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Thursday, July 25, 2024


“We need to talk now,” he said, turning to face Dad. “In private,” he added, giving Teni a dirty look.

“Please excuse us,” Dad said to Teni after heaving a huge sigh. I’m sure he could already tell it would be a long night. Teni stood there like she hadn’t heard what Dad had said. She looked like she was still contemplating whether to leave.

“Leave this room now,” Steve screamed in anger, frightening even me. You could tell he was trying hard to stop himself from harming Teni, who immediately ran out afterward. I’m sure even she could tell that staying longer could put her life at risk. Steven and Dad went into the inner room to have a tête-à-tête after she left, leaving a confused Mum and me behind.

It didn’t seem to have gone so well because Dad stormed out of the inner room after about 30 minutes of arguing, only to drive off again with Teni.

“What’s the matter, Steven? Please explain to me what is going on?” Mum begged when Steven joined us.”Why did Dad rush out like that?” I added, still very concerned about the madness that had been going on for the past hour. “I think I’m going to have to get you that apartment you asked for,” he said, turning to face Mum. “You might have to stay at my place for a few days before then,” he added.

“You still haven’t answered the question,” I probed further, “what happened between you and Dad?”

“Mum, pack your bags,” he continued, ignoring my question and walking towards the door, “I’ll be back to pick you up tomorrow evening.””I’m still waiting for my answer,” I shouted, rushing to stop him from leaving.”I’m not in the mood to talk right now,” he said, shaking his head frantically as he walked out.

Dad didn’t come back home that night. I couldn’t wait till the next day for any explanations because having to wait would give me sleepless nights. So I called Steven before going to bed; I figured by then, he’d have been calm enough to answer my questions, and I was right. Teni and Steven had a short fling that I never knew about sometime in the past; as I mentioned earlier, Steven was the kind of man who had very little time for women. He was all about his business and considered women to be distractions.Occasionally, when he wasn’t too caught up with work, he had only enough time for flings with any lady considered attractive at the time; it was during one of his less busy periods thathe met Teni.

Being the blunt man he was, he had warned her from the start that their relationship would be mainly for sexual pleasure as he wasn’t ready for any commitment. She willingly agreed, probably thinking she would never fall for him, or he would change his mind. Unfortunately for her, she started falling for him almost immediately. She eventually let her feelings get the best of her and started getting jealous when she saw him speaking to other women, even if he was just asking for the time.

Eventually, Steven noticed and didn’t waste time cutting off all ties with her. The fling ended up lasting barely a month. Even though Teni refused to acknowledge that it was over, she tried everything she could to make Steven fall in love with her, including faking a pregnancy. But it never worked. She was heartbroken and vowed to pay Steven back for breaking her heart.

I suspect dating Dad must’ve been part of the payback but what baffles me is how she was able to find out who Dad was and find her way into his pants. It suddenly dawned on me that she had pretended to be shocked when I ran into her and Dad at the restaurant while knowing what she was doing.

I decided that I would leave the house too if Mum did. I couldn’t stand suffering the torture of being alone in the same place as Dad and Teni. So I packed my bags, ready to follow. I didn’t care if the house would be overcrowded, or we would be at risk of infections like meningitis which usually spread in crowded living conditions. I knew I wasn’t staying back in my father’s house and moving in with Nonso was out of the question.

I must admit that I exaggerated when I mentioned we were at risk of getting meningitis. I was just trying to prove a point. The truth is that meningitis is usually spread in more crowded living conditions like dormitories or situations where too many people are sharing a room with poor ventilation. It’s an infection of the membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord caused by viruses, bacteria, and in rare cases, fungi. It can spread by coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing cutlery, and sharing toothbrushes. It may be life-threatening sometimes. That’s why it is vital to ensure all family members, including yourself and your children, are vaccinated against the infection.

I guess the doctor in me wouldn’t be satisfied if I mentioned a medical condition without explaining it. That’s probably why I always go out of my way to explain every medical condition that comes up. Nevertheless, movie production and directing will always be my first love.The next day dragged very slowly. I was very touchy and kept snapping at everyone around me. I was frustrated at how my family was slowly becoming a mess with my dad acting very irrational, Mum and I having to move out, and Steve vowing never to speak to Dad again. I just wished everything could go back to how it was when Dad had little money; at least we were happy then.During lunchtime, I thought about Nonso and how talking to him would’ve made me feel better, he hadn’t tried calling me since we parted ways on the plane, and I hadn’t called him either. After much contemplation, I decided to swallow my pride and give him a call. I was about to pick up my phone when it rang. I looked at the screen— it was Nonso calling.

I was too shocked even to react. Nonso had never been one to apologise, especially when he didn’t think he was at fault. And even when he was, he’d do everything to make up for his mistakes rather than apologise. So I didn’t understand why he was calling.”Hello,” I said, picking up the phone.”Sonia, I’m sorry for how I acted towards you … ” He began.

Nonso apologising? I must be hearing things, I thought to myself.

“… I need your help now,” he sounded desperate.

I realised he was calling because he needed my help. I should’ve known better than to think otherwise.”What do you need my help for?” “I’m calling from the police station,” he replied.”Police station?” I gasped, “what on earth are you doing there?””I was arrested last night.””Arrested?” I repeated, very puzzled, “for doing what?” He was about to say something, then paused for a while.”I can’t explain over the phone. I need you to come as soon as possible,” he begged.

After hanging up the phone, I was as confused as ever. Worries over Nonso had replaced all the previous worries about my family in my mind. What could he possibly have done to get himself into trouble, and why was he reluctant to say it over the phone? I couldn’t come up with any explanation that made sense. I slammed the phone on my desk, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. It appeared everything that possibly could go wrong did—all in one week.

Find out what happens next in Episode 14

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