David Spiff III looked at his wristwatch again. He had done that eleven times in the last three hours, but no one was counting. He knew Rain was supposed to be in Port Harcourt because of the message she received from home about her mother. But since she didn’t have a phone, there was no way of confirming her exact location or when she’d be back in Yenagoa.
When she called from the office to tell him that her boss had granted her permission to travel, she wanted to give him her brother’s phone number so they could stay in touch, but he didn’t think it was necessary. Now he wished he hadn’t been too hasty. His argument was that she was going for her mother, and checking up on his girlfriend every hour could be a distraction she didn’t want. In any case, she had his number so she could always call to let him know the situation with her family in Port Harcourt.
But Annabel’s text message came in and he wasn’t so sure he had made the right call by not taking a number he could reach her on. Something could have come up at work to make her change her mind about the trip and Rain could walk right through the door and spoil everything he had planned for the evening.
The plan was for Annabel to spend the night with him, but until he heard from Rain that she was really in Port Harcourt and wouldn’t be back for another day or two he would never be able to completely relax and enjoy the few hours of wild, crazy and forbidden sex they had arranged. David knew it was going to be wild and crazy because Annie was graphic about what she wanted them to do with each other and she promised to come with toys.
As for being forbidden, they hadn’t really talked about it, but Annie didn’t seem to mind that she and Rain were best friends.
“David, I didn’t come here to watch Money Heist with you. I hope you know that?”
“I know Annie. I’m just watching it to kill time.”
“Kill time? Guy, it’s been like three hours since I got here. I’ve made you spaghetti and fresh fish sauce. I’ve showered, and even slept and woken up like five times on the couch and you’re still watching Netflix. Aren’t we going into the room?”
“We will. I just want to monitor things for a bit,” David said rubbing the feet closest to where he sat.
“D3, I hope you know I have television in my house. Me, I’m tired of this Denver and Nairobi thing you’ve been watching since I got here, when the real Netflix and chill is right here beside you.”
“It’s just a few minutes past eight, Annie. Can we wait until I hear from Rain that she isn’t coming home before we start anything?”
“And how long do you want me to hold body?”
“Once it’s ten o’clock, I’ll know she wouldn’t be coming back whether I hear from her or not because Rain would never be on the road that late.”
“Rain isn’t coming back here tonight, David. I told you she called me too this morning. That’s why I sent you that message and made this arrangement to spend the night with you.”
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful. I don’t want Rain walking in on us when we are in the throes of passion.”
“So you don’t have plans to lock the door while we are at it?”
“Look Annie, because we don’t know for sure if Rain is in PH, we have to be cautious.”
“You keep forgetting that Rain isn’t just your girlfriend, she’s my best friend and I know her too. Probably even more than you do. There’s no way she’d be in this town and not be home by now. And if she’s in PH, then forget it. Nobody is going to be banging on your door at this time of the night.”
“Any of our neighbours could want something and then word would get to Rain.”
“You’re developing cold feet, David,” Annabel got up from the couch. “You want me to leave, don’t you?”
“I didn’t say that,” David said grabbing her by the hand. “This is the first time I’d be bringing any woman to this house since Rain moved in with me.”
“So you’re saying I’m any other woman? Do I look like any other woman to you? David, take a good look at me from head to toe and tell me I’m just any other woman.”
David didn’t have to look. He knew exactly what she looked like. In his eyes, if Mercy and Tacha from Big Brother Naija Pepper Dem season miraculously fused and became one person, the result would be Annabel. That was what he saw and he wanted what he saw. In fact, he had wanted it for a very long time.
“You’re not any other woman, Annie. You’re Rain’s best friend, and that’s even worse.”
“If you knew this, then why were you sending me pictures of your ribbed body and all those lewd text messages in the middle of the night? Why do you give me that look whenever Rain and I are together, and why did you ask me to come over?” Annabel brushed his hands aside and stormed into the bedroom to get her things.
“Annie, Annie…” David called, as he and his very erect penis followed her into the room and they didn’t come out until the next morning.
“Mother, you deceived me!”
“And I’m sorry I did that, Rain. But you know if I hadn’t told Moroyei to make that call, you wouldn’t be here.”
“Mother, so you and that mischievous brother of mine conspired to put me on the road from Yenagoa to Port Harcourt for two hours all for nothing?” Rain still hadn’t recovered from the shock of seeing her mother alive and well, nearly four hours after she got home.
