Joseph arrived at Brenda’s place, only to learn Tony was dating Brenda. If that was the reason why Amanda sounded scared over the phone, then truly, he wanted to laugh. But the look on Ella’s face made him put himself in check.
He tried to console the ladies by pointing out that, as long as Tony wasn’t forcing her into a relationship there was no big deal in their being together; even though he agreed the guy was an arse.
It took a while, but the ladies did calm down and afterwards, Joseph took them to one of the top restaurants in Lagos to celebrate his victory over Simi. He rented the VIP section to get some privacy away from other restaurant users, who may recognise him as Simi’s acclaimed baby daddy.
Now one whole week has gone by since the live TV pregnancy test with Simi. Joseph had taken Amanda to his home at Banana Island for a one week vacation; away from work and all the stress he had been through.
Although his brother still helped him manage JExpress, he was already warming up to take over activities after his one week vacation with Amanda.
Sitting in the spacious, tastefully furnished living room, the evening news on Channels Television was on-going. Amanda and Joseph cuddled against each other on the long couch. One hand stroked the length of her hand, while she rested her plan flat against his chest.
The ongoing entertainment news was about a lady who fell victim to a scam; thinking it was a real relationship. The details of what transpired brought Brenda to mind.
“This sounds like Brenda!” Joseph said, chuckling.
“Seriously. What’s funny about it?”
“Nothing. It’s just, I find it funny to believe that an intelligent Lawyer like Brenda would stoop so low to date Tony?”
“Stop it, Joe. That’s my friend you are talking about,” she nudged him on the stomach playfully.
“I know. But if I didn’t know better I would have said she was man-starved, or probably sex-starved,” he laughed now.
“Haba! Stop jor. She’s still my friend. And besides, anyone could have fallen into Tony’s trap.”
“Hehehe…heart breaks like this can be avoided. But some ladies don’t learn. I guess, in this case, Tony has a wicked charm that’s keeping her glued.”
“ You mean an annoying habit,” Amanda fumed.
“Hahaha… ok, love. Please, can we just stop talking about Tony? Let’s talk about something else”
“Something like what?”
“You and I,” he turned to plant a soft kiss on her lips. Amanda kissed him back. One hand moved to circle his neck.
“Someone seems to have missed me,” Joseph grinned.
“Oh, go jor,” she hit his bare arm and laughed “do you know what I was thinking about?”
“How handsome I am?” He winked.
“What, No! I was thinking about last week’s most important live TV pregnancy test.”
They laughed. “The disappointment in Simi’s eyes was classic. I didn’t what to embarrass her. But she pushed me. And hard too,” Joseph sighed.
“Yep. For me, I remember how smart you looked in that suit and the way the presenter kept shading Simi.”
Joseph ignored her last statement. “I looked sexy in that suit Huhn. Swanky Jerry actually had me styled that day.”
“Wow, really? You didn’t tell me, Joseph!” She giggled excitedly “I would love him to style me one day you know.”
“No problem, babe. Meanwhile, back to our discussion. You said I looked sexy,” he kissed her forehead as she snuggled closer.
“I never said that. You’re fishing.”
“Really? Anyway, while you were watching me, I was thinking of how that blue lingerie you just bought would look on you.”
“You pervert,” they chuckled and kissed for a while. Lip against lip and tongue against tongue.
Amanda’s phone beeped. It was a message from Brenda. She was requesting Amanda’s presence at her house the following day.
Amanda had successfully ignored her for a week, as she didn’t think she was ready to face her again.
“You will have to face her sooner than later you know,” Joseph voiced her thoughts.
“Yes, I know.”
“So, common! We were actually busy before Brenda rudely interrupted.”
Amanda smiled, tossed her phone aside and went straight for his lips. She knew to agree to a vacation meant agreeing to a whole lot of other things. And her mind was made up.
Joseph was her man, and this time, she was ready to give herself to him. She didn’t mind if they ended up in the bedroom or remained in the sitting room.
As for Brenda, she’ll spend time deciding if she wants to see her again so soon, or not.
Well, she did decide to see her friend. 12:15 pm the following afternoon met Amanda at Brenda’s. It’s funny because when she first knew Brenda, it was at Ella’s former place. She had come to put up with Ella after a messy divorce from her husband.
When Ella’s rent expired 4 months back, Brenda volunteered to rent a new place for both of them.
