Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
The family had come together to talk about Samson’s arrest and to know how they could proceed in his defence. They were now waiting for the criminal defence lawyer that Ifeanyi had appointed for the case, an old friend of his who had come from Abuja to assist. Ifeanyi had just spoken to the security guards at the Victoria Garden City gate, to allow him entrance into the estate.
Samson sat nervously, avoiding everyone’s eyes. Samuel was playing with the twins, Uche and Chukwudi, while Ifeanyi and Mary sat together on the sofa, trying to prepare themselves mentally for the meeting. Abigail and Tinuke, Lola’s baby girl, were playing together in the playpen, while their nannies supervised.
Mary’s phone began to ring, just as the they heard the lawyer’s car drive into the compound. It was Lola calling.
“Let me quickly take this,” Mary said, excusing herself.
Ifeanyi got up to open the door for his friend. There were loud jubilant greetings as the old friends reconnected with hugs.
“Lanre!!! Wow, so good to see you in the flesh! You haven’t aged!” Ifeanyi cheered.
“Look who’s talking! You are looking too good, my man! And this your crib…” Lanre replied, looking around at the abode. It was so well and richly furnished, and despite the tense discussion that was hanging in the air, the atmosphere was cool and comfortable.
Ifeanyi grinned. “It’s the wifey… She feeds me good and keeps a good home.”
“Hmmm…” Lanre smiled at his friend, trying to hide his envy. “You’re living every man’s dream, oh…”
To that, Ifeanyi just chuckled. He escorted his friend into their main lounge where Samson and Samuel now sat in expectation. The nannies took the kids up to their nursery, so they wouldn’t disturb the adults. Mary was still taking her call.
“Oh, wow! It sounds so lovely, Lola. Ifeanyi and I have to go for the next one,” Mary said into the phone, as she returned to the living room. “Okay, no problem. We’ll see you when you get back. Bye.”
She looked up at Ifeanyi and then the man standing next to him, extending her hand in greeting, when recognition struck. Her hand flew to her mouth, at the sight of her old friend from university. Lanre broke into a big smile upon seeing Mary again.
“Oh my God! Lanre?!”
“My goodness, Mary! Longest time!” Lanre and Mary met in a familiar hug, leaving her husband and her brothers stunned as they observed the excitement of their reconnection.
“So, you guys know each other too…?” Ifeanyi couldn’t help but ask the obvious. He had to push down a little pang of jealousy from seeing how close his wife was with his friend.
Lanre swallowed. “Yeah…” He coughed to clear his throat that had suddenly dried. “Yes, actually… Mary was the hottest juvi back in the day… She didn’t send anyone,” he tried on a giggle, as memories from the past suddenly took hold. He had known she was Ifeanyi’s wife…but had kept his distance, so that he wouldn’t have to confront his lingering feelings for this young lady. But here he was now.
“Hmmm…” Ifeanyi muttered. Things weren’t making sense. “But you never said anything,” he said in accusation to both and to none in particular.
“Baby, I never knew this was the Lanre you were talking about. It’s really been such a long time,” Mary said.
Ifeanyi’s eyes fell on his friend for an explanation. He’d certainly seen pictures of Mary with him on social media, even in the newspapers. He couldn’t plead ignorance.
“My bad, man… Mary and I were just cool peeps. She came in my final year… I actually told you about her then.”
“Yes, nau… The hot juvi that was breaking hearts all over campus, cos she wouldn’t give anyone the time of day.” Mary leaned into Ifeanyi, blushing. “We were friends sha, but nothing more.”
Ifeanyi swallowed. He decided that would have to be enough explanation for now. He’d have to talk to Lanre later to know exactly what their history was. Mary had expressed such deep emotions in the few minutes since Lanre had been in their home, that he was sure this ran deeper than appearances.
“Okay… No problem. Let’s get to the meeting, shall we?” Ifeanyi said, sitting down and holding his wife’s hand.
“So, we have a date now,” Ifeanyi said. Samson had told him about it on Friday, when he’d been informed by the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) during his visit to the police station. “October 5th.”
“Okay, that’s good. At least, it’s not going to drag out,” Lanre said.
“So, what are our choices?” Mary asked.
