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Jennifer was chatting excitedly with her pals for life at their rendezvous, totally oblivious of the pair of eyes that seemed to monitor her every move. It’s been three weeks since her mother-in-law whisked her away to her house and assumed the position of her guardian angel. Her mother-in-law made Michael’s effort to see her abortive, stressing on the need for ample time and space for Jennifer to clear her head and decide on whether to continue with the marriage or not. The saga brought them really close in a short space of time. Mrs. Obiora on her part treated her like the daughter she never had and went as far as making her understand that she will never blame her for whatever decision she made as regards her marriage to her son. Jennifer with her mother-in-law’s indomitable spirit and encouragement became more confident and eupeptic, rapidly rediscovering herself.
Unable to restrain himself anymore, he walked over to her booth with an air of confidence and exchanged pleasantries with the ladies before settling himself into the seat that Jennifer occupied.
“Hello Jennifer don’t you remember me?” he asked flashing his sparkling dentition.
Jennifer peered into his face for a while and exclaimed.
“My God! Ethan! I can’t believe this is you. Mehn… it’s so good to see you. When did you get back?” Jennifer replied grinning.
She had met Ethan, a young fresh graduate during an annual fellowship conference in Calabar where he was one of the speakers during her undergraduate days. They had exchanged contacts and became friends before he left the country in pursuance of his masters degree a year later.
“I returned about three months ago. Looking at you from my table, I said to myself that this has to be Jenny or her double. You are still as beautiful as ever,” he said with a million dollar smile.
“Thank you. You are not looking bad yourself,” she replied with a smile.
“I have been searching for you ever since my return. It seems you changed your line. What do you say, we hang for dinner and catch up on old times?” he asked not taking his eyes of her.
“Well I’m married now,” she said waving her left hand to show off her wedding ring and suddenly realized that she forgot her wedding band for the first time in two years. She felt completely embarrassed and tried to lighten things up by promising to have him over for dinner for him to meet her husband. He promised to honour her invitation and left but not before collecting her number.
The ladies didn’t even wait for Ethan to exit the building before probing her on the turn of events.
“Babe, have you finally made up your mind to call it quit with Michael? I mean, leaving the house without your wedding band at such a crucial time speaks volumes,” Sarima stated with a look of concern.
“I don’t how it slipped my mind but I sincerely forgot it,” Jennifer replied rubbing her ring finger.
“That’s the irony of life. Michael has failed to love and appreciate the drop dead beauty he married while other men are drooling over her. Need I mention that he is sooo handsome?” Melody said emphatically while smiling sheepishly.
“Here comes the matchmaker. What makes you think he is drooling over me?” Jennifer asked Melody, trying to look serious.
“Na for my mouth you wan hear say coke black? My sight is still in perfect condition,” she said, swinging her index and middle fingers from side to side in front of her eyes. “Blessed is the lady that will say I do to him. Well, I would have recommended Sarima to him if not for her engagement to Louis,” Melody replied winking at Sarima with a hint of sarcasm.
“Ladies let’s be serious. Sweetheart, have you finally made your decision regarding your marriage?” Sarima asked staring at Jennifer.
“I met with Michael and Pastor Damian briefly last Friday and made it clear that I would only continue with the marriage on the conditions that firstly, he severes ties with Mabel and secondly, that I continue staying at my mother-in-laws’ until the counseling sessions are over. I can’t risk being pummeled again,” Jennifer informed her friends who admired her resolution and further encouraged her.
It’s been four months since the inception of the counseling sessions and Michael and Jennifer put in their best in redeeming their marriage. They hung out a whole lot, paid each other visits and spent quality time together like newlyweds but Jennifer maintained her stand in staying away from their matrimonial home for the mean time. Jennifer had not set eyes on Michael for a straight week due to his tight schedule and he always sounded stressed out over the phone. She walked into the house on Saturday afternoon intending to give her husband a huge surprise visit. She scanned the initial rooms without Michael in sight and headed to the bedroom hoping to find him there. With a ravishing smile, she paused in front of the door and was about to call out his pet name before turning the knob when she heard voices. She was sure the other voice belonged to a woman but she could not figure out who she was. She pressed her ear to the door so as to get the words clearly in order not to jump into conclusions.
“Don’t even bring love into this. There is only one woman that I am in love with and that’s my wife, so get that stupid thought out of your head,” he barked unable to keep his voice down.
“I am pregnant for God’s sake. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” she replied with so much frustration.
“I should have known you had it mapped out when you seduced me Mabel. My God! I should have seen it coming,” he replied pacing the room with one hand on his waist and the other rubbing his head.
“Seduce you? How convenient for you to heap the blame on me. It was mutual remember? Michael, I will not get rid of the baby if that’s what you are thinking. You better man up to your responsibility,” Mabel said nonchalantly.
The creak from the door caught their attention temporarily halting the heated argument. Michael was wide eyed to see his wife in tears and knew within himself that he had come to the end of the road all because he yielded to Mabel’s ploy. Jennifer was irate but in control of her emotions. With tears cascading her pretty face, she walked towards Michael managing a smile.
“Thank you so much Michael. Thank you for everything. Congratulations anyway,” she said in a calm manner that surprised not only Michael but herself and made for the door. Michael couldn’t imagine losing his wife and took hold of her hand as he tried to make her understand that it was a onetime mistake, pleading that they fight through it together but got an unexpected slap that briefly knocked the air out of his lungs.
“Forgiving you is not a big deal but this is one hell of a scar that will always remind me of your betrayal. How do you expect me to feel when the child comes around? Don’t tell me you intend to stay away from the life of your own blood. For two years I fought hard to save my marriage with you as a wife beater but what I can’t stand is infidelity. You have just crossed the rubicon Michael and there is no going back,” she stated matter-of-factly casting one final look at them before using the door.
Mabel, who had been tongue-tied all through the saga, brought Michael back to reality by snapping her fingers. “What do we do about the baby now that your wife is no longer in the dark about it?” Mabel asked standing akimbo.
“You bitch!” Michael cursed as he could no longer stomach her attitude and raised his hand in an attempt to slap her but Mabel was swift in getting a hold of his hand in the air with a don’t even try it stare.
“That I still have feelings for you does not give you the right to lay your hands on me. Don’t you ever try it with me. I am not Mabel,” she said and walked away not giving a hoot about how he felt.