By 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, I was waiting with trepidation, at our arranged meeting place for Bassey. He came on time and I entered the car. He drove at a fast rate to his home – a flat located somewhere in Tejuosho area in Yaba. We were both silent throughout the ride to his house after initial greetings. I, on my part, didn’t know what to say and couldn’t even say anything since my heart was beating tattoo in my chest.
I had been to his flat before but I entered now like a lamb led to a slaughter’s slab and sat down quickly on the nearest chair.
Bassey brought me a coke which he kept beside me before sitting down himself. I sipped at my drink a little before looking at him.
“Chioma”, he called softly.
“Yes Bassey,” I answered equally quietly.
“There is nothing to be frightened of you know.”
“I’m not frightened.” I replied trembling.
He came near me and sat down. I was positively shaking by this time. Bassey kissed me gently and drew me nearer.
I never knew when I actually lost my fear but the next thing I knew was that I was naked and in his bed watching him undressing himself. At that moment, I felt fear tugs at my heart again but I quickly shook away the feeling, thinking I might as well get it over with.
That day was one of the happiest days of my life for I never knew sex could be that wonderful. Bassey was very gentle as he initiated me into the sexual act. After that, I could never get enough of it; in fact, I hungered for it to the extent that we always managed to get together at least three times every week.
By then, my mother has started suspecting my movements, but because of the fact that she was almost always at the market till around 7.00p.m. I got away with most of my lies to my junior ones and always made sure I was at home before my mum or my Dad got home from their businesses.
About 12 months after we became intimate, I missed my period. At first, I was not perturbed since Bassey had bought some little white pills for me to be using which he told me prevents pregnancies. But after a week without my period, I became frightened and decided to tell Bassey about it.
He took it quite calmly, telling me to prepare myself for the hospital the next day for a check-up instead of going to school.
When the test result came, I was above five weeks pregnant. I cried bitterly while Bassey pleaded and begged me to stop crying. At first, I insisted on abortion, but Bassey refused totally and later won me over to his side of his argument. What I regretted most was the fact that I would not be able to write my WAEC since my stomach will be big for all to see by then and I didn’t even bother to do it after I delivered my baby as an external student because by then, I was used to my husband’s money to bother about school.
My father raved and my mother cried when we told them of my condition. Bassey had come after we found out I was pregnant, to introduce himself to my parents.
My mother was perplexed at first when she saw him after opening the door to his knock since she had never set her eyes on him before, she allowed him in and he told both her and my Dad that he came concerning me. Mum immediately called me in from the kitchen and when I saw that Bassey had arrived, I became dumb with fear.
“Chioma, do you know this young man?” Dad asked me.
I could only nod, since I could not speak or fear.
“Young man, what can we do for you then?” Dad further asked Bassey.
“I want to marry your daughter sir,” Bassey replied.
“Marry my daughter?” but she is too young to get married and still in school.” Dad said while Mum just gasped and opened her mouth.
“By the way, you said your name is Bassey Utong from Calabar,” Dad said.
“I am an Ibo man and I want my daughter to get married to an Ibo man when the time comes for her to get married.
“I know you will feel so sir, but I love your daughter”, Bassey pleaded. ”And she loves me too.”
“You love my daughter?” But she can’t love you back, she is still too young to know anything about love,” Dad replied.
“But sir, …..she’s….Bassey stuttered.
“She’s what,” Dad asked.
Mum got up at this stage to hold her hands on her head and start jumping about the room. I think she had already guessed I was pregnant, considering all the looks I had been receiving from her over the past two weeks.
“She’s pregnant, sir,” Bassey said.
“What!” my father exclaimed, glancing over at me while my mum burst into heavy tears when her suspicions were confirmed.
My father couldn’t believe this since I was his golden girl who could not do such a thing. He looked straight at me and asked if it was true. I just nodded with tears running down my face.
Dad sat down heavily on his chair unable to believe it. He then told me to pack my things and get out of his house that moment. Mum cried all the more when she heard and started begging my father to please think again before taking any decision, but Dad was adamant and after pleading for some time, I went to the room to pack a few clothes before following Bassey out of the house.
Bassey tried to pay the Bride price so many times but Dad refused, telling him to go to hell with his money. Maybe if Dad had forgiven me, he would have persuaded me to finish and further my education but he refused to even see me after that. It was only mum that came to see me once in a while without Dad’s knowledge. Bassey, on his own part didn’t want me to go back to school. Whenever I broach the subject, he always managed to change the topic to something else.
When I was in my fifth month of pregnancy, Bassey called me one day, saying he has something to tell me.
By this time, I had met most of his family members and they had apparently accepted me except his mother who looked over twice and refused to even sleep in that house that day.
The next day, she went back to their village after telling Bassey to come to his senses quickly and get rid of me despite the baby I was carrying. His father was dead then.
When I sat down beside him, I had no premonition of what he was about to say.
“Yes Bassey, I’m listening.” I told him.
“Chioma, I don’t know how to tell you this and how you are going to take it, but I’ve got to tell you,” he said with a grave expression on his face.
At this time, I began to get worried too.
“What is it, Bassey?”
“Chioma, I already have a daughter before.”
“What?” I shouted, you already have a daughter?”
“But, why didn’t you tell me?” where is she.”
I asked, standing up from my seat.
“Please Chioma, sit down and let me explain everything please.” Bassey begged.
“But why didn’t you tell me before, Bassey, shy?
I asked him tears running down my face.
“I didn’t know how you would take it and I love you too much to lose you Chioma. Please try to understand,” Bassey pleaded.
I didn’t know what to say and felt more lonely than ever at that time since I had not even seen my mum to tell her about his mother’s behaviour and now this.
After I had calmed down a little, he told me how he met her mother, also a Nigerian in England and how they had got married. They had a daughter-Ekaete but that his wife died giving birth to their second child, a boy who also died with his mother being a still-born.
It was after this that he decided to come back to Nigeria to live with his young daughter who was about six when her mother died. He had to take the girl to stay with one of his sisters when he met me so as not to frighten me away with a grown up daughter of nine years old.
He missed her now, that is why he is telling me so that he could bring her home to stay with us. What could I say and do but to agree after he pleaded with me and told me he will never lie to me again.
That was how the three of us started living together until I gave birth to my child – a girl whom we named Enobong. Mum came to greet me but Dad refused to even bulge while Bassey’s mother too only sent someone to congratulate him while refusing to acknowledge that he had a wife, in her message.
That was how we lived until I got pregnant again. This time I prayed it would be a boy since Bassey too had been telling me he hoped he had a boy to succeed in life. His business, at that time, was flourishing and he had started to build the first of his houses.
To be continued…