AUTHOR: OGECHI ALABI
When she returned to Nigeria, she stopped communicating with Efe. He was hurt. He felt she was playing with him. After a week, he reached out. She responded. She sounded formal but she talked to him. He asked when he will see her again. She said they could work on that when they checked their schedules. She was so official with him. He didn’t want that.
“When can I talk to you and you will be able to talk to me freely?”
“When I get home. And not on this line.”
“I couldn’t reach you on the other it was switched off. I want to talk to you.”
“Our next …”
“I will call tonight and we can talk about it.”
He tried to understand Esther but he couldn’t. Why was she so distant after an amazing three weeks? He felt he was caught in her web again. He decided to listen to her but if he wasn’t comfortable with her methods, he would count his losses and leave. He had someone who liked him and his children very much.
They spoke that evening. It was then Esther buttressed the friends-with-benefits arrangement. She didn’t want an emotional relationship with him. He felt bad. He thought they could at least be friends but from what she was saying, she wanted a sex partner whenever it was convenient for her. She didn’t care about his feeling.
“Don’t alter your life because of me. I don’t want to have several lovers that was why I came back to you. If you feel it will be difficult for you to stick to the terms, let us not do it. I understand perfectly. I want my marriage and my home and I also want to have good sex when I can. I am extremely busy now, try and understand my plight,” was what Esther said to him.
“Jake has turned you into an unfeeling monster. What are you talking about? I told you everything about me. I got your message but for you to spend three weeks with me and even had your period while you were there and then switch off when you returned tells a lot about you. You used me and now you are dumping me.”
Esther heard the hurt in his voice and said, “I apologise for my behaviour. I don’t want you to think we are getting back together. If I didn’t feel anything for you, would I have had sex with you? I don’t want feelings to cloud our judgement. You have a girlfriend, stick with her. I won’t leave Jake. If we agree on these terms then I can be comfortable talking with you knowing we understand each other.”
“It is always the same. You can never leave Jake for me and I have come to accept it. Don’t make it obvious I am only a means to an end. A message about your arrival would have been nice. If we want to do this, it has to be worth it. We can exchange videos and pictures to get ready for our next exploration. You can’t just ask for sex and I will be ready for you. We need to look forward to it.”
“Once we understand the boundaries, I am fine with it.”
“I will be in Nigeria by December. I intend to spend three weeks. Would you be available?”
“I will make myself available.”
“Before I come down, we will exchange videos and ideas on what we want to do. I will becoming with the kids and Rachel. I will take them to Warri to be with my folks. But, we will spend some time in Lagos. I would love you to meet my kids.”
“I don’t think it is a good idea.”
“As friends and nothing more. We could make it seem like we bumped into each other. Please.”
“What of your girlfriend?”
“What of Jake?”
“Do you intend to marry her?”
“It’s looking likely.”
“And you will still do this with me?”
“As long as you want me to. You know why.”
“If you don’t love her, why do you want to marry her?”
“I need stability in my life. I need someone who would not want much from me emotionally and Rachel fits the bill. She isn’t demanding of my time and affection.”
“But you will not flaunt your escapades, right?”
“I won’t disrespect her like that. The kids love her too.”
“Hmmm. Give me a three weeks’ notice when you are coming to Nigeria so I can make myself available.”
Jake came back and suddenly he noticed Esther and wanted to have sex with her. Esther declined. She said she was fat and shapeless so he should find the girls that had what he wanted. He apologised several times but Esther refused. He couldn’t force her but there was a deal he needed her cooperation for.
He applied pressure. He bought her a brand-new high-end car. She liked it but she wasn’t interested in boring sex and she told him.
‘You want me to give it to you as I give it to them? Are you sure you won’t run away?”
“Why would I? The children are in school and we have the whole house to ourselves.”
“We can’t do it here, we will check into a hotel.”
Esther was excited. She wanted to experience something different from what she had with Efe. Efe was too self-conscious and careful not to hurt her while the pain gave her pleasure. Jake was sadistic when he was with her. She liked it.
