“Seriously, Eddy won’t let up with the references about working in the field again,” Slay griped, while he nodded his thanks to the waiter that just opened his chilled bottle of beer.
They were at their favorite bar, a week after the new DS had been installed, and their once a month scheduled guys night out.
Morgan scoffed, “Did she come right out and say it?” he asked after chugging, almost half of his lager.
Slay sighed wearily, “No, but she keeps dropping this tiny suggestions every opportunity she gets, it’s driving me crazy. She’s a damn good operative and I know she misses the field, but she’s my wife too,” he said in frustration.
“You know how dangerous it is out there, I’m not sure I’d be able to allow her go on a bust without hanging around as backup.”
“I feel you bro, I’m just glad Alero isn’t an operative,” Morgan said and sighed in obvious relief.
Silence reigned for a second, and in that time, Slay and Morgan exchanged worried looks before pinning their curious gazes on their extremely quiet uncle, the man that had stepped up and became their father when they’d both been orphaned.
The man that had recently, just a week ago retired as the DS of the state’s SSS. Both guys had expected he would go through some adjustment issues, but not becoming morosely quiet and entirely ignoring them.
Slay cleared his throat, “Uncle, you aren’t saying anything. What should I do about Eddy?”
Ebong looked up at his nephew, his gaze seemed almost unseeing, like his thoughts were far off else way. “Son, you shouldn’t be asking me for relationship advice, seeing as I’ve never been married,” Ebong’s voice took on a bit of sneer when he spoke about never having gotten married.
Slay and Morgan exchanged worried looks again, they had no idea how to help their uncle. The man had always been self sufficient and had never given the boys reason to worry for him, until now.
There was obviously something bothering him, something more than the retirement. It couldn’t be the retirement because he’d been planning that for years, it was the agency that had actually been holding him down the whole time.
“So, why haven’t you ever married?” Morgan asked.
Ebong was shocked out of his stupor when Morgan of all people posed that question. He would have expected it from Slay, not Morgan and it seemed Slay must have been thinking the same thing, because his expression was as shocked as Ebong’s own.
The older man shrugged insouciantly as though it didn’t matter. But, it did matter. Ebong was currently, silently asking himself the same question. His mental tone was exponentially derisive as he wondered why he’d never married.
Seeing Cecil and the look in her eyes had turned his usually peaceful and fulfilled life upside down. She had reminded him of what she’d denied him years ago.
Why hadn’t he married? Could Cecil have been right; had he been moping around, waiting for her to return? It was a disgusting notion and it made him feel like a wimp, that he’d never married because the only woman he’d ever wanted had married someone else.
He really had been over her though, but now, it seemed like a hidden door had opened and he was unconsciously recalling all the times he’d spent with her. He was recalling how he’d felt then, the importance of the job and climbing the career ladder had dwindled and Cecil had become the most important thing in his life at the time.
But he’d been rudely awakened when he’d realized she didn’t share that sentiment. The job had always been more important.
“So, maybe, you could…get married now?” Slay stammered awkwardly.
Ebong snapped his head up in suspicion, “Have you been speaking with Wana?” he asked a wary Slay.
“Why would he be speaking with my wife?” Daniel asked as he and PJ arrived at the table, just in time to hear Ebong’s question.
“What took you guys so long?” Slay asked instead.
“We already ordered,” Morgan grumbled.
PJ laughed while shaking hands with their perpetually grumpy friend, “We noticed,” he replied and everybody laughed at the table.
Ebong was grateful for the interruption and the shift from the topic of him getting married. He had been shocked to realize that Cecil’s face had immediately come to mind at Slay’s suggestion.
“Why were you talking about my wife?” Daniel insisted after getting his own beer and taking a sip.
“Dude, everybody has to talk with your wife at one point or the other, she runs this ship, if you didn’t notice,” PJ replied.
“And she’s crazy,” Morgan added deeply.
Daniel bristled while the other men laughed, slapping their thighs in the process.
“Morgan, why would you call my wife crazy?”
“I meant that in a good way,” Morgan replied, seemingly unworried that Daniel might really be offended.
Daniel knew even if he was offended, he really couldn’t do anything about it, Morgan was big and the guy was always spoiling for a fight. Besides, the guys made everything a joke, so he couldn’t really be offended.
“How is calling my wife crazy a good thing?” he sighed wearily.
