I waited until he was close enough to me before hissing, “Fuck off.”

He backed off at once.

Just then, Mother exclaimed, “Ah! Where will we find a taxi to take us home in this sun, eh?”

“I can drop you guys off in my car,” Samuel offered.

“Is that okay with you?” Mother directed at me.

“Sure,” I replied, “even though I don’t have to like accepting the ride.”

“Ouch,” Samuel said as Mother laughed.

***

Thirty minutes into the ride home, with my mother half asleep in the back seat, Samuel tried to strike up a conversation with me. I ignored him. He tried again. My stony silence was the response he got.

Then he heaved a sigh and said, “Okay, I’m sorry, Kev. Is that what you want to hear? I’m very sorry.”

“Sorry for what exactly?” I returned.

“Sorry for whatever you want me to be sorry for.”

“There are too many things lately for you to be sorry for, but I’ll just stick to two – knowing about Janet’s evil plan with Lily and not telling me, and knowing my own mother is pregnant and not telling me!

“I’m sorry for both of them,” he replied as he tried to focus on me and the road at the same time.

“I’ve heard,” I said in a stiff tone.

“That’s what people say when they are still mad at the person.”

“What do you want from me?” I said, almost raising my voice. “For chrissakes, Sam, you know how badly I want Jude to get his memory back, and you’re helping that bitch of his sister to rewrite his entire past and present, without me in it!”

“Okay, now you’re just overreacting –”

I’m overreacting?!” My voice climbed a few decibels of outrage.

Mother moved in her sleep behind us. I reined in my temper.

“I’ve said I’m sorry na,” Samuel said plaintively.

“Your sorry won’t change anything now, will it? Lily is still there doing God-knows-what to the same guy who kissed me a week ago.”

“Holy shit,” Samuel swore softly.

“What?” I said, rolling my eyes at him. “Don’t tell me you didn’t see us kiss that first time in the cinema?”

“No, it’s not that,” he exclaimed, and then pointed. “Look!”

I looked, realizing two things at once. First was that we had gotten to within a few yards of my compound. And the second was that there were two black Range Rovers and a sleek limousine parked right outside the compound, blocking us from getting through.

Fear instantly overtook me, as memories flooded my mind of that day several years ago, when I saw the car that belonged to Isaac Adedokun’s father, parked in front of our house while he was inside wrongly reporting me.

“Who are these people?” I asked.

“You tell me,” Samuel answered. “Is it not your house they are parked in front of?”

“So because it’s my house, I should now automatically know, abi? Am I the only one who lives in the compound?”

“It’s a simple statement. Stop being a queen about it,” Samuel retorted.

“Eh? You’re calling me a queen?” My indignation fired up.

“What’s going on here?” Mother interrupted sleepily from behind. I turned to her. She was staring blearily past me at the scene in front of us. “What are all these fine-fine cars doing in your house, Kevin?”

“Technically, mom, they are not in my house. They could be here for any one of my neighbours.”

“Well, they are blocking us, and staying here waiting for them to move, whenever that is, won’t solve our problem.”

“Well, Mrs. Achike, it’s okay. I can drive back to the hospital from here.”

“Nonsense, Samuel,” she said, retrieving her cosmetic case from her handbag to repair her makeup. “You are coming inside for at least a drink of cold water. For that to happen, we are going to get these people to move out of the way.”

My mother and her Xena-the-Warrior-Princess attitude though, I thought with a smile.

Moments after she was done, we opened our doors and climbed out of Samuel’s car. Just as we did, an imposing man in a dark suit and sunglasses stepped out of one of the Range Rovers. His face struck me as one I’d seen before, but I couldn’t place where. He proceeded to the limousine to open one of the back doors. A slender, fair-skinned leg shod with red stilettos peered out of the interior first. And then out came the other, eventually propelling a woman fully out of the vehicle.

It was Demoniker.

“It’s a lie!” Mother and Samuel screeched in unison.

I on the other hand was too amazed to say anything. The superstar was in my domain! I wanted to shout and then fall at my feet in reverential silence at the same time.

“Well, if it isn’t my favourite songwriter,” she cooed, standing there beside the limousine, looking not at all affected by the evening heat. The skirt of the floral dress she was wearing hung sexily about her thighs, affording a full glimpse of her legs which went on for days. “What are you standing there for? Aren’t you going to come say hello?”

I slowly walked over to the superstar and bussed her cheeks like I had seen my boss, Josh do to her a number of times.

“How did you know where I live?” I asked as we stepped back from each other.