The ladies had stayed together in harmony for so long. But Tony was certainly a bad egg. Ella had complained bitterly about how Brenda suddenly uses demeaning words on her. It wasn’t like she couldn’t afford her own place or feed herself. She still had her job at the bank after all.
Amanda took the empty space on the couch where Ella sat. Brenda sat on the opposite couch. She looked unsettled. Amanda agreed inwardly, her friend had lost some weight. Whatever Tony was doing to her was definitely not good.
The ladies exchanged pleasantries and Brenda went straight to the matter at hand.
“I don’t mean to take too much of your time, but I really wanted us to talk… about Tony.”
“What about him?” Amanda didn’t hide her disgust.
“ He is the man I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with, Amanda,” she announced.
Amanda’s jaws dropped. “Really?
“I thought by now, you should have returned that engagement ring to him.”
“Why should I? Hope this jealousy isn’t coming from the fact that Joseph has not proposed marriage to you yet?”
Amanda’s eyes narrowed. She couldn’t believe what she just heard.
“But Brenda. What exactly is happening to you. Why all these?” Ella spoke.
“All what? I’m not understanding you,” Brenda switched to her defence mode.
“He beats you, Brenda,” Ella stated flatly. And you hate violence. You’ve fought for women’s right several times. Why are you putting yourself in the exact same position you’ve fought against?”
“I love him, Ella. Why is it so hard for both of you to accept?” She looked worried.
“Hope you know I’ll be pressing charges against Tony?” Amanda spoke up, “Joseph has a recorded tape from the CCTV camera that was in my office. That recording is going to be my evidence.”
“No! Please don’t press charges.”
“Why? The man harassed me. It seems like you prefer him even after what he did to me.”
“You sound selfish, Amanda,” Brenda raised her voice, “Joseph harrassed you first. You forgave him. I went as far as bursting Simi’s plans by leaking the truth to you. Simi was my client for crying out loud. I broke a golden rule that says: never leak client information to third parties. Thanks to me, Amanda, you are happy and you’re with Joseph today. Why can’t you do the same for me?” her voice shook. Tears were starting to well up in her eyes.
Amanda swallowed. She knew in her heart Brenda was right. But then, hadn’t Ella mentioned something about Tony beating her?
“I don’t hate you, Brenda,” she spoke. “I care about you, a lot. I want you to be happy. But the Brenda I know is a no-nonsense girl. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. So you can imagine my shock when Ella told me he beats you. Do you want to be with a man who beats you?”
“Let me handle that myself. I’m old enough to know what I can take, and what I cannot take.”
Amanda was quiet. Again, Brenda was right. She was not a baby.
“There’s one more thing I want us to talk about,” Brenda cleared her throat.
The other ladies watched her intently; waiting for her to speak.
“Tony and I, we’re having a very quiet court wedding next three weeks. Only family will be invited,”
“In other words, you don’t want us at your wedding,” Ella pointed out.
Brenda pouted and looked away. “It’s only a small wedding. There’ll be no reception. The important part is, Tony would be coming here to live with me after the wedding. This would become his new home,” she swallowed.
“And?” Ella frowned; like she already knew where this was going.
“And… you can’t live here anymore with me,”
“Wouldn’t it have been better if you told me straight up, to pack out? But no. You’ve been giving me cold shoulders and talking rudely to me since the past week instead. See ehn, I’m not poor, Brenda. I can rent a house today, if I find one… and since this is what you want, I’ll be sure to pack my things,” she rose from the couch.
Amanda held her back with one hand. You can put up with me for now. I’m mostly at Joseph’s anyway, and the house is just there so, I’ll mostly be out of your hairs. No troubles.”
“Thanks, dear. Let me start packing up what I can. I’ll get a moving company to assist me with the final packing by tomorrow.”
Amanda nodded her agreement, and Ella disappeared behind the curtain leading to the passage and rooms.
“So this is how it is now. Right?”
“I don’t hate you girls. I’m only doing what I need to do,” the sadness was back in her eyes.
Amanda guessed something was truly wrong. As much as she had just kicked Ella out, it didn’t seem like Brenda was happy doing it; neither did she look like someone happy to be getting married in 3 weeks.
“Are we at least free to come to visit you?” Amanda pushed, she wasn’t going to let go of their friendship that easily.
“No. You can’t. I’ll pay you visits instead. Or, we can hang out at our usual spot.”
Amanda nodded. Now she was sure this relationship between Brenda and Tony needed to be thoroughly investigated. Something was definitely not right.
To be continued…
A Pelleura Story – Chapter 16. Written by Karo Oforofuo
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