“Well, it depends on the facts of the case and the case we would like to present. Obviously, Samson is claiming innocence. But the facts of the case might be that he was under the influence, not of sound mind, or he may very well want to plead guilty. We should go with the case we believe we have the evidence to support and can win,” Lanre said.
“I’m innocent. I didn’t rape Antonia.”
“Okay, so we’re pleading innocent… I know you’ve probably explained what happened a dozen times already, but I’m going to need you to tell me again, from the top. Leave nothing out. Then I can advise you on your options.”
Samson swallowed. The more he told his story, the more he doubted himself. But he couldn’t give in to the suggestion that what had transpired between him and Antonia was rape. It was consensual as far as he was concerned, and that would remain his position on the matter.
He took in a deep breath and recounted the exchange between him and Antonia on the fated night.
When he was done, everyone looked at Lanre expectantly. He sighed, before he said, “I believe he is telling the truth… But this will be a tricky case to defend. However, the truth is always a good asset and weapon. I’d like to cross-examine the plaintiff. Poking holes at her story, and bringing the incidence and her character into doubt, may be our best approach in defending Samson’s innocence,” Lanre said.
Samson breathed out a huge sigh of relief. It felt good to be believed. He also saw and felt the weight drop from each one of their shoulders at Lanre’s encouraging words. They had a case, and there was hope that he would be believed.
It was supposed to have been a quick errand. Breeze in and breeze out. But Jamie found himself, not for the first time, in the children’s department of the supermarket, looking at the cute baby clothes and imagining how gorgeous Tommy would look wearing them. He longed to buy for him, and today, he convinced himself he should. He had to believe that he would win the case. That his son would be a part of his life again.
He threw a few outfits in his basket, and went in search of some age appropriate toys. Tommy had everything a child could want at home already. But buying these things for his son gave Jamie hope… It allowed him to believe that their separation was only temporary.
When he’d decided that he’d done enough shopping, he turned to leave, and that’s when he saw her coming. Jamie froze. He wondered if he should hide or sneak away. If she would turn right around when she finally realised that it was him standing there… Yet, he wanted to stay, because a moment such as this has been what he’d longed for. In indecision, he stood frozen, hoping and praying that she wouldn’t run away.
Adania was just done with her grocery shopping, when she remembered that Tommy was out of baby wipes. It had been one of the main reasons she’d come out, but she’d gotten distracted with getting other things they needed. She began to push the trolley in the direction of the children’s section, after she’d gone to the bathroom section, and it hadn’t been there.
She was face to face with him before she saw him. Just standing there. Looking anything but the man she knew. He looked spooked and then suddenly over-excited. She didn’t know what to do. She never expected that she would find him here…
“Hi,” Adania was genuinely surprised to hear that voice, and not know who owned it. She swallowed. She should just leave, before she says something she would regret.
“Adania…” Now, that was more like it. That was the voice of a man she remembered, and naturally, her defences rose up. She closed her eyes as she turned her trolley around. “Adania… Please.”
By now, Tommy had recognised his father and was smiling and gurgling excitedly, stretching his small hands, eager to be carried from the confines of the baby seat attached to the supermarket trolley. Adania and Jamie both looked at the happy boy, and Jamie couldn’t resist reaching for him too.
“No, Jamie! You will not make a scene here…” Adania said, moving the trolley out of his reach.
“Adania, you never even gave me a chance to speak. Not for one second. That’s not fair.”
“What would you say?” she shouted. Then immediately shook her head. “No, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you have to say to me, say it to my lawyer…”
“I’ve missed you. Every day since you’ve been gone. I want you back…” Jamie said, following after her. “Not just Tommy. I want you… Adania, I love you… And I’m sorry.”
Adania stopped suddenly, causing Tommy to start crying. She turned to Jamie in her wrath. “Damn you! Damn you to hell! After everything you’ve done, you think you can just say sorry and it’s all over??! You think you can just say you’ve changed and I’ll believe you?! You think you can just throw around your empty ‘I love you’s and I’ll come running?!! Damn you, Jamie!!! Damn you, for making me look bad and making my baby cry…”
And with that said, she turned back around and continued to the till. She couldn’t give a damn about the baby wipes anymore. She was so enraged, she wondered how she’d managed to keep herself together. She stared ahead and ignored the eyes of the onlookers, who apparently pitied the wicked man she’d once loved.
