“Rain, I need more cream in my coffee.” The request for more cream was made yesterday in the house. Rain was bringing his wife the cream she had asked for when her phone rang. Her boss’ wife was mad that Rain placed the caller above her coffee. In annoyance, Mrs Edozie did the unthinkable. Her action was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Rain’s back had long been pushed beyond the wall and it emboldened her to speak up against the tyranny of the family.
Rain wanted to go out and see the city at night, but Chief Edozie said he didn’t feel up to it. He told her he’d rather stay in, order room service and enjoy a quiet evening with her. He also told her he was tired and that he knew for certain they’d run into someone from home if they ventured out to a bar, restaurant or nightclub. Chief Edozie said he wouldn’t like that for her because she had told Ohita and her other colleagues at work that she was going to Port Harcourt to visit her sick mother.
Even though he made a valid point, Rain didn’t give in immediately to his argument. She pleaded with him to allow her to go out alone if he wasn’t in the mood for socializing. She told Chief Edozie that she had friends in the city from when she worked there briefly as the Personal Assistant to the wife of a bank CEO. Rain noticed that reminding him of this and bringing up her friends made Chief agitated and even more adamant that they stayed in his room.
“I thought I told you not to tell anyone about this trip?” His voice was surprisingly stern and Rain found herself fidgeting like a recalcitrant teenager before her parents.
“I didn’t tell anyone.”
“But you just said you want to go and hang out with your friends. That means that they know you are in Abuja with me.”
“Chief, no one knows I am in Abuja. I didn’t tell anyone in Yenagoa I was traveling with you. As for my friends here, I haven’t called any of them yet.”
“The thought of contacting some of them only crossed my mind now because you wouldn’t go out with me,” Rain explained further.
“Rain, this is not about me not wanting to go out with you, it is about us being careful. I know I have a reputation as a womanizer, but I am still a married man and a public figure. I cannot afford to be seen and even photographed in certain places. Privacy is everything to me, that is why my rule with all the women I have been with is discretion.”
When he said that, Rain stopped arguing. She knew she wasn’t supposed to reveal her location to anyone, because Chief had warned her not to. In truth, she had no intention of calling anyone because she wanted to be alone and just clear her thoughts. Her real reason for wanting to go out was not because she was in search of fun, but because she wanted to delay having sex with Chief Edozie. She knew it would happen at some point in that first night, but she wanted to put it off for as long as she possibly could.
Rain didn’t think anything about Chief’s reluctance to go out with her. She understood his position. What she didn’t understand however was why they didn’t stay in Transcorp Hilton like he told her before they left Yenagoa. Instead of having the driver that picked them from the airport drive towards Maitama, he headed to Asokoro. The property they pulled up in was a boutique hotel in a beautiful gated compound in a part of Asokoro she wasn’t familiar with. The place had the most colourful and exotic flowers Rain had ever seen in her life. Immediately they got down from the car and she discovered it was their final stop, it struck Rain as odd that the hotel had no name or signage on display and that there were only two cars in the parking lot as at the time of their arrival. She could have expressed her concern, but apparently Chief Edozie wasn’t a stranger to the two ladies manning the front desk.
With nowhere to go, after they had dinner and showered separately, they both got into bed and Chief immediately pulled her close to him so she could feel his want.
First, he grabbed her breasts and made her face him so he could kiss her lips. His hands were all over her body and this time he wasn’t as gentle as that first time in his office. When he was irreversibly aroused, he brought out a condom from under the pillow where he kept his stash. While he struggled with the wrapper, Rain closed her eyes and conjured David into the room. It was the only way she thought she would enjoy making love to Chief. In her mind, it was better her cheating ex-boyfriend than her married former boss, husband of her current boss, a man she revered, and someone old enough to be her father. But D3 only stayed for a few seconds because Edozie was in charge and the manliness of him could not be wished away so easily. He came at her like he had demons to excise but the longer he thrust, the more she felt him relax and the aura of disquiet he exuded earlier in the day completely vanished.
When it was over, Rain excused herself to use the bathroom. Even before she turned on the shower, she heard Chief Edozie Snoring loudly and it made her smile that a man as powerful as he was would want her so badly.
“The treatment will take a toll on you. It will ravage your body for months and people will ask questions. When they see you, they will wonder about your drastic weight loss and the lacerations on your body. You might also experience hair loss and sometimes you might have really bad dreams that would seem very real. When all these things happen, do not be afraid. It is the sign that the sacrifice is getting to the right places.”
“So, all these things you mentioned will happen to me?”
“Yes. It will be the sign that what we are doing, and what you are paying for is working.”
