When they first got married, they had been so happy. They lived in a two-bedroom flat and had a beaten-down car that gave more trouble than it was worth, yet they were happy. They didn’t have money to dine in posh restaurants or buy trendy clothes and all her jewelleries were gold-plated not actual gold, but they were happy. Those days, he didn’t work late or all the time and he listened to her when she had something to say.
All that was changed now. And in the five days since their dinner with Benjamin Akintunde things seemed to have become worse between them. He’s been coming home later than usual and he barely spoke to her. The last two days, he hadn’t eaten the breakfasts she made. She stopped making dinner because he told her when he came home Monday night that she shouldn’t bother making him dinner anymore.
She was tired. Naomi admitted this to herself, she was tired of her marriage. She was tired of Samson’s attitude towards her. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she knew she was tired and she wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take.
She’d been thinking lately of going to talk to his mother. She was was a very sensible and kindly woman, and they both shared a mutual affection for one another. But she was hesitant because Samson rarely listened to her. He rarely listened to anybody, truth be told, and especially since he’s become such an important man.
He’d said that to her months back when she was complaining about his lavish spending on clothes.
“I’m now an important man, Naomi. I’m expected to look a certain way. And so are you for that matter, as my wife.”
He was so extravagant. So shallow. So self-absorbed. Why hadn’t she noticed all these before? Why? Has she been blinded by his good looks, by his charming manners, or by her desire to have a man in her life?
Maybe if she hadn’t been so eager to get into a relationship and not be the only single one among her girlfriends, she would have been more observant and seen all that she was seeing now.
Naomi exhaled when she heard the sound of the gate. He was back. Focusing her attention once more on the television, she pretended a nonchalant air as she waited for him to come in.
He did a few minutes later.
“Welcome.” She said and didn’t bother to turn. Since he started responding to her greetings with grunts, she’s limited the attention she paid to him.
“Thank you, Naomi.”
Surprised that he responded and in his soft tone she was almost forgetting, Naomi looked at him. “You look exhausted. Was it a hectic day today?”
“I guess it was.” He came over and sat beside her. “Actually it was a terrible day. A terrible week since Monday.” He closed his eyes tightly for a few seconds before opening them to stare at her. “We are in trouble, Naomi.”
“We are in trouble?”
“Well, not we. I am in trouble. Big trouble.”
There were tired lines on his forehead and his entire expression was weary. But what shook Naomi was the gleam of fear in his eyes.
“What is wrong, Sam? What kind of trouble are you in?”
“MD invited auditors to audit the company’s accounts. No one knew of this but him and the Director of Accounts.” He paused. And it shocked Naomi that his lips trembled before he went on speaking. “He’s been suspecting that some fraudulent practices were going on, he said. Today after working hours, he called me into his office.”
Fear, the one in his eyes and more, crept into her. “Why would he call you into his office, Sam?”
“Because I’ve been stealing company’s funds, Naomi.”
“Oh my God!”
“It started with a few hundred thousands about a year ago. Monies some of the company’s clients brought in to smooth things over with the Sales and Marketing department. No one noticed, so I started to take more. And then it became more and more and…” He shrugged. “I couldn’t stop and it ran into millions.”
“Millions. How much millions, Sam?”
“One hundred and forty-three million naira.”
“Oh my God!” Naomi felt dizzy. “You stole one hundred and forty-three million naira from the company? Oh goodness! Why? Whatever for, Samson?”
“Because we needed it.”
“What?” Naomi stared at him in confusion. “What do you mean we needed it? We didn’t need the money. We had enough. You earn…” She didn’t know how much exactly his salary was. “You earn over a million naira monthly. That was enough for us. More than enough, so you didn’t have to steal.”
“It wasn’t enough, Naomi. I was General Manager. I was a senior staff. I was an important man and I needed to look the part. It was necessary.”
“No, it wasn’t necessary. It was greed. Your greed. Your insane desire to feel important; to be important.” Oh dear Lord, what has he done? What were they going to do? “And what did you do with the money? What did you do with the one hundred and forty-three million naira? Where is it?”
“What do you mean, where is it?” He looked at her like the question was ridiculous. “It is gone. We have spent it.”
“Gone? How? Where? Where did it go to?”
“Well, it went into buying this house for one. And then…”
“This house! I told you not to buy this house. You told me you had the money!”
“I did. But it wasn’t all my money.”
“Oh my God!”
