It had been three months since Mila last saw Tunji Jacobs. He had sent her a message that he had to go to the States for an urgent business trip for a week and one week had turned into three months. She had mixed feelings about the whole thing. Had he lied to her about travelling for a trip? Why hadn’t he called or sent her a message? Had he forgotten about her? or was his status too high for her own average standard? she wondered. The night after their date, she had googled him and found out that he was from a royal family and asides that, he owned an oil and gas company with branches in Lagos and Abuja and the US. She was confused at first because, he had mentioned that he was more of a finance guy.

Work had gotten intense during this period and it was already November. The last quarter of the year was usually filled with a lot of work and deadlines to be met at the ACE Group because, companies would come up with Christmas and New Year themes for adverts that would run through into January of the next year. So, Mila found herself spending more time in the office and working later than usual. On some occasions, she would even work on Sundays after church. She loved the stress cos it took her mind off her worries. She missed Tunji and his absence grew her fondness for him. Why hadn’t he called? she kept wondering.

…………………

It was the close of work and Mila was still at her desk. She still had to proof read the script she had finished working on in the morning and the current one she was working on. They were to be used the next day so she had to get it done. The office was almost deserted. Everyone was exhausted including Simi who had been drawn into the pressure. She had left immediately after work as she had been complaining of a migraine all day. Mila connected her little speakers to her laptop and then played Alicia Keys “Butterflyz”. She loved the song and the way Keys sang the lyrics as if she was in pain; the same overwhelming ache she was feeling from working late with a migraine and missing Tunji as well. And so, she reduced the volume to 50, put the song on replay and it became her melancholic companion till she finished off by 9 pm. By that time, she was the only one left in the office. The other offices too were deserted so she shut down her system, switched off the lights, packed her bag and then left. Leaving with her and enveloping her was her cloak of sadness and fatigue.

…………………

She stood outside the company gate, waiting for her cab which was to arrive in fifteen minutes. Usually, she would walk to the bus stop and board any bus or cab going her way but this time, she was too exhausted to walk. So she waited there for the cab she had ordered online. Then she noticed that  a car was pulling over and reversing towards her. She felt a wave of relief wash all over her and started walking towards the car. “This is my ride, now I can go home and rest” she thought. But something else stopped her in her tracks. She saw the familiar silhouette of a woman coming out from the driver’s side of the car. Mila turned around to flee but she was too late. The woman was fast as she shouted Mila’s full name and that shocked Mila even more, rooting her to the spot.

“Emila Bassey!”She said calmly this time

Mila could only say in a small voice “How did you know my full name and what do you want Mrs. Nathan?”

Mrs. Nathan gave a wicked laugh and as usual took her time to have a proper look at Mila like she was cross checking a specimen before answering.

“Well well well. Lagos is such a small place isn’t it Mila? And it’s funny how you can open your filthy mouth and refer to me by that name”

Mila was too tired to respond to the insult so she asked as politely as she could.

“What do you want from me Kumbi, haven’t you tormented me enough?”

“Why were you fucking my husband? You knew he was soon to be married and you went ahead to have your flings with him!”  Kumbi said angrily

“Look Kumbi, I’m really sorry it seemed that way. First off, I wasn’t sleeping with your husband. We actually dated for 6 months and all through, he never mentioned you. What we had wasn’t a fling. But again, I’m sorry” Mila said and tried to reign in her raging emotions.

“You know what, I’m already exhausted from all this. But stay clear off my family. We’ve got a baby boy now and he looks exactly like his father, Nate. And oh! I’m expecting another one. So don’t you dare come near us with your adulterous self again. Back off!” with that, Kumbi stormed off, got into her car and zoomed off.

Mila stood there staring into the streets. At that point, her cab pulled up and she got in then, the tears started flowing freely. She was shaking with rage as she remember all that had happened.

…………………..

She was in the 6th month of her service year when she had met Nathan. He was a regional manager at one of the network service providing company in Abuja where she served. She had met him on one of those occasions when she  was stranded at Maitama and Nathan had been kind enough to give a lift to her lodge and also left her with some money for upkeep. From then on, they had become friends and then lovers. When she returned back to Lagos after service, Nathan had been transferred too to Lagos and that made her feel like they were actually meant for each other.

The problem started when one weekend, she was at Nathan’s and Kumbi had walked in wearing a ring and carrying lots of luggage. Mila was scantily dressed and so wasn’t prepared for what had happened next. Kumbi had thrown her out the way she was, and had given instructions to the security guard never to allow Mila into the compound again. Nathan wasn’t around at the time to save her and Mila didn’t understand what was happening. She had been too shocked to even protest. A good Samaritan in the estate had helped her with full clothes for cover.

The following months had been hell for her as Nathan never called to explain anything to her and Kumbi had ensured that she tormented Mila in every way possible. She had traced Mila to her parent’s home and told them that Mila was sleeping with her husband. She had embarrassed Mila in public places severally and not once did Nathan show up.

When she finally saw Nathan in the fourth month, she had asked him just one question; “Why?” and all he could say was “I’m sorry”.  Before then he had stopped taking her calls or replying her messages, had even given instructions to his secretary not to allow her into his office if she came around. Then he finally blocked her.  She had to go to and wait for him at his company gate after work one day before she could talk to him.

Then she had found out that, he had been engaged to Kumbi who was studying for her Masters abroad and their wedding had taken place a month after she returned back to Nigeria. She had asked him if he was aware of what had happened at his house and he had said yes. She had gone back home that day with her shattered heart in her hands. She had cried her eyes out and cursed the day she met Nathan. She changed her line, and stopped going out for fear of running into him or Kumbi. When she got the job at the ACE Group, she had spent her first two months salary in moving out of her neighbourhood in Festac to Surulere. Though it was an expensive move, she was lucky to find an affordable two bedroom self contained apartment which she shared with her parents  in one of the best estates. Her other 3 siblings were older, married and with their families so, she was happy sharing the space with her parents. That was over a year ago.

…………..

She got home, laid on her bed and cried more until she slept off.

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