At the hotel, Jake smoked weed and wanted her to join him, but she refused. He finished two big wraps and drank too. She sat in the room while he puffed at the balcony. When he came in, he was high. He told her he didn’t want to do hard drugs in her presence.
She had bathed and changed into lingerie. He told her, “I am in charge of your pleasure tonight. I will use you the way I want to and you can’t say no. Once I instruct you, say, yes pappy.” He spanked her on her bum. Esther’s excitement began to fade. She had cold chills. Jake tied her two hands with scarves to the two edges of the bed. He touched her in a way that made her even more scared. He did so many demeaning things to her, he called her a slave and a cheap slut, and he asked her if she had been with anyone and she denied it. He whipped her. “You’re a slut. Insatiable slut. What did he do to you? Where did he touch you? Is he better than me?” he whipped her as he said these things. Esther believed he knew about Efe. She was scared at this point until he forcefully entered her. He spoke dirty as he thrust into her still calling her a slave and slut. When he was about to explode he choked her and rested his weight on her neck. She passed out as he came. It took a while for her to wake up.
“Do you now understand why I don’t do this with you? The girls are so experienced and know what to do when the chokehold is too tight. I could have killed you. Did you enjoy it?” he asked.
“No, I didn’t. I don’t think I like this one. Calling me a slave or slut is a no-no. Enjoy your girls and allow me to live.”
“But I have to make love with you, you are my wife. I have to keep you happy.”
‘I will have to be alive first before I can be happy. The first time was good but when you spoke weed, you are like a beast. I prefer it when you are not high.”
“I have heard. Take a bath and let’s sleep.”
That night, Esther wished she could sneak to Efe. The first craziness with Jake was a fluke. This wasn’t what she wanted. She enjoyed every bit of her adventure with Efe. What was she to do?
Jake flew out the next day. Esther told him when he was packing that she felt like a single mother since he spent most of his time outside the home. He only spared a few weeks and he didn’t spend it with them but at work. Jake promised to make it up. Esther told him, “Money can’t buy the time we spend together as a family. You are not even a father to your children. Anyway, I will show them the things you bought for them. I told you about their visiting day”
“Esther, please don’t nag. I will make it up for you.”
“Ok. Have a safe trip.” And he left.
In December Efe came with his family as he had said. He met Esther at the restaurant she picked out. He was happy to see her and she was too. They agreed to use a week to clear out their schedules so they could spend a week together. It was a good plan. Efe wanted to kiss her in the car but she declined. She drove him back to his hotel while they planned their next move after they had freed their schedule. Efe was to make the hotel reservation. Jake was not around so they exchanged videos and chatted about what they wanted to try. Esther was thrilled about being open with him although she got shy along the way.
The day she was taking her kids to Sapele to stay with her folks who came back from Kebbi for the Christmas holiday was the same Efe was travelling with his family to Warri. She never mentioned to him she was travelling with them. They all met at the airport. Efe was surprised to see her. Her children were older than his. She didn’t see him, he saw her first.
He told Rachel he just saw a friend of his. He went over to meet Esther. Esther was surprised to see him. He met her kids. They seemed more interested in the gadgets than him. He begged her to come and meet his kids. He introduced her to Rachel. Rachel was pretty and white. He never told her that. She met his kids. They greeted her and she smiled. They were well-behaved children. Rachel seemed to be in control of them.
Efe asked, “Where are you going?”
“Sapele to drop them with my folks.”
“We are going to Warri. How long are you staying?”
“I am leaving for Lagos today. I have a very busy schedule.”
‘I’ll be back next week.”
“I am sure your mother will be glad to see you and your family.”
The conversation was getting awkward but Efe wanted her to stay and talk. She eventually excused herself and went back to her children. She avoided eye contact with Efe. He chatted with her.
Efe: Do you have another lover?
Esther: Why do you ask?
Efe: You look so sexy.
Esther: Your woman is beside you; behave yourself.
Efe: I can’t when you are around me. What are you wearing underneath the skirt?
Efe: What type and colour? Take a picture of it in the bathroom and send it to me.
Esther: I won’t do that. Stop!
Efe: Colour and type?”
Esther: Black lace panties.
Efe: I would have used my mouth to take them off.
