4 MONTHS AFTER
“Dude, you can’t be serious, you mean I don’t know what I am saying? I am not sure of what I saw?”
Benny touched his chest as he bellowed; pacing between the dining area and the couch where Giorgio was sitting calmly, he was clad only in shorts and singlet; his legs stretched straight on the egg-shaped glass center-table.
“So, you are not going to say anything, right? You are not going to say anything until this girl wrecks your life, Giorgio” Benny paused to look at Giorgio who was still sitting calmly and not saying a word. He continued.
“You lost your memory, yes! But, did you also lose your brain ability to comprehend things?”
Giorgio dropped his legs from the table, rubbed his forehead, and without any emotion shown, picked his phone and dialed a number
“Hello… Sweetheart, can you hear me… Are you close by? Ok. I will wait for you. Giorgio ended the call, dropped the phone, took one cynical look at Benny, and leaned back on the couch.
“Giorgio, seriously, what has come over you? Why are you…”
“Will you shut up for a moment dude? Giorgio cut Benny short angrily. “You have been saying all sorts about Shade since you came in here, and I just called her to come and defend herself; yet, you won’t stop talking. Dude, you need to calm down and just wait till she comes, then you can repeat everything you just told me right in front of her”
Benny stopped dead in his tracks; he could not believe Giorgio just told him to wait for Shade and repeat himself in front of her, he knew what he saw and he was so sure about it. He had just finished a workout session at the gym on the Saturday morning of the previous weekend at the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt, and was walking to the swimming pool area to complete the session, when he saw Shade and an unidentified older man teasing and playing with each other as they stepped out of a chauffeured driven BMW Wagon. His first reaction was to continue moving without letting Shade know he was ever there, but on a second thought, he decided to confront her so she wouldn’t deny ever been in Port Harcourt with someone else.
Minutes later, Shade opened the door with her spare key and walked into the living room. She momentarily froze at the sight of Benny but quickly recomposed and smiled at Giorgio who was sitting on the couch unperturbed
“Hello sweetheart, how have you been?” Giorgio opened his arms as she nestled in between them.
“I have been fine dearie, I don’t know about Benny here” Giorgio pointing to Benny “He doesn’t seem fine and you seem to be the cause”
“Me? how?” Shade replied feigning shock and ignorance
“Over to you Benny, she’s here. You can now go over your allegation again” Giorgio said facing Benny
“My allegation? Giorgio, you must be stupid, you hear me? You must be very stupid. I told you I caught your girlfriend red-handed cheating on you with someone else, and now you want me to go over the allegation again, what is there to go over again?” Benny retorted
“Well, if you are sure of what you told me, you will repeat it right in front of her or you will force me to conclude that you are making up stories because of your hatred for Shade right from when we were in school”
Benny appeared shocked; he shook his head sympathetically and headed for the door, he turned his head slightly towards Giorgio as he neared the exit.
“Now, I am convinced that this slut has bewitched you, because that’s the only thing that can explain what you have been doing in the past 4 months. And since you have chosen to ridicule me in front of her, I guess I better take my leave. If you need me, you know how to find me” he said before stepping out and slamming the door.
Giorgio didn’t move from where he had been sitting, his eyes trailed Benny as he slammed the door angrily, he mouthed something inaudible after him before turning towards Shade, “Baby, you were in PH last weekend; is it true Benny saw you and some old guy at the Presidential hotel? He even said the man had him threatened with police.”
“No baby, that wasn’t me, I wasn’t even at the Presidential hotel during my last visit. I was at the Le Meridien throughout my stay and my Boss and I had different suites, I can bring all the receipts to show you in case you have any doubt”
“Oh well, there is no doubt. I asked a question and you’ve answered it; that is enough for me.” Giorgio said smiling
Shade knew she had just lied unabashedly; she wasn’t with her boss in PH last weekend, instead, she was with Chief Akabue, the man she met through her boss and had been dating for a while now. They were at a friend’s house party the previous night, where they slept over till the next day, and were coming in to spend the next two days at the Presidential hotel when she heard her name being called; she turned and could not believe her eyes when she saw Benny standing in the doorway.