“You boys all married crazy women, if you ask me,” Ebong added, currently letting go his moroseness to join the camaraderie on the table.
“Yeah, I agree, but Wana takes the front of the bus,” Morgan said again.
“He doesn’t mean she’s crazy mad, just…she’s more liberal than the other women,” Slay explained.
“She hounded me for that suya I supposedly owed her,” Morgan pointed out as an example.
“Let’s face it, Morg, you really did owe her that suya,” PJ said with a chuckle.
“And what did she do when I finally got it for her?” Morgan griped.
“You bought five thousand naira suya for my pregnant wife!” Daniel exclaimed accusingly.
“And dear Wana made a party out of it,” PJ added.
“That evening was fun though, I enjoyed it,” Ebong commented.
“Did you ever hear what she did to Debbie’s cousin, Bobo?” Morgan asked Slay with an uncharacteristic wide grin.
Yeah, I heard,” Slay said and started chuckling, PJ joined in and then they were retelling the whole scenario of Wana tricking Bobo after sexually harassing her for weeks, which ended with Bobo tied naked to a table and Wana beating him mercilessly with a belt.
Daniel was noticeably quiet when the guys laughed raucously over the whole drama. Then the conversation moved to the other women, Slay was worried about his wife wanting to return to the field.
PJ mentioned his wife hounding him about the planned get together for Christmas and how much he missed Richard, because he would have perfectly handled whatever Debbie wanted.
“Wana just complains about Tony’s rowdiness,” Daniel added, so as not to seem left out or conspicuously quiet.
“Let’s face it, Danny, your boy is a rascal,” PJ laughed.
“And your girls aren’t?” Daniel joked.
“It’s just weird how you guys arrange this once in a month hang outs just to take a break from your wives and kids; but you still end up talking about them,” Ebong commented in disbelief, shaking his head at the group of young men who only laughed.
“You guys just need to keep your wives pregnant, it’s the simplest solution for keeping them occupied,” Morgan said off handedly.
Silence reigned at the table for a second before PJ exclaimed, “Dude, that’s the most sexist, arrogant thing you’ve ever said!” he chuckled.
Daniel nodded but he was thinking that he would love another kid. Stacy was an adult, Tony was a precocious six year old now and he just plain missed having baby scent around his home.
“Is this your way of telling us Alero is pregnant again?” Ebong asked, fixing a knowing gaze on Morgan.
The guy smiled almost shyly and shrugged and the whole table erupted in laughter and congratulations and orders of more beer and a bottle of whiskey to celebrate the eminent addition to the clan.
“Jeez guy, we can hardly keep up with you. It’s like you’re on a race to create your own country,” PJ griped jokingly.
And Morgan’s reply was a wide and apparently proud grin, which caused the table to erupt in laughter again.
The conversation continued, another bottle of whiskey was ordered, other things were discussed, but Daniel worried silently. He kept wondering why he’d been the only one that hadn’t heard of Wana’s exploit with Debbie’s cousin, after seven years of marriage.
Wana had just put her tornado of a child to bed when her husband returned from his guys’ night out.
“Hey,” she greeted with a tired smile and waited for the inevitable kiss that would follow, but Daniel just nodded and walked by, going straight to their room.
Her brows furrowed in confusion. She had seen Daniel drunk before and it made him more loving actually. But at that instance, though he wasn’t sober, he wasn’t drunk either, and he’d just denied her a kiss.
Tightening her lips, she closed the front door and paced the length of the leather couch in the sitting room to calm her rising temper. She knew her husband, had mastered all his expressions and attitude before their marriage clocked a year, but today was a new one.
Was he cheating on her? Her heart squeezed painfully at the thought, then she shook her head, silently refuting it. Everything had been fine when he left for his night out with the guys, it must have been something that happened there.
Wana suddenly felt guilty that she’d instantly suspected the worse when she should be trying to find out what caused his moroseness. But she couldn’t be entirely blamed, her brain went numb whenever Tony expressed too much exuberance, and today had been such a day.
She sighed wearily and made her way to the room she shared with her husband. The first sign of trouble was his contemplative frown, which seemed to double as…hurt, Wana decided. Who could have hurt him?
“Danny…darling, what’s wrong?” she asked, actually concerned, because Daniel was the best husband, despite some of her dramas, especially when she’d been pregnant, he had taken everything in strides.
So, to be like this bothered her and she had the pressing urge to make it better for him, he deserved it.
