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To Read chapter two click here
I had thought the night’s surprise has come to an end but I was shocked when Rasaq dropped on his knees. He looked at me with eyes of want. His eyes showed hunger and desire. I knew he wants me this night. I’m just going to wait for this drama to unfold. If this is how every day in London is going to be, I’m never going back to Nigeria!
He spoke up, “Halema, I want you to listen carefully. For the past two months I’ve been an idiot. I’m really seeing how beautiful you are. You have the nicest figure, the sharpest curves, the sparkling voice, you move with heavenly grace and your smile just takes me to Jupiter and back.
“I’ve offended you by making you what you’re not. You’ve been dehumanized and I really want you to forgive me. For God’s sake you’re only 18 and you’ve faced such cruelty. I really hope you can find a place in your heart to forgive me. ”
This got to be the most unbelievable moment ever. I was found dumb-struck, I replied, “I… I… I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll forgive me. ”
For the desires you stirred in me? “If that’s what you want, I forgive you.”, I told him. I never took it as he offended me in any way.
Then he stood up, took my arms and led the way to his incredibly mighty house.
Few minutes later, a white man came in our direction and talked with Rasaq in English for a few minutes. I didn’t understand what they said but some simple English caught my ear.
“… Wife, Halema… In the car… Treat well… “, was all I could hear.
Then, Rasaq introduced the worker to me, “That’s Philip. He manages the house.”
I shook hands with Philip and said, “It’s really nice to meet you.” It’s one of those simple sentences I’d learnt when I was in Nigeria.
Then he said some sentences in English which I do not understand. I just assumed he was very happy to see me and would work his very best. I stared at the house once again, it was a mighty house.
We walked a while longer and we came into the main house. The beautiful light of the room streamed into my face, I was dazzled by the size of the great room. A soccer team could practice in this very room. I was still absorbing the divine state of the room, thinking in my mind how the very door I just passed is the gateway to paradise, when a beautiful young maid walked straight to us and interrupted my reverie. She spoke up in a thick Yoruba accent. Those people and the way they talk. This one might be from Oyo state. “My name is Opeyemi. I learnt you’re the master’s wife. He’s really lucky to have a young beautiful woman like you as a wife… Let me not bore you with any introduction. The flight must have been interminable and you must be hungry. Your food is ready.”
Right on cue, my stomach growled like a roaring lion. The sound of food must have excited some nerve. For sure my brain cells must be saying, “Did somebody just say food?”
Rasaq nodded. Apparently, the two of them do not really get along. What is my business with the way he treats his staff? one mind scolded me. The other mind gave its rebuttal, I am his wife, every aspect of him is my business.
I asked him about what had happened with the cold greeting and he brushed away the question. “I am really hungry. Let’s not talk about it now”
I decided not to worry about it unless I want my good time to come to an end. We walked in silence till we got to the dining room. I had expected an English dinner but what I saw next excited every taste bud in my tongue. My stomach growled for the second time, this time it sounded like a thunder. I really couldn’t wait to start eating but I must respect myself. I repeated this like a mantra. Respect myself. Respect myself. Respect myself.
I sat down right after when Rasaq, like a gentleman, had pulled the chair for me. I’m pretty sure there are thousands of women out there who are also struck by his charms. I’m really lucky.
I grabbed a bowl and washed my hand. The feel of the cold water was soothing to my hands. Then I started to eat the Tuwo Shunkafa and Miyan toushe soup. Oh, so delicious. I savoured the taste of the soup. I wish I could have this moment for life. Rasaq is respecting me. I’m living in a very big English mansion. I have everything I can ever ask for, even this Tuwo meal. Life cannot be better. Nobody should tell me there is heaven elsewhere. This is heaven. I ate like it’s the last meal I was ever going to have.