“Yeah. The Santa Fe too. The two plots of lands.” He shook his head. “Other things… clothes, jewelleries… so on.”
“It cannot be all.” Naomi felt like her world was falling apart. And which in fact it was. “Just that cannot expend one hundred and forty-three million naira, Sam.”
“We are not here to do an accounting report on how I spent the money, Naomi. We are here to discuss the solution to the trouble I find myself in.” He retorted.
She wanted to slap him for that cold rudeness, but Naomi pulled back her fear and the anger that streamed from it. He had a point. Accounting for the money wasn’t the most important thing at the moment.
“I suppose he wants his money back.” She said.
“Not just that. He is going to call the police. He intends to involve the law.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’m going to be arrested, prosecuted for fraud and monetary theft and sent to prison, Naomi.”
“Prison?” Horrified, Naomi gaped at him. “But… but can’t we just pay him back his money?”
“I committed a crime, Naomi. I stole company’s funds. There’s a price for that.”
“But he can forgive you. If you beg him… If we beg him. We can pay back his money and beg him to forgive you.”
“Well, we can try begging him but I don’t know if that will work. I know I’ve tried it this evening and he…” He shrugged. “Besides, we don’t have the money to pay back.
“We must have something. So the money you stole is all gone, but we have savings. I have about three hundred thousand and change. I’m sure you have some.” She looked at him, begging him with her eyes not to tell her differently. “You do have savings, don’t you?”
“I have no savings. There’s barely a hundred thousand in my account. We’ve been living the high life, Naomi.”
“You have been living the high life.” Dear Lord, how could he be so sarcastic even now? “I keep warning you against all these unnecessary expenses, but you never listen to me.”
“Fine, I didn’t listen and now we are in trouble. The thing is that begging him won’t stop him, Naomi. He wants back his money, which I don’t have and he wants to make me pay for stealing from him. He will make me pay unless…”
“Unless what?” She demanded when he stopped there.
“Unless…” He looked away from her.
A cold chill entered into her. “Unless what, Samson?”
“Unless he has you.” He returned his gaze on her. “He wants you. He wants to sleep with you.”
“God forbid!” Shock made her sweep back from him. “That’s an abominable thing. Evil thing. He wants to sleep with another man’s wife?”
“He said he will forget it all, the money, the charges, if you spend one weekend with him. Just one weekend.”
“He said…” Naomi stuttered, horror was spreading like vice through her. “You’re considering this. Samson, are you considering this… this abomination?”
“I don’t know. After I pleaded with him, he offered me that option and said that is the only way he will let this go.”
“And you are considering offering me to him as a sacrificial lamb to free you from his bondage?”
“Naomi, there’s nothing else I can do. There’s nothing else we can do.”
“Oh my God! You knew. You knew he was going to do this.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did!”
“No, I didn’t! I didn’t know he was going to go this far. Fine, I admit that I knew he had his eyes on you. That he wanted you. It amused me. It even made me feel good. I had something MD wanted. But I didn’t know it will come to this. I didn’t know he will ever ask… demand that you sleep with him or else…”
“Or else you go to jail and pay for your crimes.” Naomi quietly finished.
“We spent the money together, Naomi. This doesn’t just affect me, it affects you too.”
“Did we? Does it really affect you, Sam? Are you even bothered that another man wants to touch your wife?”
“Of course I’m bothered. I’m insulted.”
“Insulted. Why? You haven’t shown like you still want me the last few months. You haven’t touched me, talked to me or spent time with me. So, how does it affect you that another man wants something… someone you don’t want?”
“Stop talking this nonsense, Naomi.”
“I am talking nonsense?” Furious, she sprang to her feet. “Your MD wants to sleep with me and you say I am talking nonsense?”
“Yes you are, if you think I want him touching you.”
“If you don’t want it then why are you considering it?”
“Because I have no choice. Naomi, we have no choice here. He said this is my only option. If you are not with him this weekend, on Monday I’m getting arrested.”
“What?” There was an ultimatum? Staggering shock knocked the fury out of her as Naomi stumbled back. “This weekend? It’s Wednesday.”
“Yes, I know.” Samson stood and walked to her. He took her hands. “He wants you with him Friday night.”
“Yes, Friday night. Look, I know it’s horrifying and unthinkable, but we have no choice, Naomi. We don’t.” He raised one hand and caressed her cheek. “Do this for me. Please.”
“Do… this for you?”
Naomi stared in horror at her husband.
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