Wow! It’s already been four weeks since the series started? Don’t worry, I am not thinking about ending it prematurely. I still remember what you guys did to me when 8 to 5 ended earlier than you expected it to. Here is where we left off last week and you can find all the Room1045 stories here as well. 96% of those who voted want a meetup. My next question is December or January? Been battling with December because of how overwhelmingly busy it can get. So here we go again: Thanks in advance for participating.
So, about cliffhangers! I get the message- don’t keep us in suspense for a week or else we will become hoarders. Hehehe! I thought we had agreed that cliffhangers were the ish, but alas! 🤷🏾I have also noticed that I have a lot of comments to reply to. I will respond to every one of them, I promise. Your feedback means the world to me. We have been chalking some interesting milestones that I cannot wait to share with you. (More on the Instagram page soon!) I also have a giveaway this week with Oshunluxe. Also, December cometh, which means we will have a few Christmas-themed stories like in the 7 days of Xmas series! 💃🏾
🤗 Happy reading, everyone!
‘You must be Joan. We need to talk.’
‘Sandra, right? I recognize you from the vacation pictures.’
Sandra’s eyes widened.
She expected fear or shame. Remorse even.
Not confidence and self-awareness.
She wasn’t surprised. She was just like Joan when she met Barima- confident, blunt, mischievous, care-free.
Barima liked untamed girls.
‘How long has this been going on?’
‘I mean no disrespect, but you should know. You are his wife. If you haven’t figured out when he started making room for other women in his life, then that’s where your problem began. Secondly, if there is anyone you should be questioning, it should be him, not me. Like I said, no disrespect intended.’
‘You are right- I should know how long my husband has been sleeping around with campus girls.’
Sandra could not believe what was happening. She was standing on a university campus close to midnight, being schooled by her husband’s lover. She felt sick in the stomach.
‘Erm, Sandra. I can call you Sandra, right? I am not your enemy. I respect the family structure. I don’t call your husband. He calls me. I don’t sext him or flirt with him when he is home. I stay away from your anniversaries and family events. I stay in my lane. I give him what he wants so that he doesn’t have to pressurize you for what you might not be able to give him. I am not your enemy. Think of me as a spare tyre.’
‘Well, my family structure is pretty shaky at this point. Barima comes home but his mind isn’t home. He is out more often these days. He is out for longer hours these days. Look at the time he dropped you off. I feel like I am losing him.’
Joan felt a tinge of sadness for Sandra as she looked at her.
‘I am sorry. I just realized how insensitive I sounded. I mean, I have seen pictures of you and your kids. I knew you existed but seeing you in the flesh is something else. I still think you need to speak to Barima yourself. I can walk away today but there are still so many other ladies he can go to, so that doesn’t solve your problem. I thought whatever I was doing was working. I am sad to see that it is not.’
‘I think there is more than just one of you.’
This was a whisper. Sandra could not believe that she was opening up to her husband’s lover. It felt risky- showing her all the weaknesses in her marriage.
Joan stood there in silence. Anything that was going to come out of her mouth would definitely not be helpful. She looked at this beautiful woman whose face was covered in worry and self-doubt, and asked herself if she was the one who did this to her.
More than one person? Now that was new information.
Barima, I have always known that you were something else, but this woman doesn’t deserve this. I had better check for STDs.
STDs didn’t scare Joan. The first time she had sex was with one of her brother’s friends who also lived in the barracks. He liked her but she was reluctant to give in because he had a reputation for breaking girls’ hearts. Eventually she gave in and slept with him- three times in the space of one long weekend. Gonorrhoea greeted her shortly after that.
She didn’t learn her lessons from that.
Condoms are boring. The greater the thrill, the greater the satisfaction.
That was one of Barima’s quirks- thrills, thrills and more thrills!
She looked back at Sandra.
‘I am sorry to hear that. You deserve better. Everyone deserves to be loved fiercely. I am sorry about everything. I won’t have anything to do with Barima, going forward.’
‘Even though he is paying your school fees?’
‘You know about that?’
‘I manage the finances in our home. I see the money going out. Initially I thought he had another child somewhere. You never know with Barima.’
‘Marriage is hard work. You have no idea the things you have to manage. Pray you have better luck when you get married.’
Nii Okai tried to call again.
Her line was busy.
Should I try again? What if I end up looking desperate? But she did say I should call, didn’t she?
Dennis threw a pillow at his head.
‘Ah! Are you still trying to reach her? She is probably giving some guy a lap dance. I told you to forget her, didn’t I? You are a church boy. Can’t you see all the girls from the campus choir and the bible study group literally falling over each other to catch your eye? Of all people, Joan is the one you like?’
Nii Okai knew that Dennis was just being an honest friend.
Joan sounded like trouble. And fun.
He decided to send a text.
Hey Joan. Nii Okai here. Tried calling last night but the line was busy. Just wanted you to know I kept my promise. Have a good day.
The response was almost instantaneous.
Nii!!! Lol, you did keep your promise. I put my phone on Don’t Disturb because I was avoiding someone. I am glad you reached out. Busy?
Nope. For you, I have time.
