“Isioma, what did you say?”
It was finally the day of reckoning, Isioma thought as she plonked on the bed, wiping off her tears because they could not help her.
“I am sorry, Chiedu; sorrier than you can ever know. I couldn’t tell you after it happened. But I can’t hide it anymore.”
“What are you talking about, Isioma?”
She raised her head to look at him where he remained standing, staring at her in shock, and a certain amount of disbelief.
Oh, if only she could undo it. “It was two days to our wedding and he came to see me. I didn’t invite him. I didn’t even know he was back in Nigeria; we ended every communication after our breakup. But he came that evening to see me and… and it happened.”
“It happened.” He took one step closer to her. “What happened?”
“He… I… we…” She struggled to form the words and failed. “I’m sorry, Chiedu. I’m so sorry.”
“I asked you what happened, Isioma.”
His voice was dangerously quiet, and terrified her. She wanted to get off the bed, to put a safe distance between them. But her entire body felt too lethargic. So, she sat there, waiting for whatever he would do to her.
“I already told you, Chiedu. I slept with someone, my ex, two days before our wedding.”
There was a moment of silence. Then he asked, his voice still too quiet. “You slept with your ex two days before our wedding?”
She couldn’t stop the tear that slipped. “I didn’t mean for it to happen. He… it was over between us and I’d sincerely forgotten him. But he visited that day and I don’t know how, or why, it happened.”
“You slept with your ex two days before our wedding?” This time, his voice was incredulous.
“I am sorry, Chiedu.”
“You had sex with another man two days before you and I got married?”
The disgust, which somehow had crept in and sharpened his voice, made her wince. “It wasn’t planned. I didn’t know…”
The sudden crack against her cheek shoved the words back down her throat.
Her ears roaring, Isioma clasped her stinging cheek. It was the first time he was hitting her and she wished he would do it again. Do it, because she deserved it.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered, leaving the tears to fall now.
“You…” He struggled visibly with himself and finally, staggered two steps backward, his hands fisted by his sides. “Isioma, you had sex with someone else while we were abstaining? When it was only two days before our wedding? How could you? What… why would you do it?”
He won’t hit her again. Now, he wasn’t just angry. He was hurt too; wounded. “I swear to God, I don’t know why it happened. We broke up because I wasn’t interested in a long distance relationship when he decided he was going to move to the UK. Then you and I met, I fell in love with you… I truly did.” She needed him to believe that. “I loved you and forgot all about him. So, I don’t understand how it could happen.”
“You don’t understand how it could happen? You sit there and tell me you had sex with another man while we were almost married and you say you don’t understand how it could happen?” He swore violently, stomped forward, grabbed her and shook her. “Isioma, what is this nonsense you’re telling me?”
“I am sorry, Chiedu. I swear to God…”
“Stop swearing to God! Stop swearing because you don’t know God.” He shoved her backward and stared down at her with disgust. “You don’t know anything about God. You’re a cheap cheat; a damn liar. My goodness! You’re a bloody liar! You betrayed me two days before our wedding and still married me. You betrayed me and have been lying to me for seven years. Jesus, Isioma, you make me sick.”
“I make myself sick. I hate myself. I hate what I’ve done. I shouldn’t have kept the truth from you but… but I couldn’t tell you, Chiedu. I was too scared to tell you.”
“You were not too scared to tell me, you were just a disgusting liar. Two days… while I kept myself for you. While I denied myself and respected your wishes just so we could come before God clean and sinless. You…” His jaw trembled, his teeth chattered. “You asked that we wait and yet, you slept with him. You had sex with him… Was it just once? Was it just him?”
“Chiedu!” Oh, how it hurt that he would doubt her. How it hurt that she’d given him the reason to doubt her. “Of course, it was once. I wouldn’t lie to you…”
“You have been lying to me!”
“Yes, I have been lying about this. I have hidden this truth from you. But it happened only once and only with him, and that is something I am not lying about.”
“I can’t believe it.” The words came out in a raw, anguished whisper.
“I sw… It’s the truth, Chiedu…”
“I can’t believe that you betrayed me like this and kept it hidden.”
“Oh.” The undiluted pain in his voice, the heartbreak in his eyes, deflated her. “I am sorry. I am so very sorry, Chiedu. I know what I’ve done is unforgivable and that is why I’m leaving. I will go and I will take Dinma with me, so you don’t have a constant reminder of my betrayal. I only ask…”
“And why would you take Dinma with you?” He cut her off.