“I pried that information from Josh’s cold dead hands,” she said gaily. “We are making beautiful music together. The least I could do was come over to pick you up in grand style, and give your neighbours something to talk about for months.” She grinned at me.

It was so infectious that I grinned back. The woman was a charmer.

“Demoniker, hi!” Samuel screamed for attention, drawing close to us, with Mother in tow.

“Oh, hi, I remember you… Erm…er…” She faltered delicately, apparently scrambling for Samuel’s name.

“It’s Samuel,” he supplied a bit sullenly.

I chuckled inwardly. I would use this to my advantage on a later date.

“And who is this lovely woman?” Demoniker focused on Mother.

The elderly woman beamed. I stared unbelievably at my fifty-something-year-old star-struck mother.

“That’s my mother,” I replied.

Mother stretched her hand out for Demoniker to shake, but the singer stepped forward and pulled her gently into an embrace instead. When she stepped back, she said, “You really raised a talented young man here, ma.”

“Thank you. I’m proud of him too.”

“I simply love that I’m working with him. That’s why I’m taking him out tonight.”

“You are?” Mother and Samuel chorused again.

I stared blankly at the singer, wondering when we had discussed this.

“He didn’t mention that?”

“He didn’t o,” Mother said.

“Well,” Demoniker said as she faced me, “he’s my date to an event at The Raven Club.”

The recollection of how excited I’d been yesterday when she asked me on the date suddenly surged through my mind. Between that time and today, a lot had happened to make it seem like a decade ago.

“Um, about that,” I began, “I don’t think I –”

“Can thank you enough for this opportunity you have given him,” Mother cut in, still smiling brightly at Demoniker.

I could almost hear her inner voice telling me to shut up with what I’d been about to say.

“He’ll be ready for you in a jiffy,” Mother continued, clasping my arm.

“But –” I tried to say.

“Please, excuse us,” she said, before shepherding me toward the house.

“Mom, what do you think you are doing?” I hissed as we moved.

“You have a date with Demoniker and you want to turn her down – are you crazy?”

“No, I’m just trying to be responsible and stay home with you.”

“Because I’ve suddenly become incapable of taking care of myself, eh?” She waited for me to unlock the front door so we could proceed inside.

“It’s not that. It’s just that I have to be here for you because of your preg –”

“Chukwuemeka Kevin Achike, the pregnancy card is not for you to play. That’s mine. So, get yourself in there, wear something nice and go have some fun.”

After that order, I caved. Within minutes, I was all dressed and ready to leave with Demoniker. This would be my first time in a limousine and I was stupefied. I however managed to slide inside the car with some aplomb, making sure Samuel got a good view of me being so important. The dark-suited man shut the door after me, and Demoniker and I were promptly encased inside a vehicular paradise. The leather of the car seat smelled divine, and there was champagne glinting from an ice bucket.

“You want a drink?”

“Uh, yea.” I wasn’t even sure I would be able to swallow the bubbly.

“You excited?” she said as she began working the bottle’s top.

“Yeah, just nervous,” I replied.

“Well, don’t be. You’re with me.”

I was going to say, “That’s exactly why I’m nervous.” Then I closed my big mouth.

The champagne top came off with a pop. Demoniker squealed as she guiding the surging froth to a glass. She poured our drinks. I guided my glass to my lips and felt the expensive brew tickle my nose.

So how far long is she?” Demoniker asked.

“Huh?”

“Your mother… she is pregnant, isn’t she? That’s why you almost turned me down earlier, right?”

“How did you know?” I breathed out, staring at her wide-eyed.

“I’m a woman, duh,” she answered with a laugh. As I nodded, she added with a grin, “Plus, I kinda saw the pregnancy meds sticking out of her bag.”

We laughed at that.

***

The Raven was a very upscale club. It wasn’t exactly known who owned it, but it must be someone with very deep pockets, because it was also situated in a few other West African countries, and also in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu. I hadn’t been in it before, but its repute for being a place that opened its doors to tasteful LGBT events was well-known.

I felt giddy with delight as I walked behind Demoniker into the club. The interior was very swanky, with very glamorous, very beautiful people perched here and there. The entire place screamed class and sophistication, and I was sure that many a salary had been blown on the delights of the club.

The moment Demoniker was recognised, a horde of fans descended on her. Her bodyguards tried to steer the crowd away from getting too close to her, even as she posed for snapshots with the fans. I allowed myself to be swept away from beside her by the tide of bodies.

