House on Fire: Part 2

By Marion Williams Akena

Standing there at the hospital, still wondering how my marriage with Jayden had reached this point, I flashed back to when it had started to fall apart. This was four years ago, and things were not going well with my company since I had just started it. All the men I approached for business wanted to sleep with me instead of partnering. I had to reject them each time, and every time I did so I lost the contract. Jayden got worse each day, and the house bills and rent kept on increasing. Jayden had become a drunkard after losing his job. He stopped listening to me and would go out every afternoon and come back slurring and stumbling.

I had lost hope of getting out of the financial crisis until one day, when I was sitting at home thinking on how I could end the situation, I decided to meet up with one of the men who had offered me a very large sum of money to invest in my business. Mr. James. He was one of the richest people in town and we had met at Green Apple Restaurant, one of the busiest restaurants around. I had gone to grab some lunch after work when a man walked up to my table.

“May I please join you?” he asked.

Not to be rude, I agreed, and he sat at my table.

“Am James, and you.”

“Am Eunice, how may I help you, sir.”

“You could help me by telling me more about yourself. If you don’t mind of course. What do you do?”

“Well, I deal in real estate, I invest in houses and have them furnished then resell them at higher prices.”

He was impressed with me and said he wanted to help me with my business. Little did I know that he just wanted sex which he would pay for with some big amount of money. As he mentioned the sex part, I asked him never to call me again because I was a married woman. I left the restaurant.

But now that sum of money would not leave my mind.

It was eleven o’clock in the morning when Jayden left home to go and drink as he always did. I called up Mr. James. I was so nervous and scared that my husband might find out everything and my marriage might end. But I knew I had to do it to make everything right again. I hesitated for about five minutes before I could call and finally dialed the number.

“Hello sir, you’re speaking to Eunice. The lady you met two weeks ago. Remember me?” I asked as soon as he picked up his phone.

“Of course, I remember you. How are you doing today?” he replied.

“Am doing great, Mr. James, and you.” I bit my fingernails.

“Am okay, just surprised that you are calling me. The last time we met you asked me not to call or disturb you ever again. So to what honor do I owe this call? Don’t tell me you thought about our discussion and you have now made up your mind,” Mr. James asked.

“Oh yes! That’s what I was calling to inform you about. Do you think we can meet up today and finalize the deal?”

“I would be delighted. So can we meet at Hotel Nok at six in the evening?”

“Yes, that’s fine. See you there, then.” I ended the call before I could finish off my fingernails. My heart was beating so fast that I had to go and check at the door to make sure Jayden wasn’t yet back.

My conscience was catching up with me as I prepared for the evening. But that was the only solution we had for our problems. All I could think of was the twenty million he would offer my company to flourish. I dressed up in my black tight dress that I had bought months ago and wore once and put on my white four-inch heels. I applied my perfume and left at five forty-five in the evening. Luckily, Jayden hadn’t come back yet. I got to the hotel at exactly six. My timing was perfect because Mr. James had just reached as well. When I saw him, I thought of turning back but then remembered the reason I was there in the first place: to get the money I needed to pull my business up. We walked to the room that he had booked and finished what I went there to do. He wrote me a check of twenty million immediately. I didn’t take too much time, I got dressed after receiving the check and left as soon as possible.

Walking out of that room was torture, my whole body shook as I took each step with fear that everybody in that place was staring at me and screaming that I was a prostitute. I looked around and realized I was only imagining things. That’s when I convinced myself to move with confidence because nobody was actually looking at me.

I got home and Jayden was already there. He didn’t ask or react about the way I was dressed but instead he acted lovingly as though we hadn’t had a fight in the morning. I couldn’t read his mind nor know what he was thinking, soI played along with this and gave the same energy he was giving because I didn’t want him to suspect that I was cheating on him. Little did I know that I had made the worst decision of my life.

The company started doing well with that extra money, and my relationship with Jayden went back to the way it was. A month after that, I felt a little sick and when I got the test done to find out what was wrong with me, I found that I was pregnant. I went back home with the test results very excited and couldn’t wait to surprise Jayden. As soon as I got home, I gave him the envelope. He hurriedly opened it and with the look on his face I could tell he was happy. He jumped up and lifted me up then put me down. At that moment, everything was falling into place. I got my soft kitten back and finally we were having the fruit of our love. I was so sure that the baby growing inside me was for my handsome Jayden and I couldn’t wait for all of us to meet.



6 August, 2023