She dropped her head as she prepared to deal him the final blow. “She’s not yours, Chiedu. You’re not Dinma’s biological father.”
“Chidinma, she’s not yours.”
“What the bloody hell are you talking about?” He jerked her up by the shoulders. “What do you mean, Dinma is not mine?”
“I…” His fingers bit into her flesh, but she refused to whimper in pain. “She’s his. He’s her biological father, not you.”
“Liar!” He let go as if her skin suddenly stung his hands. “You make me so sick with your lies. You slept with your bloody ex and now, you want to give my daughter to him?”
“No, that’s not what I’m doing. It’s the truth…”
“You don’t know the truth. You’re too much of a damn liar to know the truth.” He snarled.
“Don’t touch me!” He slapped aside the hand she reached out to him. “Don’t you dare touch me with that filthy hand of yours.”
Isioma withered under the disgusted stare. “I’m sorry.” She whispered, back-stepped and plonked on the bed. Her quivering legs couldn’t hold her. “I am not lying. I can’t lie anymore even if I wanted to. I didn’t know at first. I thought I conceived while we were on our honeymoon; maybe even the wedding night. But the last couple of years, I’ve been having doubts…”
“You’ve been having doubts the last couple of years and like the liar you are, you said nothing, right?”
His sneering tone, the disgust in his eyes hurt her. “No, I didn’t say anything because I was afraid to believe the possibility that Chidinma might not be yours. I told myself it couldn’t be; I made myself believe that was the truth and tried not to think about it. But the nightmares started and…”
“The nightmares? The nightmares you said you couldn’t remember?”
“I was too scared to tell you about them. I’m sorry.”
“So, that too was a lie? Of course, it was a lie. I realise now that I am married to an accomplished liar.” He looked at her like he despised her. “Have you been lying to me from the get-go? Is everything about you a lie?”
“No, of course not, Chiedu. Other than this, everything I’ve ever told you is the truth.”
“You mean, other than the fact that you had sex with your ex two days before our wedding, that you think my daughter is your ex’s and that you couldn’t recall your nightmares?”
“Chiedu,” she forced herself to hold his gaze. The hate in them stabbed her in a million places. “I don’t think Dinma is his. I know it. I had a DNA test done.”
Involuntarily, she stepped back from his snarl. “The nightmares, they were about you throwing me out of the house and…”
He swore. “I don’t want to know about your damn nightmares anymore. What I want to know about is this DNA test you did “
“Okay. I had to do it. U…” She stopped herself from mentioning Uche. She shouldn’t bring anyone else into this. “He… my… Awele saw you two at ShopRite…”
“Awele, that’s his name?”
She nodded. “And it was him who stared at Dinma at ShopRite.”
“That was him, your ex, the man you betrayed me with?”
Again, she nodded.
“You knew it was him when I was telling you about a man staring strangely at Dinma and you pretended like you were worried about perverse abusers?”
“No, I didn’t know it was him while you were talking that day. I mean I suspected but I…”
“Enough! Enough of your bloody lies and disgusting excuses.” He looked like he would hit her again but instead pointed his finger at her. “You’ve been seeing him. You’ve been seeing him even while we are married.”
“No! He just came back to Asaba a few weeks back.”
“And you two have been seeing each other? You resumed your affair with him?”
“I didn’t. I wouldn’t. It wasn’t an affair before. It only happened once.”
“That’s what you say, isn’t it? But you and this man have been seeing each other and you two connived to have a DNA test done on my daughter. He saw her that day, sensed something wrong and came after you, didn’t you? He demanded the DNA test because you’ve been lying to him too, right?”
“Save the lying excuse.” He broke in. “Listen to me, you may have reunited with your ex-boyfriend to continue your cheating game but you have absolutely no right to take my daughter for a paternity test along with him. And when the hell did that even happen?”
“I just received the test result today. But it wasn’t between him and Dinma. It was your samples and Dinma’s that I sent to a DNA centre in Lagos.”
“My samples? How…?”
“Nail clippings and strands of hair.”
“Ah, I see you’ve been busy. Well done.” He said with a sneer. “So, it was my samples and Dinma’s and your result says she’s not mine?”
“I’m sorry, Chiedu.”
“It’s good you’re sorry and you will get sorrier. You are all packed up, right?” He flicked a gaze to her suitcases and then back to her. “Good. Now, you get out. Go, Isioma. Go wherever and to whomever you please. But you are not taking my daughter with you.”
“She is mine and she stays mine.”
Advent, Mystical Encounters 1, is on launch sale and in the store, get your copy HERE