Thorn Between

Thorn between episode 77




The guys at the camp came for me but I ensured I was not available for their amusement. I found out what most of them were doing and I made sure I did not partake of it. Paschal saw me every Sunday until I left camp. He brought me a delicious lunch each time he came and some provisions. We had our privacy and we kissed each time we were alone. He had stolen my heart and possessed my body.

I left the camp for Dumebi’s house. I was posted to Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte Metta. I was surprised at my posting there, and then I remembered Paschal said he would influence it. I had to get accommodation around there. I come from Victoria Island to the mainland every day, it would be stressful. I mentioned it to Paschal, and he assured me he had it covered. He got a place for me to stay at Alaka estate. One of his patients lived there and had a boys’ quarters that was not in use and was willing to allow me to live there. The place had just been structurally renovated when I first saw it and was still messy, but by the second visit, Paschal had the place cleaned, painted and had minor repairs done. I loved it and asked how much the rent was. He told me not to worry, he had it covered. I went with my sister to buy the necessities for the apartment. She bought me a bed, mattress, dressing table, a gas cooker and cylinder, a fridge with freezer, plates, cutlery, pots, pans etc. Dumebi bought almost everything I needed for the home. We went there that evening, and Paschal was there with a new wardrobe. The kitchen cabinet had also been installed before we arrived. He changed the lighting and the shower to a more modern one. We worked together while Dumebi watched us. He put a rug in the sitting room and the bedroom before the bed was assembled. I felt he was doing too much, and I let him know. We were alone in the room when I spoke with him.

“Aren’t you my babe anymore, or have you changed your mind?” he asked me.

“You are spending too much money and it bothers me. I can afford to do all these myself.”

“I want to spend it on you. I am getting a split unit for you tomorrow; I want you to be very comfortable. We need to get curtains for the windows, including the bathroom and toilet windows. I saw a mirror I trust you would love. I will bring it as a housewarming gist.”

“You are not listening to me, are you? My mother sent down some curtains, bedsheets and duvets. It’s covered. My siblings sent me money to furnish the house. I have the money, don’t spend yours.”

“I enjoy spending on you. I don’t need to do too much to please you and I love that about you.” He pulled me close to him. “I have wanted to do this all evening. Are you going back with your sister?”

“She will see us, stop it.”

“Let her see us. Kiss me quickly. If not, she will catch you acting inappropriately. I will tell her you started it. Quickly kiss me and I will let you go.” I kissed him and he took a deep breath before losing his grip. He released me a bit and asked me, “I hope you like the place it is serene and safe. Your landlady won’t be much of a problem.”

“I love it. Thanks for getting it for me at such short notice.”

“I got it before you went to the camp. I came to look at it after I met your parents. Your mother is something else, she drilled me. If I could swear to her I was not going to take advantage of you, I would have. She said she is the only one allowed to beat you, if I did, she would use her influence to make me disappear from the surface of the earth. I thought she was joking but Uncle Tunde told me she meant business. I like her and I hope you will be like her.” I smiled. He kissed my neck then my cheek and finally my lips. “I have to leave soon. I was invited to partake in a surgery this evening. I would be tired when we are through, but I will still call you. Is that ok?”


On our way home from my new apartment, Dumebi asked me how I felt about Paschal. I smiled and told her I liked him a lot.

“If you do, then stop any intimacy with him. Your head is clouded by what he does to you and not what he does for you. He is a good guy and everyone can see it. You only see the sexual attraction. It is not bad but it can put a strain on the relationship later. Do you realise what he did? He got you a new wardrobe, removed the old kitchen cabinet and installed a new one, changed your shower and lighting. He even bought rugs for your sitting room and parlour. These are necessities he got for you. He is a thoughtful man and did this with his little resources. You need to appreciate him for everything he does no matter how small or big it is.”

“You are right. But what should I have done apart from thanking him?”

“Point out what he did for you in my presence and praise him. You will get used to it and it will encourage him to do a lot more. He is also satisfied with kissing you for now, but when all the sexual tension disappears words will have far more meanings when said or not said. You are the last born and you have everything handed to you. You don’t know how much sacrifice people make to give you things, especially someone like him. Praising him when he does anything for you will make him feel good.”

I listened to her and wondered if what she asked me to do was right. But then I recalled how she always hailed her husband when he bought her ordinary suya and the man was always full of smiles. He treated her special and I always appreciated it. Was this the trick?

Later that night, I sent a message to Paschal. I appreciated him for all he did. I told him how impressed my sister was that he took the responsibility of getting me a safe place and upgraded it to my standard. I expressed how proud I was of him and how happy he always made me. I complimented him for making me feel special and for spoiling me. I knew once he read the message, he would call. He called, and from his tone, he felt great. We talked for an hour and then I allowed him to retire for the night.