After dinner, it was time for the two of us to go to our bedroom and have some rounds of lover’s game. But I had a bit of disappointment when Rasaq said in rushed Hausa, “Do not think I am going to defile you again tonight. Even though every bit of masculinity in me wants to sleep with you and is even craving for you, I would remain sane. I had made up my mind earlier this night. I am not going to sleep with you until you fall in love with me in the conventional sense. And until then we’re going to act like normal couples.” His Adam’s apple moved up and down in the way I like when he said that. They moved in such a way that I want to touch it.
If only he knew how much I loved him. If only he knew. But I concluded I wasn’t going to tell him, not yet. For a while I lost all sanity, he was ruining the perfect night. Tonight was going to be the best night of my life. But not without the sex. We went into separate bedrooms and I was unable to sleep for a long time. I just kept tossing and I resorted to thinking about home to pass time. I thought about mother and father and everything at home. I didn’t know how much time had gone before I finally slept. I had a nightmare about the man who raped me in the past. I woke up with a start. I have had the same nightmare for so many times that I didn’t scream like I used to. Several times in the past the man in my nightmare would take weird faces.
The next day was perfect. I was still sleeping when I heard a knock on my door. I opened my eyes and the rays of the golden sunlight passed through the windows into my eyes. I stood up and shook my head. I was still mad at Rasaq. He can deny me anything, but not sex. I’m his wife for fuck’s sake. I was happy because he also didn’t get any sex. Or did he? Was that maid sleeping with him throughout the night? I shook those thoughts away. I walked down to the door to find Rasaq holding a bouquet of flowers and a card. I couldn’t read it, of course, so he read it to me. “For a wonderful creature perfectly made, it gives me great joy to greet you with this lovely flower every morning.” I rolled my eyes and said, “You woke me up!” It was more of a happy accusation, and I didn’t mean to say it that way but I didn’t mind. I was still mad at him. He looked confused for a moment and then said, “I… I didn’t mean to wake you. I was just excited and I couldn’t wait to ask you something important.” He said with a boyish grin on his face.
I looked at him and rolled my eyes. “What do you want to ask?”
“Will you go on a date with me?”
“I don’t understand. I am your wife and you’re supposed to ask me if you’re to go on a date with me?”, I asked, wondering what is wrong with the man. Do husbands and wives even go on dates?
“I said it yesterday that we’re not husbands and wife. It is just a matter of the law. You’re making this unnecessarily difficult for yourself. Just think of us as strangers who met yesterday.”
I had forgotten that actually happened yesterday. I thought I was dreaming. So Rasaq actually meant what he said yesterday? My subconscious did three somersaults when he said this.
“Well, I do not think I’m in the mood to go out on a date with you. You said it yourself that we’re strangers who just met yesterday. And as a stranger, I would not go out on a date with you.” If he’s going to deny me sex, I would deny him this date.
He looked hurt. He looked like he just lost a contract of millions of dollars. I can’t do this. I can’t possibly hurt him. I love him too much to do that. So I spoke up before his mind could possibly process any emotion, “I was just joking. I would like to go on a date with you.” He smiled his boyish grin again.
“You almost got me there. I’m really glad you accept to go on a date with me. You don’t know how much it means to me.”, he said with a relief, “Now, I’ll let you do whatever you want to do. When it’s time, I’ll come meet you.”
I smiled at the thought. I’m finally going to get the teenage life I always wanted. Well, maybe he misses that life too. He’s barely 21 and would still love to have adventures. Seriously, no one is ever too old to have adventures. I told myself it is going to be fun. We’re going to discover our love.
I had breakfast, this time it was an English breakfast. It was simple dessert and coffee, Rasaq told me later. As I was eating, my mind drifted away. How’s the date going to be like, I wondered. My mind reminded me of the real reason I wanted us to come to the UK. I wanted to learn the life of the English people. I had admired everything about them from the language and from the movies I watched at Rasaq’s house. And also, the hotel in Lagos. My parents didn’t own any television so the first time I saw a television; I was amazed by what it does. Now, however, I’ve grown used to it.
