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“Tell me exactly what happened when I asked you to help me check on my boyfriend,” Faith demanded.
“You mean the other Alex?”
“What other Alex?” Faith raised her voice, as she was tired of whatever games it seemed Grace was playing.
“He wasn’t picking my calls either. At least not with the number you gave me. I went to his house and almost whooped his ass for making you sacred. Then he said he had called you. Was that the guy you said you lost abroad? Because if he is, he doesn’t look husband material at all”.
“Yeah. You noticed that. That was why you decided to steal the one who looked like husband material. My Alex”.
“What are you talking about?” Grace got to her feet, feeling very angry now.
‘I’m talking about Alex Ezeme. The same man you are now traditionally married to. That was my Alex”.
“What are you talking about, Faith? Why are you telling lies over a man? When I showed you his pictures you didn’t say anything. Why now? Where are all these coming from?”
“Tell me what happened when you went to check on him for me. That’s all I ask because if you want me to show you proof that we dated until you got between us, I have lots and lots of proof”.
For a while, Grace was speechless, as she tried to put pieces together here and there. She recalled her experience the night she had gone to check on Alex, just as Faith requested. It was night and she was returning from the school library. Since this Alex’s address wasn’t so far from her home, she decided to branch over.
At the house, she met a guy who also happened to be Alex and coincidentally, had a girlfriend called Faith. Grace was sure she had the right guy. She told him Faith had contacted her and asked that she checked up on him. He looked surprised and told her he had just spoken to her over the phone.
Assured that her friend’s mind would be at peace already, she turned to leave when she saw a man staggering towards the house. At first, she thought he was just acting up so she’d let her guard down and then he’d rape her. Instead, she raised Alarm and the Alex she had talked with some minutes back, came out to see what was happening.
It so turned out, the staggering guy was also Alex and he lived in the same apartment as the first.
Well, since she had already spoken with the first guy and he said he had just spoken with his girlfriend, who also happens to bear the name Faith, asking the second guy would be like saying to the first, “I don’t believe you”. Besides, the second was drunk. One can’t really talk to a drunkard. So she left and went home.
A week later, she was having some problems with her then-boyfriend, Steve. The guy was just too irresponsible. To top matters up he was a serial cheat. She had caught him and a course mate of hers seriously making out in the apartment they shared together.
It wasn’t the first time. Neither was it the third. Grace didn’t cry. She put off her camera’s flicker sound and quietly took pictures of them before walking out of the house. She made her way to the nearest bar, as her only thoughts were to drink herself to stupor.
As fate would have it, the drunken Alex from the past week was at the bar. She ordered 3 bottles of hot drinks and sat at his table, to chat him up. He didn’t turn her away. He let her seat and drink with him. In fact, they drank together.
They say a drunkard talks a lot. And so when they had both gotten really drunk, he talked about what was bothering him. He had lost the scholarship he fought so hard to get, and he didn’t know how or where to get financial help, especially as he had only one job. As a student, his paper didn’t permit him to work more than he already was doing. Almost all the job applications he sent were rejected. The rest had not been attended to. His exams were around the corner and there were certain bills waiting for him to attend to.
Quitting and going back to Nigeria was not an option, as he wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle the embarrassment. But at no time, did he ever mention anything about a girlfriend or fiancée.
When he was done talking, Grace sympathized with him before talking about her cheating boyfriend. How she still loved him and didn’t know if she’d have the will to break up with him. But she did mention it would be great to cheat on him, even if just once.
In their drunken state, they decided that at least one of them should have a wish fulfilled that night. They hired a room at the hotel where the bar was located and spent the rest of the night having sex; an act Alex regretted afterward. And he made Grace know that. By morning, they went their separate ways.
Grace put up with her good friend, Joy, as she didn’t think she was ready to face Steve yet. But Steve did find her out and pleaded with her to come back home. Of course, that was after she shoved evidence of his recent cheating in his face.
Grace didn’t want him back until something happened 3 weeks later. Her friend, Joy, was scared she was pregnant by her boyfriend. She had bought a pregnancy test strip to check herself. She was not. Playing with the rest of the test strip just for fun, was how Grace discovered, she was the pregnant one. She tried other test strips. Same thing. She was so pregnant.
She went to the hospital and was told, she was 3 weeks gone. Wow! The only person she had sex with 3 weeks ago was Alex. But she already knew Alex had said he didn’t want anything with her. Besides, what happened between them was a mistake and she couldn’t really harass him for a mistake they made.
It was then she went back to Steve and agreed to several rounds of unprotected sex with him. But after two weeks, she recounted to him her experience with the test strips Joy had actually bought for herself and how she discovered she was pregnant. But she made it look like it happened after they had started to have sex again.
Being the kind of person he is, Steve rejected the pregnancy, telling her to get rid of it or forget about their relationship. He wasn’t interested in being a father anytime soon.
She told Joy about it and actually contemplated aborting the child when Joy took the bull by the horn and went behind her back to tell Alex, his one night stand had put a baby on the way.
Alex found Grace out to confirm. And it was true. Somehow, news got to Grace’s mother in Nigeria about the development. She got Alex’s contact from Joy, since Grace had refused to give it to her, and she called, pleading with him to marry her daughter before the pregnancy started to show.
She explained her family was a respectable one in the church and her husband was a respected elder. Their daughter having a child out of wedlock would tarnish their image. But Alex wasn’t buying her antics, not even when she promised to help him secure a scholarship.
Yes. Grace’s family wasn’t only wealthy, they had connections with organizations that gave international scholarships to Nigerian students and could get almost anyone they wanted to help, get in the list of accepted applicants.
All the same, Alex made it clear to her he wouldn’t sell his freedom for their wealth. He didn’t want to give them room in the future to say stuff like, ‘after all, we were the ones who helped you through school’.
He made it very clear he and Grace made the mistake together. But he would marry her, so his child can be born in wedlock.
And that was how they made their way back to Nigeria to quickly get married before the pregnancy starts to get visible.
Faith sighed after Grace had finished with her narration, and leaned back against the bed frame. Now she understood why she thought Grace was gradually putting on some weight. She was pregnant; carrying Alex’s unborn child. She closed her eyes, trying to take in everything.
“I’m sorry, Faith”, Grace spoke, “I never meant to hurt you. I will never steal a man from my own friend. It didn’t happen on purpose”, she turned to face her friend, “but I still cannot understand why you didn’t tell me after I showed you his picture”.
“Alex didn’t give me a good enough reason for the break-up. I thought you snatched him from me and well, I believed he loved you back. You’re still my friend, Grace. I treasure you. And I didn’t want to be the cause of a major break up. That’s why”, she looked up at her friend, “but you know he doesn’t love you. Why are you still marrying him?”
“Phew!” a short laugh escaped Grace’s lips, “my family, Faith. My family. Dad and mom promise to withdraw financial support for my schooling and upkeep in the UK if I refuse to marry Alex. And then there’s my inheritance they threatened to take away from me.
I don’t even know why I let them manipulate me like this. Alex clearly doesn’t love me. Now I know why. He loves you. I saw the way you two talked last evening, after the traditional. And even after you left, he kept asking me questions about you”, she sighed, “I’m so… sorry Faith. I’m so sorry”,
Both ladies had wet eyes, as they moved to hug each other. Faith especially was with a heavy heart. They had been through so much. Now she thought, what next?
To Be Continued…
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