When I moved into the place, my sister came around with her family. Paschal was there was there before us. He came with this beautiful mirror. The frame was the art and it was amazing. It looked antique and I loved it. We looked for where to hang it and it transformed the entire sitting room. I ordered food for the housewarming and we all ate together. I knew I would not have time to cook and do chores.

A few Sundays later, after I had moved in, Paschal came to pick me up in a vehicle. He said he would love to introduce me to some people, I got dressed to go with him. On our way, we stopped at the mall to shop. We bought so many things in bulk that I wondered why. When I asked, he told me he wanted to share it to some people and it would be after we had gotten there I would understand.

We drove into Surulere. I was not conversant with the area but we arrived at a block of flats. We drove into the compound. We came down and walked to the flat on the right. I did not know where I was or who we were meeting. We rang a bell and were met at the entrance door by the cutest young girl I have ever met. She was so adorable. She had the lightest shade of brown pupils I had ever seen and it complimented her beauty. She was exceptional.

She hugged Paschal and he smiled at her. I could see they had a bond. From inside someone asked, “Amanda, who is at the door?”

“It is Uncle Paschal,” she replied.

“Don’t trouble him at the door, allow him to come in.”

We came inside. I saw a man in his late fifties or early sixties sitting in a special chair. He was surprised when he saw me. He almost jumped out of his skin. He was wearing a pair of shorts and a singlet, I felt he was uncomfortable. He said, “Paschal, you did not tell us you were bringing a visitor. We would have been better prepared. Amanda tell Mama we have a guest.”

I greeted him and he responded. He excused himself. I looked around until my eyes fell on some pictures on the wall. I saw Paschal in most of those pictures, his matriculation, graduation, NYSC and many more. I had suspected when we got there that we were at his family’s house. The pictures confirmed it. He offered me a seat and we sat down together. A woman who could not be more than forty-five came into the sitting room. She was light-skinned skinned, slender, and must have been a beauty when she was younger. She had a nice body shape and I could not believe she had five children. I stood up to greet her. She smiled at me and said, “It is because of you Paschal came today to see us without notice. You are welcome. His siblings are asleep, Daddy has gone to wake them up. Nna, welcome. You brought an August visitor to us without informing us. How do we entertain her? Mary, come quickly.” A girl about twenty-four came out from a room. “Your brother brought a guest without informing us. Please bring the zobo I just made, put ice in the tumblers before you serve them.” she turned to us, “The zobo does not contain sugar. Daddy is diabetic and Paschal has placed him on a diet. So I make zobo for him, but I put fruits in only ours so it is palatable. Where did Daddy go?”

Paschal’s father did not come out until we were served the drinks with some groundnut and chinchin. I could see the family was uncomfortable and Paschal said and did nothing to make the environment more relaxed. I looked at him and noticed he was watching a match. Why was he doing this?

“My daughter what is your name?” his father asked when he finally settled down. I told him my name, where I was from including my village, my profession, where I resided and so on. I answered each question I was asked. “Paschal, you brought a guest, never introduced her or said anything to us. We are just assuming without anything concrete. What’s going on?”

“I’m sorry Dad, I missed the match when it played.” He answered his father, “I brought Urenna to meet with you. She is your daughter-in-law. I wanted her to meet her family.”

Read – When fate strikes episode 51 – 52

I turned to look at him, I was just as shocked as his folks were. He continued watching the match. I wanted to turn off the television and ask him why he would do that. I had to contain myself and try to cope with his non-challance.

“You are welcome. These are my children Josephine, Titus and Mary. You have met our angel, Amanda.”

I greeted all of them and they sat down to talk to me. Paschal moved away to give room for us to interact. I got to know Josephine was a graduate of Finance and was awaiting NYSC, Titus was in his final year studying Engineering as well as Mary who studied Mass Communication. Amanda was eleven years old.

After a while, his mother called the girls to help set the table and she served us food. She made fish pepper soup and rice. I sat beside Paschal while we ate. Paschal was a bit chatty during the meal but returned to the status quo after the meal. I listened to many stories and his brother Titus knew had to crack one up. It was fun talking to them. I thought I would be shy or self-conscious, but his siblings were very friendly and entertaining. They were not as serious as Paschal. I enjoyed their company.

As we announced our departure, Paschal’s father said, “Please tell your people we want to see them. You are the kind of girl we need in this family. God bless you for accepting his proposal.”

“He hasn’t proposed yet,” I said to them.

Everyone turned to look at Paschal and he said, “I wanted you to meet the girl I want to marry. I hope you all like her. When she is ready, I will ask her to marry me. I have met her family and I wanted her to meet mine. She is an amazing person and I am certain she would never disappoint me.” The did not seem surprised at his behaviour.