The time came for the date and I heard a knock on my room. With the help of the maids, I had gotten into one of the finest dress in the house. It was a simple red gown with blue decorations. The gown brought out the shape and curve of my body. However, I felt defiled. I was used to covering all parts of my body, just the way I was taught to dress since I was little. I looked at myself in the mirror, and shook my head. If only my village women could see me now. I was unsure of myself and when I heard the knock, I wanted to scream ‘No!’, but my mouth didn’t do its work. Instead my errant legs started to move towards the door, and when I turned the door knob and opened it, I saw a struck Rasaq. He was wearing a blue shirt and a black waist coat. It really suited him.
He was speechless for a second. I was irritated for a while. Why isn’t he saying anything? His silence made me almost shut the door on his face and run inside. “Why aren’t you saying anything? Your silence is making me uncomfortable.”
“Halema… You…You look like a goddess. You’re so beautiful. You do not know how glad I am you’re doing this for me.”, he said in a dark voice that spoke of need. I knew it! He wants me now! Too he bad he isn’t going to get what he wants. I’ll patiently wait to see how much self-control he has in him.
“Thank you. I wasn’t sure I like my dressing. You see, I’m used to the way I dress back at home. But your workers picked this for me and I don’t know how I’ll reject it. Besides, I doubted I’ll find a better alternative.”, I said. My innocence written all over my face.
“No! You look very pretty and…”, his voice trailed off. I’m so happy I am having such effect on him.
“Now shall we”, he said before taking my hand. We walked out of the magnificent house into the dark London evening. The night was full of beautiful stars and brilliant lights filled the streets and roads. The atmosphere looked peaceful. Rasaq walked me to the car, and opened the door for me. The car was a beautiful car. Red and big. While I waited for him to join me in the car, I played with the seat belt. I knew he’ll strap me in when he comes in.
The car drove for a short while. He seemed to know his way properly around here. When the car finally stopped, he turned to me and asked, “are you ready for dinner?”
I nodded and he got off from the car, opened the door right next to me and took my hand. I followed his lead and he led me. I knew we were going to a restaurant of some sort but what I saw next nearly kicked the air out of my long. The restaurant was perfect. The blue lights streaming from the chandeliers, the slow, soft song that played in the atmosphere, the colour of the restaurant itself. Wow, I’ve found heaven, it’s in London.
We sat at a table Rasaq picked. The waiter came immediately showing us the menu. Rasaq placed the same order for the both of us. I just smiled and looked at him. He’s looking radiant. He’s really intelligent. The most intelligent man I’ve ever known. He never kept his eyes away from me. He seems to be enjoying himself.
Few minutes later the waiter came in with a bottle of champagne. Rasaq poured some into my glass. I looked at him as he sipped from his glass. I drank my fill in one gulp. It was really delicious. The taste of the cold drink was one I would never forget. Rasaq poured more into my glass and set down the bottle. Then he started, “How has London been since yesterday?”
In a word, perfect. “Well, London has been fantastic. I enjoyed your new behaviour and this challenge of us living like normal couples. It’s really nice. Also, the atmosphere has been great even though I spent most of the time here in my room and in cars. I believe before the end of the holiday, I would find it more and more enjoyable.”
He looked at me and smiled. His boyish grin is really unsettling. I wondered what he could possibly be thinking about. “I’m really glad you’re finding this enjoyable. I’d really like you to enjoy well before we return to Nigeria.”, he said and then trying to change the topic he asked, “I never really know what you want to be in future?”
“Well, I don’t really know. I like helping people and I want to make my name known. Maybe I just need to get an education so I can know what will interest me the most.”, I replied. I didn’t want to remind him constantly that I needed education but he brought up the matter.
“Well, I’m sure you can be a lawyer. You’ll put your smart mouth into work and you’ll get to help people.”, he said.
“I don’t know about that. What about you? What exactly do you do?”