Dami was bent over the stove, which was outside, against the wall of their boys’ quarters room, cooking lunch for herself and her husband. Tope had just finished his early morning breastfeed, and was now sitting contented in his stroller. Sola was lying on the double bed that took up most of the room. He was supposed to be playing with their son, but he was tired. It had been a stressful week.
After returning from the hospital with his baby boy, he’d sought to return to work the next day and had been there until about lunchtime, when his boss called him aside and suggested he take a couple of weeks off to help his wife with their baby.
“Believe me, she’d be fine without me… I’d just get in her way,” he’d said.
“If you don’t establish your place now in your baby’s life, she will think and you will feel like you are getting in the way later. You are entitled to paternity leave. Take it, rest and look after your family.”
Sola didn’t really get it. His was to provide, right? What was more important for him to do at home? But he knew the truth was that he felt overwhelmed. He wanted the space that work provided so that he would be ready to deal with all the stress at home when he finally checked in for the day.
He’d returned home and floated around Dami, wondering what he could do. She’d been irritated and eventually shouted for him to sit down, that he was ‘stressing her out’. He’d sat down and thought to sweep, but with everyone home, he would only be throwing up dust, which would be counterproductive. He’d wait until the room was free. But that wouldn’t happen until Dami went out.
“Wanna go for a walk?” he’d decided to ask.
“Are you serious?”
He swallowed. Was it such a foolish question? “I thought you could stroll about the neighbourhood, while I clean up in here…”
“Stroll around the neighbourhood with a two-day old baby?!”
“I’m just trying to be helpful…”
“Why don’t you go to the market then? We need a few things…”
And so, he had become her errand boy all week, going to the market, coming back to wash and prepare the things he bought for cooking, which he couldn’t do to save his life, so she still had to do that. He also learnt how to change his son’s diaper and bath him, so that Dami could get some rest. She was the only one feeding him, because she didn’t want to express her milk nor deal with washing baby bottles. Besides, she said it was much cheaper that way.
So, when Mary visited on Wednesday with lots of provisions, including diapers, baby wipes and formula, Dami had asked her to take most of the formula away. Leaving a couple of cans for an emergency situation, when she couldn’t breast feed. Sola had been so grateful to Mary for her thoughtfulness and said as much. He’d felt that Dami had acted entitled by rejecting her gifts, and after Mary left, they’d argued over it.
“For God’s sake, where are we going to keep everything?! There’s no space here! I can barely move…” Dami had shouted in her defence.
“You could have just accepted them… We can always take them to our friends or cousins who need, nau…”
“I should have known that that’s what you were thinking about. So, with all the stress here, you want to be going up and down distributing gifts…? I don’t have time for that!”
Sola had to admit that he didn’t really want to do that. He just hated to turn away gifts and anything that might save them money. Looking around the cramped stuffy room now, he knew she was also right to refuse some of the gadgets that Mary had brought along. They really had no space, and he was wondering how they would cope when Tope grew bigger.
Dami came in just then, with a tray of food for Sola and herself to share. She found the stool, and swept away the items on it with her arm, as she laid the tray down. Moving it to the middle of the bed, she made to sit down.
“Excuse!” she hissed, as Sola’s legs were still spread on the bed.
“Sorry…” he said, moving them and sitting upright. “Lunch smells lovely…”
“What is it?”
“You were supposed to play with Tope! If you had, he would be sleepy by now. Now, he won’t let me eat…”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I was tired…”
“You’re tired?! From doing what?”
Sola swallowed. Why was Dami so angry all the time? “Baby, I said I’m sorry…”
Humm… Dami breathed out. She calmed herself down. “I’m sorry… I know you’re trying to be helpful… I think this place is stressing me out. It’s too tight…and hot. We really need to find somewhere better.”
Sola nodded. “Soon, dear…”
“No, baby… I can’t deal. I don’t mind if we move back in with one of our parents until then, but living like this…without help, I think I’m going to lose my mind!”
“Humm… I think it’d have to be your parents’ cos my parents’ house is too small…”
“Can we move this weekend?”
“It’s short notice, but we can ask them…”
Dami let out a sigh of relief. She’d expected Sola to fight her on this. “Thanks.”
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.unsplash.com
Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop your comments! Thanks for reading 🙂