Esther: While this is exciting, your babe is peeping into your phone.
The conversation ended. They were on the same flight. Esther and her kids flew business class. Efe and his family flew economy. Esther avoided contact with Efe when they left the airport. She didn’t want to answer questions.
At home, Efe’s mother called him to a private meeting. He thought it had to do with Rachel but it wasn’t. She said her pastor saw a vision of Efe hitting it big very soon. “Prayer. He said you should pray hard and stay away from sin.”
“He said the lady you will marry will make you very rich. She came with wealth in her body to the world.”
“Mama, how does that even happen? How does someone come from heaven with money? How did they carry it in the womb?”
“He said your wife is someone I will reject but he warned me not to reject any girl you bring. I have accepted.”
“So, have you accepted Rachel?”
“She is a nice girl but she is not the one.”
“She is not the one? How come?”
“The prophet said you know the one.”
“But the one doesn’t want me but her husband,” he thought to himself. She was in Sapele right now with her family. He could have gone there to see her but then it showed how helplessly in love he was with her. He shouldn’t have picked up her call that day. He was shocked when he saw the caller that he ran out of the meeting room and picked up the call. Why he had strong feelings for her, he couldn’t understand. He didn’t want her to be with another person. He didn’t care who the person was but he didn’t want it. He wanted her to himself.
As he thought about her, he didn’t hear what his mother was saying. He was stuck in his thoughts. He also didn’t hear Rachel talk to him when he went back to their wing of the house. He had built a house for his parents and another for himself and his family. His sisters had gotten married and left the compound. He was tempted to see Esther before she leaves. The temptation was too much.
He called her. Luckily she answered the call. He asked how she was doing. She responded. He knew from her response she was not free to talk. He asked what time her flight was, she told him it was by 4:00 pm. He was quiet for a few seconds and then he asked, “Can I see you before you leave?”
“Because I am going crazy here knowing you are only a few hours away from me and I can’t touch you. Do you have an idea what I want to do to you right now? Come to Warri, I will find an excuse to sleep out. You can leave for Lagos early tomorrow morning. Please. I want you so bad.”
Read – Sisterhood episode 81
Esther ended the call. She ate starch and banga soup before she left for the airport. She sent a message to Efe to meet her at the airport. When her father’s driver dropped her off, she went inside the airport. Efe called to let her know he was outside. She came out to meet him. He looked at her and she looked back at him.
“I’m here. What do you want?”
“I want you.”
“Let’s go then. We have only two hours before I have to be back here to fly.”
“It’s not enough.”
“How long do you need?”
“A whole night.”
“That can wait until you come back to Lagos.”
“It can’t. You will miss your flight. Let’s go.”
She missed her flight. She told her driver to return in the morning to pick her up from the airport in Lagos. She told her mother her flight was cancelled so she was in Warri. She switched off her phone and spent the night with Efe.
Efe sent a message to Rachel and his mother. He said he was hanging out with friends and might not return until morning. It was shocking to his mother because she knew he had no friends. Rachel got the children ready for bed and went to sleep. She was used to him.
As Efe dropped Esther off at the airport. He kissed her passionately and he said, “I can’t separate my feelings for you from what we are doing. I want you, Esther. I want to be with you every day. I accepted this because it was the only way I could get close. Leave Jake and be with me.”
“I can’t. I have betrayed him by having sex with you, how then do I leave him for no good reason.”
“Ok. After our plans for next week, I don’t think I continue with this. My feelings are getting in the way. Let me marry Rachel and move on.”
‘Why do you always have to be like this? Why give me conditions? If you love me, you wouldn’t. I can’t leave Jake yet.”
“I will continue unless you tell me if your feelings are also involved.”
“I have separated them. Please, I don’t want anything serious.”
“We shall see.”
As he drove off, he knew once he gets back to America, he will cut ties with her for the sake of his mental health. He had always been the second best in her life.
As he settled down at home, he received a call. A contract he had been pursuing for almost six years was approved. He had to leave for the US immediately. He couldn’t believe it. His mother’s prophet might be right after all.