Some minutes later, a man wearing clothes of understated elegance managed to pry the singer from the adoring public. Demoniker looked around, caught my eyes and signaled for me to come along, as she and the man moved to a corner of the club.

I moved close to them, as the man said something funny and Demoniker threw her head back in laughter. I frowned at the man’s appearance; his clothes were well-cut, but he seemed a tad underdressed for the club scene. Plus seriously, what would it take for him to take a razor – or comb – to his beard?

“Oh hey, Kevin,” Demoniker said when I drew close to them. “Andy darling, this is Kevin, my songwriter. And Kevin, this is Andrew Musa, the manager of The Raven.”

Oh.

“Nice to meet you,” he said as he stretched out a hand to me.

“Likewise,” I replied, shaking his hand and not believing I’d just rated poorly the manager of a major club. Someone please shoot me now.

After the introduction, Andrew whisked Demoniker off backstage to prepare for her performance. I was led to the VIP section of the club, courtesy of Demoniker. I could not believe that I was seated two tables away from Olamide, Lil Kesh and their entourages. Samuel would just die if he knew what was going on in my life at the moment.

I decided I needed a drink, and because there was no waiter around for me to call his attention, I went to the bar to get my drink.

I took a seat at the counter and called out my order at the bartender, who was bent with his back to me, attending to something. I ran a cursory glance over his derriere, noting how flat it was. Just great, my first bartender experience and it’s with a guy with nothing to appreciate.

Then he turned, and I found myself wishing to be shot a second time that evening.

He had plenty to appreciated front-view. The guy was drop-dead gorgeous, with rich dark hair that was duplicated on his brows and moustache that was spread sleekly over sensuous lips.

I swallowed hard, suddenly parched.

“What was your order again please?” he enquired.

You – a tall drink of water, I panted silently. My eyes skimmed over the soft swell of his pecs, below his uniform and the tag that read ‘Kuddus’. I was dropping my gaze quickly down past his flat stomach toward his –

“Sir?”

I blinked myself back to sanity, and repeated my order. As he turned away to pour my drink, I didn’t fail to notice the coy smile hanging on his lips. He’d noticed me notice the bulge that swelled through his jeans. I swallowed hard again.

Seconds later, a glass was placed carefully in front of me. And then, he stood there and waited.

I eyed him as I picked up the glass, and said, “I’m sorry, am I meant to pay for it? I was under the impression that it is open bar.”

He flashed me a megawatt smile. The force of that beam did something to my insides.

“Don’t worry,” he purred. “I just think you should be the one buying me a drink, considering how you were just checking me out earlier on.”

I’d made the mistake of lifting my glass to my mouth and taking a sip when he spoke. The words hit me and I choked, pulling back the glass to give out a fit of coughs.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yes…” I croaked. Then I cleared my throat and said in a stronger voice, “Yes, I’m fine.”

“So what’s a guy like you doing here?” he said.

“Huh?”

“You know, you look cool and quiet, certainly not the kind of personality you normally find in places like this with its pretentious celebs and their jobless posses.”

I felt stung, both for me and on behalf of Demoniker. But incredibly, I didn’t take any affront to his candidness. Instead, I opened my mouth and words I didn’t recognize as my own tumbled out. “Actually, I was passing by, on my way home from LUTH, and decided on a whim to check the club out.”

“Oh, you’re a doctor,” Kuddus said. “Cute!”

I beamed, impressed with my lie and happy that I’d impressed him.

“What about you?” I asked.

“Me?”

“What’s a guy like you doing here?”

“Trying to get enough money to publish my book, and this god-awful place pays well enough to make the dream a reality soon.”

“Oh, you’re a writer?” I cooed. “Neat!”

“Yeah, until you start to experience Writer’s Block, and everyone you know is telling you that you’re going into a doomed profession.”

“Oh believe me, I know,” I said with a smile.

“How would you know?” he asked. “The medical profession is a glorified career.”

I sighed. So, Okay, I was starting to be friends with this guy. I had to be honest with him. “Well, I’m not really a –”

“Kevin!” someone called me.

I turned to see Andrew approaching me with a clear sense of urgency. “You’re Kevin, right? Demoniker’s songwriter?”

I nodded. Out of the corner of my eyes, I felt my heart sink as my new friend stared at me, noticeably less impressed with me.

“Is there a problem, sir?” I said, refocusing on Andrew.

“She needs your help – immediately!” the manager said heavily. “Something’s wrong!”

TO BE CONTINUED.

Written by Reverend Hot

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