“But the weight loss and hallucinations you mentioned, are they not things that happen to people with cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy?”
“Good, so when people ask what is happening with you, you can just tell them you are recovering from cancer.”
“Even my children? Do you think I should tell them I have cancer? Baba Iperu, it will terrify them.”
“I know they will be scared, but what else can we say? The treatment for cancer results in almost the same changes your body will experience so we might as well stick to that story. I have had to deal with many cancer patients in my shrine, but this thing that will happen to you will be worse.”
“Would you come to Yenagoa to stay with me as I undergo this transformation?”
“Chief, I have my business to think about. I have other patients I am treating too you know, and I do not know how they will cope if I operated from Yenagoa. The competition in this business is stiff and I don’t want to lose any customers. Besides, I do not think that the senior and junior Iya Iperu would like that at all. Who will be servicing them when I am away?”
“I know Iperu is not a hop, skip, and a jump from Yenagoa but they can visit anytime they want. I have guesthouses all over Yenagoa and if your preference is a hotel, that too can be arranged.”
“You know what chief, let us cross that bridge when we get to that point. For now, the focus, our focus should be on preparing the perfect sacrifice for the gods since the last item is in place and the blood is still very fresh.”
“Baba Iperu, what do I do with the blood?”
“You have to drink it.”
“All of it?”
“To the very last drop.”
Chief Edozie takes the cup from Baba Iperu and as he puts it in his mouth, he wakes up with a start. Rain was right there beside him on the bed.
“Chief, are you okay? It looks like you were having a bad dream.”
“It’s nothing, my dear. Go back to sleep.”
“Are you sure, Chief? You were mumbling things in your sleep.”
“I told you I am okay. I was just having a bad dream. You dream as well, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. For many years I had nightmares about –” Rain was on the verge of telling Chief Edozie about her recurring nightmare of being raped by her step-father but she heard Chief Edozie snoring again so she went back to sleep.
“Rain, sorry I forgot to mention to you earlier. Something came up and we have to travel somewhere. A very good friend of mine and business associate is being crowned Oba tomorrow and I would like you to come with me.” Chief Edozie mentioned casually to Rain during breakfast.
“Oh wow! Where’s that?”
“Somewhere in Ondo state. But we would not be staying there long. We will just hop in and hop out. I really did not plan on going but he kept sending me messages all through yesterday and now I must show up. Especially because he came to my birthday party.”
“And we’d be going back to Yenagoa from there?”
“I don’t think I packed anything I can wear to a coronation though?” Rain smiled.
“The driver can take you shopping when the stores open.”
“So I do not forget, please do not mention this to anybody because I did not tell Ohita about the trip. She would be mad if she finds out I went for the coronation by myself because she wanted us to go together.”
“Chief, I know. The password is discretion.” Chief Edozie chuckled at her joke. “You know when you started talking, I thought you were going to say your friend died and that I should accompany you to his burial. Honestly, I would have declined.”
“You don’t like funerals?” Chief Edozie asked. “I noticed you were late to Wakama’s commendation service.”
“Yes, I was. I almost didn’t attend the burial.”
“Why wouldn’t you be at a co-worker’s burial?”
Rain hesitated, but she knew she couldn’t pass on the opportunity to take off the heavy burden she had been carrying all alone on her tiny shoulders. She felt she could confide in Chief Edozie because he was older and wiser. Besides, she couldn’t imagine him discussing her with anyone else or revealing the secret about her past she wanted to share with him.
“Chief, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“What it is, Rain?”
“I haven’t had the courage to share this with anyone yet, but I feel I can confide in you especially now that we have this thing going on.” From the corner of her eyes, Rain could see Chief Edozie nodding his head and encouraging her to speak. “I was late to Mr. Wakama’s burial because I felt guilty to be there.”
“Why on earth would you feel guilty when you are not responsible for his death?”
“I don’t know, Chief. I just feel really, really guilty because I have reason to believe that Mr. Wakama was my father.”
Chief Edozie didn’t realize when his jaw dropped.
“Wakama is your father?”
“Yes Chief, I only just found out from my mother.”
“But I met your father in the office the other day. He was there with your mother that morning they stopped by to see you. You introduced him to me as your father. We even chatted for a bit.” Chief Edozie sounded desperate as if willing his statement to be true.”
“That man I introduced to you isn’t my biological father. Because I grew up with him, I thought he was, but I just found out the truth from my mother. There’s no DNA test result to prove it yet, but Donald Wakama may be my biological father.”
Chief Edozie put his hands on his chest. He wanted to speak, but the pounding in his heart wouldn’t let the words out.
The last thing he remembered before hitting the ground was Rain screaming for help.