The problem was, he wasn’t even turning to her, talk more of answering. “Danny, will you please tell me what’s going on?” she pleaded wearily, she wasn’t one for long pleadings, but she would try, just this once to be the patient spouse.
Daniel just kept pulling and flinging his cloths with angry jerks and movements. It suddenly occurred to Wana that, unbelievable as it might seem, her husband was angry with her.
“What did I do?” she asked, her heart thumping in dread; had she unknowingly insulted one of his writer associates again? That had been two years ago and since then, she just avoided his pretentious bunch of associates in the publishing world.
“Danny…” she called with fear coloring her tone, but he silently walked into the bathroom and shut the door firmly.
Was this the end? Had he suddenly realized that it wasn’t chic to have an ex-convict for a wife? Would he divorce her? Where would she go; as she would be too proud to beg for lodging from any of their friends, it would be too embarrassing, so that was out of the question.
She had money though, now that she owned her own boutique. But then her husband had been responsible for funding most of it, her pride would definitely detect she relinquish it to him.
Tears threatened to fall from her eyes, but she took a deep breath and sucked it in, her mind beginning to put up defenses, in case the worse happened.
She had abandoned the lessons she’d conscientiously taught Richard when they’d lived at the orphanage; but silently, she swore she would recall all of them no matter how terribly hurtful.
Would he take her kid away from her? A sob broke from her throat and she had to press her face in a pillow to curb her emotions. What would she do if he took away her child…would he also find someone to pose as a fake fiancée to take her baby away from her?
She didn’t even want to think of what leaving Daniel would do to her heart, she would probably become terminally ill, especially if she had to watch someone else by his side.
The thought was abruptly interrupted when she heard him open the bathroom door. She immediately wiped her eyes, took deep breaths and backed him while she changed into her night gown.
There were no two ways about it, she had to take the bull by the horns as was her way. She had to announce that if he was divorcing her, she wasn’t going to leave her baby behind; and she would have loved to also say she wouldn’t cry over him, but that would be a blatant lie. With that decision made, the oppressive tightening in her chest didn’t still loosen an inch.
Daniel hadn’t meant to act like a juvenile but damn it, he was hurt and angry at Wana. How could she not have shared such a momentous affair in her life with him? The most annoying part was that every other person knew about it; he had felt like a fool among his friends today.
While driving home and without the interference of his friends’ loud conversation, he was able to replay the whole story, torturing himself with images of Wana naked with Bobo.
He imagined that she must have had to seduce him some how to get him to pull off his cloths. Had she used the same alluring moves she used to seduce him? Daniel knew that she hadn’t done anything with this Bobo, at least, according to the story, but she must have touched him, kissed him even…
And Daniel groaned at the sharp pain that shot through his chest at the picture. He had hoped that the cold bath would rid him of his furious jealousy, an emotion he couldn’t recall ever experiencing, but it hadn’t.
Now, the hurt, anger, jealousy combo now added to the guilt that had bloomed in the bath as he recalled the way he’d ignored his wife. He hadn’t seen her face but he’d heard her voice, and he’d wanted to answer her desperate questions, but, he just couldn’t.
Wana was a strong woman; she’d probably just ignore him and go sleep in Tony’s room. The day that had happened before, they’d had a terrible row about Wana’s unguarded comment towards a writer offering a very sweet publishing deal, and the man had been offended. It wasn’t everyone that was used to her liberal attitude and speech.
If she retired to their son’s room, Daniel had no idea if he’d go after her and beg her to return or would allow her stew for the night. But if she left their giant bed, he was sure he’d miss her during the night, in fact the thought of not having her soft, warm curves against him twisted his heart painfully.
Finally, he sighed wearily and pulled on a clean but old, weak short for the night before opening the door and stepping into their room. His eyes searched for her immediately and found her in a corner, her arms up while a sleek lingerie slid fluidly down her body that had gotten a bit curvier after child birth.
Daniel was held spell bound by the silky flow of the night wear and then he recalled that he was supposed to be angry and took away his eyes from his alluring wife and matched determinedly to the bed.
Usually she moved to the bed when she’d changed into her night dress, but today she hesitated, Daniel could see her fidget uncertainly with his peripheral vision. An unconscious frown marred his brow, his wife wasn’t a timid woman, but the woman at the corner was currently acting timid.
Daniel had been about to speak when she took a noticeable deep breath and beat him to it. “Are we…” her voice choked at this point, shocking Daniel into abruptly turning around to see the distraught his wife’s face.