“My daughter, it’s not for nothing. When last did you set foot in this house?” Rain didn’t have to search hard for the answer. She hadn’t seen her mother in more than five years and the last time she was in the family house was seven years ago, when her parents threw a lavish house-warming party she couldn’t lie her way out of attending.
“I know I should visit more often, Mother, but it’s hard. It’s really hard.”
“Twelve years is a long time, Rain. Don’t you think it is time to forgive and forget and truly let go of the past? I could really be dying Rain, and then we’d both be filled with regret for the wasted years.”
“But you’re not dying. If anything, you’re looking really hale and hearty and even more beautiful than I remember.”
“Forget how I look, my daughter, I’m a very sick woman. You can see for yourself that my feet are really swollen and the doctors can’t seem to figure out the cause. It’s getting harder and harder for me to move around. The swelling has affected my social life and my business, in fact the last doctor I saw said it could symptomatic of something more serious, maybe even deadly.”
“God forbid!” Rain exclaimed.
“God forbid, but those are the facts, my child. Why do you think I haven’t moved out of this room since you got here?” her mother asked.
Rain hadn’t thought about it, but hearing her mother say it, she realised it was true. She remembered her mother as a very lively and vivacious woman who could spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking and entertaining friends and relatives that trooped into their house in droves because of her father’s position as the General Manager of the Rivers state government owned brewing plant. It wasn’t until seven years ago after his retirement that they moved into this new sprawling mansion along Ada George road. But it wasn’t a house Rain was comfortable in or familiar with because she had only being inside once.
Those days, they lived in a big duplex in Trans Amadi, the industrial and commercial nerve centre of the bustling garden city. That house was a blend of her parents. The vibrant interior and exterior paintings, gardens and flowers were her mother, but the burnt bricks and heavy furniture was her father. It was a house with too many secrets. Dark things her mother probably believed, but never wanted to talk about.
“Moroyei told me about your leg, but he didn’t tell me it was this bad. If I had known, I would have come sooner.”
“Rain, I won’t hold it against you if you don’t visit because of the painful circumstances under which you left in the first place. That is why I made this move when I know your father was out of town. I don’t want you feeling uncomfortable with him around, because you and I never really spoke about what transpired in Trans Amadi.”
“I spoke about it, Mother, but you didn’t believe me.”
“You said he was drunk, Rain,” her mother sighed. “If he did it, maybe he didn’t know what he was doing.”
“You’re still defending him now, Mother, just as you did then.”
“Rain, I was scared. I wanted to believe you. I wanted to tell you I believed you. But believing you and admitting anything would have meant destroying him and all of us. I was in a difficult position, Rain, and taking sides with you against my husband wasn’t an option. I had to protect his reputation and his career, because doing otherwise would have been tantamount to throwing away the life he worked so hard to build for all of us.”
“A life I walked out of when I was only fifteen, fifteen years old, Mother. And I am still standing.”
“It’s not as easy as you think. Your father is a good man.”
“He is not my father mum, no father would do what that man did to me. I was a child, mum! I was only fifteen!”
Her mother struggled to get out of bed and walked slowly to the door with the help of a cane Rain hadn’t noticed on the ottoman at the foot of the bed all the while they were in the room. Mrs Tamuno locked the door and put the key in her brassiere. Rain stood up from the bed to join her mother at the door but she didn’t speak. Her mouth was open wide to say something, but she was too confused to make out any coherent words so she stood still by the door and waited for what her mother would do next.
“Rain, I think you need to sit down for what I’m about to say next.”
“Mother, why did you do that, why did you lock the door?”
“Because… I think it’s time you knew the whole truth and I don’t want you running out of here like you did twelve years ago. I want us to stay here in this room and trash it out once and for all.”
“What truth are you talking about?”
“The truth about your father.”
“He’s not my father!” Rain screamed at the top of her voice.
“I knew you were telling the truth twelve years ago, Rain,” her mother’s voice was a whisper. “My husband, Randall Tamuno, raped you.”
“Wait, I haven’t finished talking,” Mrs Tamuno cut in. “He raped you, but he didn’t rape his daughter because you are not his daughter.”
Rain’s entire body suddenly went cold as if someone turned down the temperature in the room.
“What are you saying, Mother?”
“You are his stepdaughter. A child I had with another man before I married him.”