DILEMMA - Episode 4

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Chief, fast food restaurants in Ikoyi, rekindling of their romance, Fifty Shades of Gray, marriage vows with infidelity, secretary, phone, hotel, brown envelope, pictures.

She had just finished speaking to Chima. He told her he hadn't been aware of her marriage.

"How could I have known when we lost touch?" he'd queried, disappointed that she thought so little of him.

She crossed her legs now and sat back on the couch and exhaled loudly. It was wrong, her suspecting Chima. She knew him way better than that. As much as the facts seemed to point to him, he certainly couldn't be responsible for her troubles. It was just so easy to single him out as the mastermind because it had happened with the rekindling of their romance. Why not before? Why not with Eddie. Nothing serious had happened with Eddie but occasionally they'd hung out together and it had been fun. Quite naturally they'd assumed suggestive positions too, sometimes with Eddie's arm around her neck or her back as they bought ice cream or shawarma at any of the several fast food restaurants in Ikoyi. She'd lost her head and was carried away with his youth. It wasn't his success. Her husband was even more successful. But with chief, something was lacking. There was a lingering feeling of something unfinished or an incompleteness. Chief didn't match her prowess in bed. He lacked stamina. He would climb atop her, wriggle and groan for a few seconds, then he would shudder and it was over. It always ended with him barely managing to roll his huge mass off her. And afterward, she would stare at the ceiling for many long minutes so that when chief joked and said things like "hope you enjoyed it?" she never heard him. It was the same every other night too.

Her relationship with Eddie had ended abruptly, with her hurrying out of his house to her car. On the days when she needed to be discreet, she never took Samuel, her driver, with her. She let him have the day off and Samuel was always too pleased to be bestowed such generosity because it never came out of his pay. And so on that day, she'd driven herself to Eddie's house in Ikoyi. She sat beside him on his sofa, his arm around her neck and her head nestled on his shoulder as they watched the movie he had asked her over to see. Its title was Fifty Shades of Gray and as they watched, she could tell that although he stared, he didn't see any of the unfolding events on the flatscreen TV. His hand continually caressed the skin of her arm in a gentle up and down motion. It was her first time at his place and she could sense that he was aroused. And indeed she was too. Their previous meetings had been at restaurants and cinemas and never at his private residence. She let him rub his hands over her skin even though it detracted from the movie she was staring at. She allowed him because she enjoyed it. It raised goosebumps on her skin and made her hungry for something more. But when eventually he became overcome with lust and leaned in to kiss her neck and ear, she stood up. She had never cheated on chief and as much as her body yearned for the satisfaction she was sure Eddie could give, she was virtuous and didn't want to break the bond of matrimony.
He stared up at her, surprised. Then he took his palms to his face, rubbed it and stood up.

"What's the problem?"

"I can't do this."

"Do what?"

"This! This thing we're doing. It's not right. I'm a married woman."

He watched her carefully, the lines on his thirty-eight year old forehead accentuating just a little bit.


She stared at him. He was being a gentleman. She never would have really thought that the word 'gentleman' and Eddie could be in the sentence. Only a few minutes ago, he'd been playing a romantic comedy that was laced with pornographic scenes; his disguised effort to lure her to bed.

"I need to get going," she said at last.

"You really don't think I deserve an explanation?"

"I know you do, but I just have to get home. I'm running late."

"Running late for what?"

She paused to think of a good lie.

"I have this social function to be at by one," she said.

"Is that what it is? Why don't we go together and drive back here."

"For God's sake Eddie, I'm a married woman. We can't be seen together in public. What if we bump into someone I know and..."

"You sound as if you're no longer interested in this thing that we have. I mean, you never had problems with us hanging out in public before." He sighed heavily. "Anyway, that I understand. But what I really don't understand is why you don't want to get intimate with me."

"I just told you." she said and bent over to grab her purse.

"And you think I'll buy that crap."

"Bye Eddie."

She stormed out to her car and drove off thinking all the time just how close she'd come to soiling her marriage vows with infidelity. But in the end she had done it with Chima. Was this cheap blackmail Eddie's revenge?

The photos had been sent to her house through a mailman and it had narrowly missed chief's notice. Adamu had rushed in to call her and tell her that she had a package that needed her personal attention. She paused the movie she was watching and strutted out in her debonair manner, her ankara print gown billowing as she walked.

"Yes?" she asked the poorly dressed mailman.

"You have a package, ma." He handed her a brown envelope and pen. "Please sign here and here."

