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All the blood drained from Raymond’s system as those three words echoed in his brain. He could no longer hear what was being said and all the blood in his veins seemed to have flowed to his feet, making it impossible for him to move. ‘I am pregnant’ it echoed again.
Vicky clapped her hands, eyes flashing with humour and anger. “Tinuke, I have always known you to be the sneaky type but with this sort of plot, you deserve a gold medal. How dare you fake pregnancy because you want to have my brother back?”Vicky was very angry. She glanced at Raymond but he could not hear anything.
Tinuke turned furious eyes at Vicky, dangling a piece of paper before her. “That is the doctor’s report”.
“I don’t need a useless sheet of paper. You are not pregnant; but if you are, Raymond is most likely not the father”
Tinuke looked insulted. She grabbed Raymond’s hand, successfully bringing him back to his senses. “Did you hear her Ray? She is questioning my fidelity! That is why I have always hated this lesbian sister of yours”
Vicky’s hand itched to slap her but she controlled the urge. She should love the reality of being a lesbian the same way she had loved and accepted it for a long time but hearing Tinuke call her a lesbian was sounding terribly like an insult. She mentally blamed Duke for this. She hadn’t been able to think straight ever since Duke had kissed her senseless. Ray pushed Tinuke out of his way and swallowed hard. “It looks like I am on the verge of becoming an aunt” Vicky said in a jovial way, trying to bring down the tension he felt but it did not succeed.
Tinuke saw his look of doubt and confusion. “Here, have a look at the test result” she put the paper in his hand but he could not even read it. All the letters on the paper vanished before his eyes. The read meaning of being doomed stared at him terrifyingly. He had just come to accept the fact that he was truly in love with Luciana but here he was with absolutely no hope in that direction because as the devil will have it, he would be fathering a child from his demented ex-fiance. It had been during his quiet time while drawing that he realised that he actually did not love Tinuke the way he loved Lucy. Lucy had given him back his artistry, had helped him get past his fears and had secured a very tender spot in his heart in the process. When he had picked up his pencil to sketch, Lucy was the only person that posed as a model in his senses. He remembered how beautiful she looked when she had entered his room the first Sunday she spent in his house. She had gazed at his bare chest with curiosity and longing and uncertainty while she thought he was asleep. He had loved that lovely gown on her, just as he had imagined when he spotted the gown in the boutique but it was absolutely lovelier when she wore it. As he sketched, he had entertained false hopes that they would meet again someday but standing in front Tinuke, he felt all his hopes shattered. Lucy vanished from his mind and he envisioned himself carrying a crying baby which had pooped in his pants and a yelling Tinuke complaining of too much stress. He swallowed and took a deep breath.
He took out his phone and dialed a number. “Doc T…. good afternoon Doc…. I am on my way to the hospital now, are you there?…. Good. I need to carry out a pregnancy test and I need the result immediately… Ok then” he ended the call and even though the news had been too shocking to be true, he marched inside the bedroom with confidence, leaving the two ladies to stare at his wake. He returned some minutes later with his car keys and Tinuke swallowed. “Follow me” he muttered as he passed beside Tinuke and she followed like a robot. Vicky tagged along, determined to see the end of it all.
Deolu knocked the door for the umpteenth time. “Please open up for me Teju, please.” Just like the past futile fifteen minutes, Teju did not respond. He became weery and agitated. “If you won’t open the door, I would break it down T” Deolu warned, his voice holding the assurance that he would not hesitate in doing what he just said he would.
When no response came, he was scared that something might be wrong with Teju. He swallowed and moved several inches away from the door. “Move away from the door Teju” he said in an authoritative voice. Just as he was about to kick the door, Teju opened it and peered at him.
“What do you want?” Teju asked steely.
Deolu blinked. “I need five minutes of your time, after that you can throw me out. Please”
Teju swallowed. “I am counting already”
Some people passed by them, obviously going to their hotel rooms. “can I at least come inside?”
Teju gave it a thought and opened the door wider. Immediately he entered, she closed the door and relaxed her back against it. Deolu could not bring himself to sit down so he just paced and finally stopped some steps away from Teju. “I am sorry Teju, I am so sorry. i… I should never have done what I did but it just happened. I was not thinking straight.” He swallowed as everything he had rehearsed vanished from memory. “You know me T, I am not a betrayer, I can’t do such a thing against you or against Lucy. Please forgive me. It won’t happen again” he finished and looked straight into her eyes.
Teju swallowed. She felt so miserable. Why was she casting all the blames on Deolu when she was the one who went crying in his arms? She had effectively pulled danger to herself with her own hands, knowing how most men were with crying women. “It is not your fault. I was the crying baby, I should have had more sense than to cry shamelessly in front of you”
“No… no, you are not at fault at all; I was stupid” he said and Teju looked at him with a slow smile creeping up her face.
Deolu did not understand her smile. “It won’t repeat itself again, I promise”.
She smiled widely. “your five minutes is up” Teju said.
He swallowed and nodded. He made for the door and opened it.
“By the way, we should have Fred in our grasp tomorrow” she said as he walked out and he nodded.
“At least there is good news”. She smiled.
“We would be in Lagos faster than a sniper’s bullet”.
Deolu winced. ‘So that is how much she wants to be rid of me’ he thought vaguely, also agreeing that he really wanted to be back in a sane environment.