She rallied strength with another deep breath which sounded curiously watery like she’d been crying for a while, “Are we getting a divorce?” she asked in a small voice, her shoulders hunched defensively while she waited for the scary reply.
“What?!” Daniel was exponentially flummoxed, especially when she began sobbing in earnest, he scrambled off the bed speedily and crossed the room to her.
His heart broke when she stepped back and held out her hand to stop him, “Stay back,” she whispered while trying to curb her sobs.
“Jesus, Wana, what in heavens name are you talking about?” he asked, his own heart trembling with the dread of the word divorce.
“Why are you mentioning divorce?” he begged, wondering what he’d done to trigger this reaction. He would be reduced to nothing if Wana left him.
“Wana?” he called while he watched her clean her tears with her palm, heaving like a crying child while hurdling in the corner.
“Talk to me, baby,” he pleaded, shifting a step towards her.
“You…you ignored me at the door, and then wouldn’t answer me…”
“I was just hurt, Wana,” he broke into her speech, guilt suffusing his chest and obliterating the hurt, anger and jealousy.
“…about what?!” Wana exclaimed with more tears, “I tried to ask you, and you weren’t answering, you’ve never done that before. So, I thought that maybe the end is finally here…”
“The end?!” Daniel was flabbergasted as he stared at his wife.
“That you’d finally realized you couldn’t be married to an ex convict any…”
“Wana!” he didn’t care what she wanted, he closed the gap separating them and hugged her tightly, allowing her to cry on his shoulder.
“Sweetheart, please, I’m so sorry. Jesus, how could you just jump to that kind of conclusion?” he asked rhetorically, and then something else occurred to him, had his wife been entertaining this doubts their whole marriage?
“You’ve been expecting the marriage to end?” he asked incredulously, but was happy to feel her shaking her head in refute to his question.
“Since you weren’t answering my questions, I kept wondering what was bothering you and then I discerned that you were angry at me and then the thought just…”
“No, Wana, God I love you. And I feel stupid now for the way I’d acted earlier. I was just hurt that you’d never told me about the episode with Bobo, were you apparently got him naked and it was worse because everybody seemed to know the story but me.”
Wana’s eyes widened, “Oh God, I’m so sorry, I just didn’t regard it as important. I was ecstatic to be making a life with you as my husband, there was never…I just didn’t think…I’m so sorry, Danny.”
“Yeah, me too. With the way you’ve reacted, the issue doesn’t seem so important any longer,” he knew his wife entertained doubts about their marriage from time to time, it reflected in some of her reactions. It was as though she feared that her past was still a serious contender for her future with him; but her reactions had never been this extreme before.
“Thinking of it now, you deserve to have known about that episode…”
“Well, I knew today, the guys really enjoyed retelling it.”
“Oh God,” she mourned, covering her face against his shoulder, and he held her close.
“Never…never mention divorce again as it pertains to us, Wana…” he warned fiercely, dragging her body from his, so that he could look into her eyes and she could see his own eyes and the sincerity in them.
“I love you…”
“And I love you…”
“I would never jeopardize what we have, I would fight for us if we had an issue and I promise to just speak with you about any slights or hurts instead of ignoring you.”
Wana sniffled, this time in pure, undiluted joy, “I’d appreciate that,” she said and hugged him. “And I’ll never assume anything is unimportant, I’ll tell you all,” she promised, her voice muffled against his shoulder.
Daniel held his wife and sighed in relief, his hands roamed her body in a relaxed caress as he appreciated how she felt in his arms. Then he kissed her neck, nibbling on the shell of her ear, when she sighed and pushed her body closer, rubbing her succulent breast against his hard chest, he groaned and moved her swiftly towards the bed.
With everything that had happened that night, their love making took on an intense feel; they tore off each other’s night cloths and made passionate love with so much abandon, it felt like the times before Tony was born.
They went at it two more times in the night, all without protection, all while murmuring how much they loved each other and giggling like little children.
Months later, Daniel had to think back to this night and wonder if it had been divine intervention; because, if he’d gone right out to ask Wana that they have another baby, she might have refused.
That first pregnancy hadn’t been kind to her emotions at all, her hormones had been all over the place, making her mean one minute and a cry baby the next.
It made sense that it happened on a night when they’d reaffirmed their love for each other.
DUCT SEASON 4 continues
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