When he went to tell his mother he was leaving for America and about the contract she asked him, “Who were you with last night?”
“Just be careful. You wear your emotions on your sleeves so we know more than we need to know. If you don’t love this Rachel, let her go.”
“What makes you believe I was with a woman?”
“Efe, you don’t wear lipgloss, especially nude colour. That was why I gave you the tissue to clean your mouth. If you don’t want Rachel, let her go.”
Efe had to postpone their plans. Esther was restless. She was scared he had abandoned her. But he kept in touch. He promised to make it up to her. She focused on her work. She had a lot to do. His family went back to America alone as he was so busy he couldn’t come back to Warri.
Jake called Esther. He needed some documents from his room sent to him via courier urgently. Esther had to find the key to his room among the several keys to the house she had kept somewhere. She opened his room and helped him look for the documents. She found it but she also found documents in a black envelope. She had never seen a black envelope before so brought it out to her room and locked his room. She gave her drivethe documents to send to Jake.
Then she settled down to see what was in the black envelope. She was surprised to find out her husband was selling drugs. He brought them to Nigeria and other African and Asian countries. Jake made billions from these transactions. Her husband owned houses all over the world. She was not aware he was still dealing drugs. She thought it was a scam he was doing. She felt betrayed. He swore to her he would never do drugs again and he had been doing it and making money.
She didn’t discuss the issue until Jake came back in January. The children had come back from their holiday with her parents. She got them ready for school and then she faced Jake. She wanted to know when he decided to continue dealing drugs without telling her. They had a big argument. Jake called her derogatory names for checking the envelope. Esther accepted but told him to be watchful.
“Your end is near. I and my children cannot be associated with your current business. I would rather you stay away from here than come here to compound issues for us. I will not eat proceeds from a business that ruins people’s lives. Jake, we were doing well on our own before your greed set in. They will come for you.”
“ Is that a threat? Do you want to report me? You have been dodging me all this while. You have found a new lover and he taught you to disrespect me. You stole a document from my room. Explain why you didn’t just ignore it?”
They went back and forth for some minutes before Esther called him a pervert. He got angry. “I’m a pervert, right? You that was begging me to sleep with you. Do you think I didn’t notice you had surgery? All because you wanted me to treat you like the whore you are. Well, I am a pervert and you are a whore so what is left? I will treat you like the whore you are and give it to you the way you like it.” He ripped her clothes off her body. She was shouting and crying for help but no one heard her. He roughly threw her and the bed. She begged him to stop but he didn’t listen to her plea. He forcefully had sex with her. He was so callous about it. As he thrust, he called her names and finally when he was done he called her worthless. Esther lay on the bed motionless. She had stopped crying and screaming. He stood up and went into the bathroom. She was still on the bed. He left her in the room and went out.
Esther thought about her life. She wondered what she saw in Jake to have dated him. Sure he was ok in terms of looks but that was all. What attracted her to him? Was it the money or the fact he made her feel like he couldn’t do without her? She was worried because since she knew him, he hadn’t impacted positively. Sure they had money but that was all. He didn’t love her or care for her the way she deserved to be loved. She didn’t want the money, she was ready to start afresh. But why did Jake choose her if he didn’t love her? There was nothing special about her that made Jake insist on being with her. Since he could get his pleasures anywhere he liked, why wouldn’t he let her go? The humiliation of what happened and for him to call her worthless like she was a piece of rag, she cried some more. She cried bitterly as though she lost someone very precious.
Jake realised he messed up after he had left the house. He called her to pacify her but she rejected his calls. He was worried she would leave, he couldn’t afford for that to happen. He called the house security and asked them not to allow her to leave the house. When she didn’t make any attempt to leave the house, he came back home.
Esther didn’t speak with him. She locked herself inside her room for days refusing to eat or even see him. Jake waited for a week before he took off hoping to resolve issues but Esther was not having it. He had a big transaction in Brazil and he didn’t want anything to disrupt it. He sent several apology messages to her. He ordered different things for her so she would forgive him and even paid for them to be expressly delivered. They stayed in front of her door until Jake travelled. She left them there and never opened them. This time around, she was done. She planned to travel out with the children. She wanted to travel to an African country where Jake would find it difficult to find them. She needed an expert to help her disappear.