“I’m a business man. I took over my father’s company”, he said. And for a while he looked like he remembered something. “What is it?”, I asked him.
“Don’t bother yourself about it. I remembered something about work. Let’s have a nice dinner. We’ll discuss more later.”
The waiter returned with the meal. I ate in silence. Then I spoke up, “I noticed you and the house staff, Opeyemi, don’t get along with each other. Why is that?”
“She’s a worker of my dad’s. I caught them having an affair one day and now that I’m in control I’ll fire her. I’m just waiting for a replacement.”
“I’m sorry. It must have been hard.”, I said, then asked, “Why don’t you fire her right away?”
He brushed off the topic once again. He doesn’t really want me to know much about this Ope. I suspect something between the two. Anger rose in my mind and adrenaline pumped. Well, he said she’ll soon be fired.
After dinner, we left the mighty restaurant and he took me shopping. “I want you to develop a new look, a new dressing. I’d like to see you in these beautiful gowns”, he said when we got to the boutique. I saw a nice pink gown that caught my eyes, I couldn’t hide the glee in my eyes and he turned to ask, “You like that one?”
I nodded. I took it off the mannequin and I wore it in the changing room. I’m still not sure I can dress in these English dresses. They don’t seem to do justice to my body like those clothes at home do. But when I dressed up, and looked at myself in the mirror, I was stunned. I look stunning. The pink gown really looked just well on my skin like I had thought. “I came out of the dressing room to show myself to my man. He looked like he had been crushed. He was totally speechless for a while, but I snapped and asked him how I looked even though I knew I looked totally stunning. He said I looked amazing and we continued shopping for clothes.
Right when I thought it was over, he took my hand and said, “Come!”
I followed him. And suddenly, his hands cupped my eyes. I giggled, “Ra..saq. Stop it!”
“It’s a surprise”, he said, “now be a good girl and shut your eyes.”
A moment later, he removed his hands slowly from my eyes and I finally let light enter them when he said, “You can open them.” What I saw next was the most beautiful piece of jewellery I have ever seen. It must have costed a fortune, I know. I tried to look for my voice to say that I cannot accept the necklace. Seriously? Halema, who are you kidding? You want it, have it. I thought about many other women who would politely turn down a very nice gift at first offer and I told myself that they were kidding. Who wouldn’t accept a lovely gift?
“Rasaq, why? Thank you!”, my throaty voice offered, “I love it. But I can’t have it.”
He frowned, “But you said you love it. Why can’t you?”
“Why would I?”, I asked, “it must have cost a fortune.”
He looked at me, “You don’t have to worry about that. You should have it because you love it and because I want you to have it.”
He wouldn’t have me reject the necklace so when I accepted it, he smiled. He’s really enjoying this; buying me gifts, taking me places. Hell, I’m enjoying myself. I took the necklace in my hand and looked at it carefully this time. Rays of sunlight fell on it and it sparkled like it was an antique from heaven. It really is a marvel of a necklace. The golden body made it look appealing to the eyes and Rasaq helped fit it into my neck. He said, “You look amazing. This is what you want. I know it.” Something in his voice tells me he isn’t just talking about the necklace. He was really talking about my age and stuff. He really couldn’t forgive himself for the way he treated me. And like an answer to my thoughts, he said, “I’m really glad you could find it in your heart to forgive me for that I have done.”
“Rasaq, you really shouldn’t bother yourself with that anymore. I’ve forgiven you and I have forgotten about it. All you’re doing is ruining an enjoyable day by not letting sleeping dogs lie.”
He looked at me as though to ask are you sure? And I looked away. I spoke up and said, “Now let’s go home.”
He took me home and I dropped the clothes to a maid and she kept it in a closet meant to be mine. I walked to my room and I walked close to the wall mirror and I stared at the image staring back at me. The necklace had a lovely pendant of the Tower of Paris and suddenly, I felt the urge to visit Paris too. In fact, I felt like visiting all of Europe and enjoy myself in all of them in this two months I have as holiday.