You are kinda sleek, aren’t you?And they said you were a boring church boy. Sorry I am perpetually blunt.
So I heard.
Oooh, you have been listening to rumours huh? What have you heard?
Nothing life altering. Yet.
That made me laugh. Yet huh? Well, I am glad whatever it is didn’t scare you off.
Jehovah himself lives in me. I don’t scare easily. 😉
I was right. Definitely a church boy.
It is hard to not talk about God. He is everything to me. Plus He led me to you.
To me? God has time to think about me?
Absolutely. He knows everything about you. Everything you’ve done. Everything you’ve worried about. Everything.
I don’t know how to feel about that. My folder of sins must be full then.
Lol! What are you doing tonight?
What did you have in mind?
Dance with me.
And that is how Joan ended up at the Campus Praise concert. She kept stealing glances at Nii, who was clearly enjoying himself. His hands were held up high and he kept singing along to the songs, with a big grin on his face. He was really serious about this Jesus thing.
The young men were having a blast in front, doing some kind of formation dance. Some girls were playing the tambourine in a way that was simply beautiful to watch.
This is definitely more exciting than being in a club. At least, here you can breathe and there is no alcohol-induced misbehaviour.
‘You alright?’, Nii Okai asked.
‘Yes, very fine.’
Joan’s phone buzzed again. It was Barima calling, again.
‘Excuse me. I will be right back.’
She made her way to the back of the room. The concert seemed to be ending anyways.
‘Have you been avoiding my calls? I have been calling you since I dropped you off yesterday. What is going on? Pregnant and wondering whether or not to tell me? What is it?’
‘Whoa, slow down.’
‘I have been worried. Is everything okay?’
‘Yes, everything is fine. I am sorry I avoided your calls. I just didn’t know how to break up with you.’
‘Yes Barima. I am not doing this anymore.’
‘What, some streak of guilt caught you? What happened between yesterday and today?’
‘I met your wife. That’s what happened.’
‘What?! Did she do anything to you? Are you okay?’
‘This is exactly why I am ending this. I tell you that your wife met your lover and your first inclination is to check if I am okay. Not regret or shame or even concern for your wife. I thought she was happy. I thought we were all happy. But she is not, and it is partly because of me. I can’t live with that.’
‘No, Barima. Save the explanations for her. She deserves better. And you don’t need to worry about my fees. I will be fine.’
‘Are you sure this is what you want?’
‘Yes. Goodbye Barima.’
‘Don’t make this hard.’
‘Goodness, you are so stubborn. If this is what you want, fine. I can’t force you to be with me. Just promise me that you will take care of yourself, Joan.’
She didn’t respond, partly because opening her mouth was going to make the tears flow down her cheeks.
Barima sighed and cut the line.
Sniffling and blinking rapidly to regain composure, she turned just in time to see another lady giving Nii Okai a hug.
Whoa, Joan! Is that jealousy? Already? Relax, it could be his cousin. Nope, definitely a cousin kinda hug. This girl likes him.
She made her way to him through the maze of people shouting excitedly from all the praise-induced adrenalin.
‘There you are! I was wondering if you had decided to flee.’
‘Not a chance.’, Joan said with a smile.
‘I’d like to meet one of my closest friends, Esenam. Esenam, meet Joan.’
Esenam’s smile was fake. Plastered. That didn’t stop Joan from reaching out to say hello.
‘Hi Esenam. Pleased to meet you.’
The pleased to meet you too was conspicuously missing.
Nii Okai insisted on walking with her to her room. She didn’t complain. He was good company.
‘She likes you. Esenam, I mean.’
‘The ever-blunt Joan. That is what everybody says but I don’t see it. We are just good friends.’
‘Is that your opinion or hers?’
‘Both, I imagine.’
‘You have succeeded in friend zoning her. Not that I mind. I won’t allow myself to be friend zoned though.’
‘Ha! You are interesting. Thanks for coming with me today. Wanted to show you a bit of my world.’
’Your world isn’t so bad. I enjoyed the energy.’
’I was hoping you’d say that, Joan.’
‘Plus, spending time with you has made me sure that I do like you.’
‘Wow Nii Okai! I didn’t expect an ‘I know’ response.’
‘Well, I guess your bluntness is rubbing off me.’
‘Erm, this is the part where you say I like you too, Joan.’
‘It is not obvious?’
They both laughed.
As they climbed up the hill, Nii Okai reached out for her hand, but morning before asking, ‘Is it okay if I hold your hand?’
So this is what Christian romance feels like. We have been together for almost 4 hours and he hasn’t been inappropriate in any way. We are actually talking and having a good time. Gentle, kind, funny, thoughtful, the right amount of cocky- I could get used to this.
It felt different. A good kind of different.
P.S: I am sorry it took so long for this week’s episode to arrive. No, it wasn’t writer’s block. Your prayers seem to be working so far, in that regard. Let’s just say my phone, laptop, body, time and internet had a hard time syncing this week. Thanks for your patience. Special shoutouts to the sweet couple I saw at Accra Mall on Thursday evening. Thanks for being so understanding. Readers like you make the world go round. See you all next week! 😘