As she was making the plans to leave the home, she tried to resume work but she was stopped. Jake had instructed them not to allow her to leave the house. He had also tracked her line and was checking who she was speaking with. She knew she had to be smart. She sent a message to Funke letting her know she was held captive in her home by Jake. She told Funke about the phone being tracked and the numbers she called were scrutinised.
Funke came to the house to see her. The security allowed her to come in. Esther took her into her bedroom where they could have some privacy.
“I told uncle Tobi about this and he advised me to get two new phones and lines for you registered under other people’s names. You can call me and him on those lines. What could have happened for him to hold you captive?”
“We had a misunderstanding. It escalated and then he decided to keep me here against my will.”
“Uncle Tobi wants the details, he will help you get out of here.”
Esther handed Funke a piece of paper. “Call my stepmother. Please bring her to come to Lagos so she can take my children away from school to a place safe where Jake cannot find them for now. She has to switch off her phones and leave them with my father. It is important. Tell her I said the pastor was right. She should give you her new number so I can reach her when I leave here.”
“Will the school release them to your mother?”
“She is there as a guardian and in case of emergency. She goes to pick them up from school when I am not in town. They know her very well. She needs to get here by tomorrow.”
“It will be done. What are in the boxes in front of your door?”
“Gifts he wanted to use to pacify me.”
After Funke left, Esther packed her valuable documents, jewellery collections, some clothes and other personal effects. She had eight boxes filled and there were still more. She didn’t want anyone to know what she was up to. She went into her children’s room early hours of the morning when all their domestic staff were asleep. She packed her children’s personal effects. She picked out things the kids might want to take with them. She moved the bags into her room and hid them in the wardrobe.
While she was working in the children’s room, the new phone rang several times. When she saw the missed calls, she called back the number. It was uncle Tobi. He wanted to know what happened. She told him they had a misunderstanding and he locked her in. She refused to give details. She wanted to leave the house with her luggage, that was all. Uncle Tobi agreed to help.
She returned another call on the phone and it was Funke. Her stepmother had arrived at her house and they would be picking up the children the following morning. She was glad. She promised to tell her stepmother everything after she had escaped from captivity but for now, she wanted her children retrieved and taken away to a place Jake wouldn’t find them.
It worked. She was able to get the children to safety. When uncle Tobi had taken possession of them, she called her stepmother on the phone thanking her for the help. She told her it was time for her to leave Jake. She had been stupid enough and this time, she would win.
Jake blocked every avenue for the police to get involved in the case. He needed Esther in the house for his transaction to go through. He knew she was angry but her anger will subside with time. He paid the staff heavily to betray Esther. The police had come there many times but they were not allowed in without a warrant. Jake made sure they never got a warrant. He settled all those involved.
The deal pulled through after two weeks of keeping Esther in captivity. He shared the money and credited all of Esther’s accounts. He wanted her to know how much money he made from the transaction and shut her up. Jake believed every woman had a price and he believed Esther loved money. He was surprised when she didn’t want the money he kept in her accounts calling it dirty money. She was changing. She was no longer the girl who was happy to be with him. He expected her to acknowledge the fund he had just transferred to her but she didn’t. She refused to speak with him and still left his gifts outside her door. He put more strict conditions in motion. She wasn’t allowed any visitors no matter what. She called her stepmother and asked for prayers. The poor woman was confused.
————————————————————————Jake decided to celebrate his win. Three young girls were brought for his pleasure. They smoked and used drugs together. He watched them ‘play’ together before he joined them. As he was ejaculating into one of them, he choked her. He squeezed so hard that she became unconscious. He fell asleep shortly after.
After some time, she didn’t wake up. The other girls became worried. They tried to wake her up but still no response. One of the girls ran out of the room in search of help. The hotel management stepped in and called a doctor. The doctor pronounced her dead. Jake was still asleep while all this was going on. They checked him but he was alive. He was very high and traces of heroin were on the table. The hotel management invited the police. They arrested Jake. That was when his nightmare began.