The next day, Rasaq and I visited a few places and he started attaching name to every one of them. It was exciting. We first went to the Tower of London. There were a lot of people there watching the marvel of human architecture. The castle is located on the north bank of the River Thames and is separated from the eastern edge of square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill, I learned later. A guide came towards us and soon we formed a group. The guide introduced himself as Charles Abbey. He was in his late twenties and seemed to be very intelligent. He told us more about the Tower of London. Rasaq, of course, was my interpreter.
“The castle was founded in 1066 and was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. It was a resented symbol of oppression inflicted upon London by the ruling elite. The Castle was used as a prison from its early years in 1100 until 1952. However, this was not the castle’s primary purpose, it served as a royal residence early in its history as it served as a palace. The castle had also served as a treasury, the home of the Royal Mint and a public record office. During the world wars, the tower was used as a prison again and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage”, Rasaq told me as we were moving round the tower. I looked at Rasaq, some of what he said didn’t make much sense to me but I liked it that he didn’t make me feel left out of what the guide was saying. So I listened attentively to him, and because I did he continued, “the tower receives a visitor of about close to three million people yearly and is owned by Queen Elizabeth II. And before I forget, Elizabeth I was held as a prisoner in the castle before she became queen. Also, because of the number of people sent to the tower as prisoners, there was a phrase for it, ‘sent to the tower’”.
Our guide continued to direct us to various sections of the tower and each different one appealed to me in different ways. The architecture was astonishing. I couldn’t believe the dates, either.
Rasaq also told me that despite the castle being used as a prison for so many people, only seven people were executed in it before the World Wars. During the First and Second Wars, twelve men were executed in it.
Then again, Rasaq told me about various works of architecture all over the world. In Rome, for example, we have the St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine chapel, the Pantheon among many other works of art made by gifted artists like Raphael Santi, Michelangelo, Bernini and so on. He promised to take me on a trip to visit the Louvre museum in Paris, France. He told me it is one of the most visited museums in the world, and it is also the world’s largest museum containing special works like the Mona Lisa which was painted by the famous Leonardo da Vinci. He brought out his phone to Google a picture of the Mona Lisa and I stared the image. Lisa appeared to be staring back at me in a way I wasn’t sure I liked. It was as though she was seeing through me. Seeing through my impurities. He moved on to show me different works of art that we can see in the Louvre – Egyptian antiquities like the Assyria, which is essentially a Human-headed winged bull and dates back to the 8th century BC; Shroud of Saint-Josse from Iran which is a rich silk saddle cloth woven some time before 960; Michelangelo’s Dying slave and Rebellious Slave which are marble sculptures about 2.15 metres in height. The Louvre, he finally said, receives visits of about 6 million people yearly.
“Have you ever been there?”, I asked him.
“Twice”, he said and smiled at me. “Before we go back to Nigeria, we will visit France”, he finally ventured as though he read my mind. My inner mind did three somersaults and it almost jumped off my body.
“Did you go alone?”, I asked him, not that I cared but I just wanted to continue the conversation.
“On the first visit, I went alone – that was five years ago. On the second visit, I went with my ex-girlfriend”. He never told me anything about his ex-girlfriend! I made an upset face but before he could see it, I remembered I haven’t told him about Austin either. So we’re quite even, I thought.
He noticed my silence, and with the way he moved his fingers I suppose he pondered about what he had said. However, he went on to talk about The British Museum which was located here in London and said he’ll take me there one day. His knowledge in the field amazed me and I asked, “I never knew you loved art?”
He smiled and hung his head in a cocky manner, then said, “Well, I have always loved art. The works of those painters and sculptors had always interested me and I learnt more about them as much as I could. It was my heart desire.”
“But you’re a businessman. Why didn’t you follow your heart?”, I asked. Well, I couldn’t picture Rasaq as a person who loved art or who practiced it, but surprises can come from anywhere.