She did as he'd said and when she was back inside and seated again on her couch, she pried open its flap and dipped her hand inside to retrieve what felt like thick papers. She saw that they were pictures when she pulled her hand out. An explosion went off in her mind when she saw the first one - it showed Chima holding her loosely outside his house, his lips planted on hers. Her lips fell open in shock. She was going to look at the second one when she heard chief's voice.

"Whose pictures are those?" He was just entering the living room and was still a short distance away. Another explosion went off in her mind.

She took a deep breath before she spoke. "Oh! It's just something my tailor sent. I asked her to send me her latest designs so I could see if I'd like something in it."

"You better select something skimpy," chief joked and winked at her. Then he dropped into the couch across from her.

She laughed a superficial laugh that sounded forced and then she stood up and walked to the kitchen to look at the rest. There were three in all. Of the other two, one showed Chima's arm around her waist as she entered her car and the other showed them kissing again through the window after she'd gotten in. It was too much. She was petrified.

When she finally regained herself, she tore the pictures to tiny shreds and put them back in the envelope. She couldn't dispose of them in the kitchen bin because that would be taking chances; it was just too risky. She took the envelope up to her room and hid it behind the closet. Chief would never think to look there for anything at all. Chief was hardly in the room anyway. She would leave it there until she could think straight again. Then she would take it and dispose it properly. She wondered what the sender planned to do with them. Why hadn't it been sent directly to chief. There'd been no accompanying message in the envelope; just the pictures, and so she wasn't entirely sure what this person hoped to achieve by playing such risky games.

As she thought about these past events, she became fidgety. She stood up now and paced about the spacious living room, the fingernail of her middle finger between her teeth. After the sender had called to discuss his terms with her, she'd suspected two people - her driver Samuel, and Chinwe. It was easy to suspect Samuel as he was with her more than half the time she went out. Perhaps she had slipped up once and met with someone in his presence. She couldn't remember. But Samuel didn't seem like the type. He was born-again and wore an old luminescent rosary around his neck. He was respectful too and said "ma" more than was necessary. He treated her with reverence, like a second god. His family's meal depended on it.

Chinwe, on the other hand, had nothing to lose by blackmailing her. She was chief's former secretary. The one with very massive melons who had constantly thrown herself at chief, always leaving at least three buttons on her blouse undone to show some major cleavage, until chief had given in and fixed an appointment with her at Eko hotel and suites. It was in the early years of their marriage. At home, the next day, a Saturday, chief had gone in the shower leaving his phone on the bed. A short time later, the phone buzzed and Uju picked it up to check what it was. It was an SMS from Chinwe. It read: Chief, are we still meeting today? I'll be going there soon. Can't wait to see you.

Uju was livid. She shouted at chief for the first time when he came out of the bathroom. Chief was effusive and apologetic. He pleaded with her to forgive him. He told her nothing had happened yet and that he would cut off all ties from her.

"Your secretary!" Uju screamed. "Chief, your secretary! You want to cheat on me with your secretary?"

Chief was calm, beaten. They sat there, in their bedroom, for a whole hour until Chinwe's message came again, this time to tell chief that she was at the hotel. Uju stood up and walked out, chief's phone in her hand. She went recruiting her friends, Ijeoma and Thelma and together they went to the hotel and waited outside in their car for a few minutes until Ijeoma suggested that she texted Chinwe using chief's phone to say that he couldn't make it anymore. She did, and as soon she saw her coming out of the hotel, they waylaid and beat her until her wig fell off. They filled her mouth with what little dirt they could find on the tarred road. And then, as a souvenir, they took her blouse with them, leaving her with only her black bra that did little to hide her melons. Over the next couple of days, Uju called on Chief's office to make sure Chinwe had been fired.

She could see why Chinwe would want revenge. And she was definitely high up on her list of suspects. But now they were four. Eddie and Chima had joined, although she wasn't so sure about Chima. It was best to meet him face to face and talk. Then she would know when he told the truth and when he lied. She could tell just by looking into his eyes as he spoke.

She heard her name now, from the bedroom. It was Chief.

"Yes dear."


She clambered up the steps, her heels clicking noisily on the tiles. When she opened the bedroom door, chief was standing beside the closet, the brown envelope in his hands.


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Written By:
Kadiri Alex

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: DILEMMA - Episode 4
DILEMMA - Episode 4
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Chief, fast food restaurants in Ikoyi, rekindling of their romance, Fifty Shades of Gray, marriage vows with infidelity, secretary, phone, hotel, brown envelope, pictures.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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