Rain didn’t let David touch her. Every time he tried wrapping his arms around her, or even moving close to her so there was some physical contact between them, she gently pushed him away and covered herself up even more with the wrapper she had over her navy blue pyjamas, the old faded one she wore whenever she wanted D3 to know that she wasn’t in the mood for sex. She was sure David had sensed that something was wrong, but he didn’t push her to talk about it and she was thankful to him for that. It looked like he too had something on his mind, but because of the burden of guilt weighing on her conscience, she dared not let herself show that she cared.
Even when she got back home from work and he asked her why she was back so early, she grunted some inaudible stuff about her stomach and a bug and hurried into the bathroom just to be as far away from him as possible in their little apartment.
In the bathroom, she didn’t mind that the water was cold and that she only ever washed with hot water. Not worried about her hair getting wet, Rain stayed under the shower for close to an hour and in that time, she went through two medium-sized jars of shower gel and a bar of soap and she still felt dirty.
After the cleansing, which was what she was going for really, because of how easily she knew she fell for Chief Edozie’s spontaneous seduction, Rain remained in bed. David came into the room a couple of times to check up on her but whenever she heard his footsteps, she quickly turned her back against him or buried her face in the pillow.
One time, he sat on the bed and gently massaged her feet, but she didn’t respond to his question about how her day went and quite unlike her she didn’t open her eyes when he started to tell her about his. She didn’t open her eyes or flinch when he went on about hearing from credible sources, that Netima’s Kitchen, one of the biggest restaurants in the city was closing down and that the owners were asking for a ridiculously low price for the place.
Seeing as she was in no mood for a conversation, David returned to the parlour to continue with the English Premier League game he was watching on TV. After the game though, he returned with a tray loaded with fried plantain, scrambled eggs and a glass of warm milk. He also brought her a bowl of hot chicken soup he said he prepared specially for her. He told her jokingly that the soup was made with love and a secret ingredient that would help sooth her stomach in minutes, but Rain didn’t see the humour in that. She didn’t laugh and refused to eat the food.
Rain lied to David that she didn’t like the aroma of the soup so he took the tray away and brought her water instead. The truth, though, was that she didn’t trust her stomach to hold down any food because of the guilt eating up her insides.
She couldn’t forgive herself for doing the exact same thing that threatened her relationship and made her mad at David for weeks.
Rain was tempted to confess her transgression to her fiancé because after getting their fingers burnt on the bead incident, they made a promise to each other to be honest in all things and at all times never to keep anything away from one another.
Did she have to tell David that she had sex with another man? Rain wondered to herself. Her heart wanted him to know that she strayed and that it was a mistake that would never happen again, but her head questioned the rationality in doing that. She was scared that if she told him about what transpired between her and her boss in his office, David might call off the engagement and never speak to her again. Sleeping with Chief Edozie was a mistake that should never have happened and Rain hated herself letting him have his way with her and betraying David in the process.
On a night she should have been worrying about the disappearance of Mr. Wakama, she found herself thinking about Chief Edozie instead. Rain found herself thinking about what he did to her and the offer he dropped on the table afterwards and it annoyed her that her boss would even think that she would be swayed by his promise to take care of her and spoil her with money.
The deal he put on the table was to change her life if she agreed to be his mistress and hold off marrying David for about a year or so. Chief Edozie asked her to think about his offer, and she thought it was crazy for him to even think that she would be moved by words like that. She didn’t need him or his money to change her life. Rain believed that her education and intelligence were enough to take her to whatever heights she aspired, so money or other material things didn’t influence her. That was one thing about herself she didn’t intend to change. From an early age, she purposed in her heart not to be lured by any man, and Chief Edozie, no matter how tempting his offer was or how powerful and influential he was in the country, wasn’t going to make her deviate from her principles.
“Rain, did you hear what I said earlier about Netima’s Kitchen being up for sale?” David’s question cut through the sombre moment she was having.
Just then, it dawned on Rain that perhaps she shouldn’t be too quick in dismissing Chief Edozie’s offer. Maybe she didn’t need Padrino’s money for herself, but accepting it might help David realise his dream of starting a business of his own in Yenagoa.
Unable to ignore the soulful voice of Beyoncé repeatedly singing parts of the chorus to Spirits, from the Lion King soundtrack, which was the song Rain set as her ringtone when she changed her phone, David tapped his girlfriend gently on the shoulder a number of times until she woke up with a start.
Obviously, she had been having a nightmare and David’s intervention rescued her from whatever menacing situation she was contending with in that world. D3 asked her about it while handing her the phone but, clearly, Rain hadn’t gained sufficient composure to coherently explain why she was being chased down the street with sticks and stones by talking cats that all resembled Chief Edozie.
“I…I was having a bad dream. What is the time?” Rain chose to deflect instead of lying.
“A few minutes past midnight,” David replied.
“Who is it?” Rain asked, collecting the phone from her boyfriend.
“It’s your mother. I didn’t want to disturb your sleep, but seeing as it is very late and she wouldn’t stop calling, I’m guessing she must be calling about something really important, maybe even urgent. That is why I woke you up.”
Rain’s heart started to beat really fast. Someone in Port Harcourt must be in danger, hurt or dead for her mother to want to reach her so desperately at that time of the night.
“Mother! Is everything okay?”
“Sorry, my daughter, I know you must be sleeping – ”
“Mother, what is wrong? Where is Moroyei and – ”
“By the grace of God, nothing is wrong with your brother or any of us here. Everyone in Port Harcourt is fine,” Mrs. Tamuno added quickly to calm her daughter down. “There’s no need for you to be agitated. In fact, I was just saying to your father that if you didn’t answer my call after this ring, I would send you a text message so you’d know why I had to reach you at this time of the night, or is it night sef?”
“Mother, please tell me what is going on. I need to know if something bad has happened.” Rain still wasn’t convinced her mother was telling her the truth about everything being all right at home.
“We are all fine, Rain. I only wanted to inform you that your father and I would be coming to Yenagoa in the morning. He wants to see you desperately.”
“But why now, mother?”
“Don’t you think it is better late than never, Rain?” Mrs. Tamuno asked. “Please, we need the address to your office in case the network decides to act up or you are unable to come to the phone when we arrive.”
“Okay. I’ll text my office address to you if that’s why you’re calling,” Rain spoke quietly. She couldn’t hide the relief she felt that the call wasn’t to tell her that something bad had happened.
“Thanks, my dear.”
“That’s not a problem. Mother, I thought you said father was in Abuja?”
“He came back yesterday afternoon. But he’s going back to Abuja tomorrow and then he’d be travelling to America on Saturday. That is why we decided to make the trip to see you in Yenagoa immediately.”
“Okay. That’s fine.”
“Rain, your father really wants to talk to you.”
“Mother – ”
“Please just hear him out when he comes.”
“Okay, Mother, I will try my best to listen and stay calm.”
“That is all I ask. Meanwhile, I think you should also alert David of our visit. Your father and I would like very much to have dinner with our future son-in-law.”
“Okay, Mother. D3 is here with me, so I’d just tell him about it.”
“And that Don fellow, the one you say is one of your ogas at work, would it be possible for me to see him as well since your father and I would be in your office?”
It wasn’t until her mother brought up the name Don, that it hit Rain, how engrossed she had been with her unexpected sexual encounter with Chief Edozie and his subsequent proposal for her to be his lover.
Rain had spent the entire day rummaging over the incident and the consequences it might have on her relationship with David, and for her future in Edozie Express, that she completely forgot to call her mother and inform her that the man who was possibly responsible for the pregnancy that resulted in her birth twenty-seven years ago had gone missing.