“My father forced me to do a lot of things. He forced me to become a business man so I can take over his company and business when he’s dead since I’m the only son. Well, it turned out to be great at the end.” he said. He opened his mouth to say something but he decided not to.
“What is it?”, I asked him.
He looked unsure whether to talk or not but then he started, “The real reason I didn’t want to marry you was because you were forced unto me by my father.”
I laughed. “Well, parents should decide what the children want. I really do not see any harm in my parents choosing my career and everything. Stop saying nonsense, my mind scolded, you were mad at your parents for choosing your husband.
I snapped at my mind, Hey, bitch! We’re happy now, so don’t complain. And then, she hid her face behind her palms.
Before I got time to contradict myself, Rasaq spoke on mechanically, “Really? Do you not see that you’ll get deprived of your ability to choose? What if you do not like what your parents have chosen for you?”
“Well, I’m not quite sure of how I’ll respond to that but I’m sure there are many people out there who wish that they had followed their parent’s ideas and advice. Our parents have travelled this path before so they know the right ways and wouldn’t want us to make the same mistakes that they made.”, I argued.
He smiled, “Is that life worth living? Living a life without any mistake? Wishing at the end that you have disobeyed your parents instead of obeying them. When it comes to your life, you’re in charge. Don’t let anybody take the control from you. You have the right to choose, and when you have made the wrong choice, correct yourself.
“For there are many painters out there who have become doctors. These are the unhappy doctors that we meet everyday life. There are musicians out there who end up as professors and at the end they do not enjoy what they are doing, and they’ll become sad and envious every time they see someone achieving their dreams. Would you want that for anybody?
“I am not cutting the role of parents in the life of children totally. All I’m saying is that they should support and protect the dreams of the children.”
I really couldn’t argue anymore. I just nodded. He was right. You have to choose the pathway which you would live. And then it hit me!
“You once asked me what I intended to do with my life. My career and such”, I said, “and I was unable to say anything. I didn’t know what to do with my life. But now when you told me about the abuse of human life that had occurred in this Tower”, I paused and pointed around as though we were afar and not inside it, “It occurred to me that all I want to do is to help people. I want to help people fulfil their dreams without being afraid of anything and anybody. I want to fight for the rights of people. I can’t bear to live knowing that there are people out there suffering injustice and there are children out there who are begging for what to eat. I just can’t…”
He looked at me with incredulity, “You want to be an activist?”
I tested the word, “Actisist. Yes, that’s what I want to become.” He stifled a laugh and corrected me in a cocky manner. I must learn English quickly!
We continued our journey round the Tower and I got tired and hungry at a point. “I’m tired. I’ll really like to eat something too.”
“Good. I was thinking you’d say that.”, he said and then took my hand. We went into a nice restaurant and Rasaq ordered dinner for the both of us. Right during the dinner, Rasaq stared right into my eyes and asked, “Have you ever looked into the mirror and ever wondered how those beautiful, small, brown eyes of yours are?”, Really?
“Why? Thank you.”, I replied, not sure of how to respond to his flattery compliment. I didn’t see him move towards me, but the next thing I know is that his lips touched mine in a very swift manner. He kissed me with that dark passion I can’t put my fingers on. He kissed me like his life depended on it. His tongue moved in and out of my mouth in a mechanical manner, creating a rhythm my body was growing accustomed with. In…Out…Oh!
When he finally released his mouth from mine, I took a deep breath and realized we were still at the restaurant with a plate of food right in front of me. Well, I have lost my appetite for food. Right now, my appetite is for that lovely man sitting in front of me with his eyes watching my every movement.
“I don’t think I can eat any longer.”, I said, then changed my tune into a sexy one, “I’m hungry for something else? You”
He smiled with a boyish grin. He can be so unbelievable at times. Why do I like him so? He must be really glad to hear that from me. He stood up and grabbed my hand and said. “Come!”