Raymond, Vicky and Tinuke sat in Doctor It’s office as they waited for the lab results. Vicky was trying to diffuse the tension which cracked the air uncomfortably.
“Just think about it Ray, it is not so bad to be a baby Dada, I am sure you would have a very beautiful baby as long as the baby is yours; that is if there is a baby”
Tinuke faced her with a face wrinkled with anger. “I would have you eat back your words when the results are out”
Vicky ignored her and continued her jest. “Imagine what it would be like to wash your baby’s buttocks after he had messed up himself. Trust me Ray, it is always helpful to think about it before it actually happens, that way, you would not be caught off guard.
Ray glared at her and she blessed him with a sisterly grin, patting his thigh with her palm, she showed that she was equally as concerned as he was.
Doctor Tunde entered the office as calmly as ever even though his face held no hint of a smile. Ray had insisted that he monitored the lab process and ensure that no mistake was made. He produced a paper containing the lab result but just as he had been unable to read anything then, he still was unable to read the lab result. He threw it back on the table. “I don’t have time for this crap Tunde, tell me what the result is”
Tunde sighed and tried to bring up a small smile. “She is positive Ray, Tinuke is pregnant…..” Doctor Tunde continued talking but Ray could not hear a single word. He felt terribly alarmed and dumbstruck. He hadn’t felt more terrible in his entire life. The thought of having a baby, his own baby, excited him but he had for long destroyed the thought of having children from someone like Tinuke. The days he stayed away from Tinuke made him realise that the attachment he had for her was because he had deflowered her. The promise he made afterwards also fuelled his closeness to her. But now, he had broken the promise promise to never leave her and now, all he wanted to do was stay far away from her. She posed a hazard to his happiness and peace of mind.
Raymond stood up slowly, not even conscious to the discussions between the people. He faced the door and walked out, ignoring Vicky and Tinu who called ceaselessly. Both of them ran after him, Tinuke playing the protective wife to be and Vicky playing the unyielding baby sister.
Vicky got to Ray faster and snatched the keys from his hands. He in turn glared at her in a way that Tinuke squirmed in fear but Vicky did not bulge a bit. She was used to Raymond’s fury and could stand him. “You can get angry all you want but I would not sit back and watch you drive us into the mouth of a waiting trailer, speeding up my ascend to heaven. If you want to die, at least wait till we get home so you can die alone.” The humor in her eyes faded when she imagined that he might actually do it. “That is not an advice”
When Ray did not leave where he was standing, she bypassed him and sat on the driver’s seat, strapping the seat belt instantly. When Ray did not leave where he was but continued to glare in her direction, she smiled lovingly and annoyingly at him. “You would want to get in the car if you don’t intend on walking home” with that, she slammed the door shut. Tinuke, who had been too scared to touch Ray considering his mood, quickly sat on the backseat of the car knowing that Vicky might speed off, leaving her behind.
Ray swore under his breath as he grudgingly went over to the other side and sat down, closing his eyes instantly.
“Oh… You finally agreed to imagine wiping your baby’s butt? It could be a really nice image”
“Vicky” Ray warned with blazing eyes. She laughed and Raymond noticed that part of the tension had seeped out of him.
Back in his office, Doctor Tunde shook his head sadly. He also had hoped to God that the result came out negative but instead, it had turned out positive. He had always felt that Tinuke was not right for Raymond but what right did he have to condemn her when it was none of his business. He had voiced his relief when Raymond had told him of their breakup but now, he had succeeded in tying himself to her for life. He felt sorry for Ray because he could vividly see that Tinu would make his life a living hell. That is why he always advised men to zip up. He sighed even when he knew that women could be terrifyingly tempting.
Fred lay on the bed feeling aroused the next morning. Some weeks back, he would have walked confidently to the red zone and pick any girl he wanted for the night but now, even though there was some level of security where he was, he could not afford such publicity. Wanting Lucy had led him to the redzone so many times when he could not have her. He quenched the thought of Lucy instantly and decided to masturbate.
Just as he was about to carry out the unholy act, he heard a knock on the door. He groaned as he left the bed grudgingly and made for the door. It would be either Chris or the lady who usually brought him food. If it was the lady, so help him God. He hoped she was the one as he went to the door, even though she was not really attractive. He asked who it was and his hopes shattered. He opened the door for Chris and they greeted even though Fred was not too happy to see him.
Immediately they were both seated, Chris portrayed a serious face. “I have something to show you” he took out the folded news paper from his back pocket and gave it to a curious Fred. Immediately Fred saw the major obvious, he shivered and dropped the paper. The picture of Lucy which he had seen was too real. It was as if she were staring at him with accusing eyes.
“She… She has been… Found” she stammered.
“Yes. I thought of erm… Bringing this to you so you could see with your eyes.”
Fred swallowed, his arowsal long forgotten. They heard a knocked and Fred looked questioningly at Chris. “Are you expecting someone?”
“Yes, I came with one of my boys who rushed off to eat. He must be the one”
Fred smiled as he remembered his earlier thought when he heard the first knock. “Come in” he murmured and faced Chris to continue their discussion.
He saw Chris’ eyes on the door and he turned and shrieked the at the sight before him. He had paled terribly and was glued to the chair. Teju smiled and entered the room with her usual flair and style.
“We meet again Fred” she said with a smile that had the evident glint of anger. Fred shivered uncontrollably.