“Baby, you know that man?” Chief asked when he noticed her turned and her countenance fluttered.
“Not really honey, but I have seen his face before, he seems to be stalking me whenever I am with you here” she responded with feigned trepidation.
“Stalking you? That’s unfortunate for him” Chief turned to the policeman serving as his personal security detail and instructed him. “You see that man standing at the doorway with a towel hanging around his neck?” pointing to Benny’s direction; the policeman nodded. “I need you to question him and if he cannot explain his mission here, you just do your job as a policeman” the policeman replied in the affirmative as Shade hurriedly dragged chief into the elevator. The policeman later called Chief on the intercom that the man was confirmed to be a regular customer in the hotel and had been lodging there for a few days earlier. Shade was still not comfortable, she subtly prevailed on Chief to let them change their hotel to allay her fears, chief told her she was just being paranoid; but after some persuasion, he agreed that they move to Le Meridien.
“Baby, you have just been standing there without saying anything, are you alright?” Giorgio asked breaking into her thoughts.
“Baby, I am just shocked, what did I ever do to your friends to deserve all these? How would Benny just cook up such a story about me? What did I do wrong?” she said as she let droplets of tears run down her face.
“Come here” Giorgio got up and opened his arms, hugging her lovingly and patted her in the back “I love you, and you will always be my endless love”
“I love you too” Shade replied amidst shoulder-shaking sobs
2 MONTHS AFTER
Shade stared into space, she had a lot going through her mind, things had been going on well between her and Giorgio in the last 6 months, she was sure the ‘assignment’ prepared for her by the prophet was potent and still working. Giorgio was no longer talking with Benny and Thunder rarely had time to see him, so she really had been eating her cake and having it, just like Monica predicted. But on the other hand, Chief Akabue suddenly started loving her intensely; he became more romantic than ever, and was constantly showering her with money, travels and enough gifts; he recently got her a Range Rover SUV and a tastefully furnished apartment in Ikoyi, a development that left her worried for a while because they both talked about how far they wanted the relationship to go while they were starting it, and chief had said categorically that they could only remain secret lovers as any exposure will tarnish his reputation in his church where he was an ordained deacon, until recently when he didn’t seem to care anymore and started singing a different tune.
“A penny for your thought Cinderella” Monica quipped; she came in few seconds before and had been standing beside Shade who seemed lost in thoughts.
“Ah! When did you come in? I didn’t see you” she tried to smile
“Shade, I always know when something is wrong with you; so do away with the fake smile and tell me what is wrong this time?”
“Hmmmmmmm, my friend, everything is wrong, I don’t even know where to start”
“The beginning will be just fine” Monica replied as she settles on the couch facing Shade
“Giorgio has done away with his friends and he’s now all mine just like the prophet said”
“Hmm hmm” Monica nodded
“And as you know, chief just got me a car. But what you don’t know is, he also just got me a well-furnished duplex in Ikoyi”
“Wooooooow! That’s good news, the best news I have heard so far this year. If I were you, I would be throwing parties right now and not being pensive” Monica said as her eyes widened in excitement
“Though I have the keys to the house, I won’t have the necessary documents until I marry him, which will make me not just his second wife but a hidden one as well” Shade said without any emotion
“Now, that is a problem. But there will always be a way around it, over it, or even below it. But, is that all?”
Shade paused for a while; she got up from where she was sitting, paced around the house while Monica trailed her with her eyes until she stopped and turned to face her
“I just got back from my doctor, I am 6 weeks pregnant” Shade said flatly
Monica eyes narrowed and shifted rapidly from Shade’s face to her stomach as if looking to see a protruded belly, she cooed