They saw us to the car and Paschal opened the boot for them to offload all we bought. He told them I bought them and asked them to thank me. I felt guilty.

On our way home, I asked him why he abandoned me to his family. His response was so laid back. “I knew you would interact with them and make them feel safe. They were studying you and I am glad they have accepted you.”

“Amanda is adorable, your mother had her after how many years?”

“I wanted you to meet my family before I tell you some things. Amanda is Josephine’s daughter. She had her when she was sixteen and still in secondary school.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I had so many questions but didn’t know how to ask them. He continued sensing I wanted more details, “My folks were disappointed and due to shame sent her to my mum’s aunt in the North. She was there until the baby was two years old and could before she came back. My father made her repeat SS2 and finish secondary school. He didn’t allow her further; he asked her to work and take care of her child. I stepped in. I had scholarships and monetary awards so I ensured she wrote Jamb and when she gained admission, I sent her to school. Josephine is almost done with school and I am proud of her.”

“What happened to the guy who got her pregnant?”

By this time we were in front of my apartment. I asked him to come in so we could finish the conversation. We stayed in the sitting room. “She went to a party and she can’t remember what happened there after taking a few drinks.”

“What!” I exclaimed. “Were there any arrests?”

“No, it was scandalous and we did not know about it until she was pregnant and even showing before we realised. We talked to her friend who took her to the party but she didn’t know what happened there too. Also didn’t know the address of the party, her friends (some guys) took them to the party in their car. It happened a long time ago and we didn’t have the means to pursue it. That’s what happened. Amanda doesn’t know she is her mother, she believes she is my parents’ last child. They spoil her and that is why I want to take her away. Also, Josephine has a suitor from abroad. The man has paid her dowry and is waiting for her to graduate to take her. She has a second chance in life.”

“Is he aware she has a child?” I asked.

“Yes, I told him myself. My father did not want him to know, but I took Josephine with me to tell him. He was surprised and appreciated us telling him before he married her. I hate deception. He asked for the father and she confessed she was drugged and did not know the father. I assured him Amanda would be my responsibility and I insisted on it. He paid the dowry and has a good relationship with Amanda. He sends her things and they talk. He is aware she doesn’t know Josephine is her mother. I intend to tell Amanda before she travels, but I want her to remain in Nigeria under my care.”

“What if he wants her to travel with your sister, I mean her fiance?”

“She is not going. I handled a case of a woman who married a man and went there with her thirteen-year-old daughter. The man raped the daughter regularly without protection. The mother brought her for an abortion, it was her fourth abortion and she was barely fifteen. The girl confessed to me what happened in the presence of a social worker. Lagos state got involved and the abortion was done. The girl was removed from their care to her mother’s sister. The woman was glad to have her. I did not follow up with the case. I have seen gullible mothers who allow religious leaders to defile their children because they are gullible. It won’t happen to Amanda while I am alive. She is my child henceforth”

I couldn’t fault that. But it was time for us to let out our secret. “I have twin brothers younger than me,” I said to him.

“I am aware. You have stepbrothers, your mother mentioned them. But where is their mother?”

“It’s a long story.” I shared with him how my father brought Nma Ejima (Thelma) into our happy home and almost destroyed it. My story made us spend hours talking because he asked specific questions and I answered them.

When I was through he said to me, “Now I understand why it was difficult to forgive Stanley. Most ladies forgive their rich boyfriends, but you didn’t. I am glad you understand the implication of an intruder gaining access to the home. The Bible says if the hedge is not broken the serpent won’t bite. If you do not give room for the enemy to have access, how would he strike? We have to be accountable to each other. I know it is difficult for women to believe there can be faithful men but I can assure you there are. I am not very religious but I understand God’s word and abide by it. I was faithful to my ex for the years we were together, we even cohabited. That’s how I am, I give it my all. My wanting to marry now is because I met you, and I know if I do not make haste another man will snatch you. You have all the qualities and more I need in a woman and I want you for keeps. I will tell you when I am tempted and you can confide in me too. We have to be best friends before we can be husband and wife. Don’t hide anything from me and I won’t hide anything from you. I would like you to visit my place to spend a night. I understand you want to be married a virgin and I won’t take that away. But, it is taking everything in me not to ….” I knew we were treading on dangerous waters and I tried to change the subject but he refused. “I can’t wait until you finish your service before we get married. I am enduring the ache and it is not easy. Thoughts of you keep me sane. There are new doctors at the hospital and some of them are crazy, but I know you would never forgive me if I indulged. I want to wait just like you are. But let us not make it that long. Come and visit me and I will visit you. We can spend the night together, I desperately want that.” I knew it was not a good idea, but he sounded so genuine and I agreed to visit him.


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