Nwamgbeke continued to shake her head. ‘Hey, Nnamdi, I not do it o.’
Another shake of head. ‘I not do it.’
‘Please you have to,’ Nnamdi said.
‘I’m in Enugu already, I have nowhere else to go.’
‘Okay, if it that one, I tell Ikechukwu to give you small money to tlavel back go Ichida.’
‘Mgbeke? Mgbeke, so you don’t love me again?’
Nwamgbeke was staring, face crumpled.
‘Mgbeke, so—’ Nnamdi paused on a breath. ‘Ok. There is no problem, I will go.’
He turned. ‘I will go.’
Nwamgbeke hissed, face sorrowful. ‘Oya, wait.’
Nnamdi did not wait.
Finally Nnamdi stopped and turned back.
‘You say you stay one week?’
‘Yes, just a week and I’m off to Abuja.’
‘By the way sef, what is take you to Abuja?’
‘Forget that one, let’s go in.’
‘Wait, wait. I not sure Ikechukwu aglee o.’
‘How? Just tell him I’m your cousin, that’s all.’
‘Nnamdi, is like you not know that Ikechukwu. He has blain flont and back.’
Nwamgbeke touched her forehead in demonstration. ‘Flont of head, blain.’ She touched the back of her head. ‘Back of head, blain.’
‘Oh, I have heard, but that doesn’t still mean he is a magician, does it?’
Nwamgbeke was staring. ‘Okay, if I tell him you and me be cousin, why you not come when we doing wedding?’
‘Wait, there’s been a wedding?’
‘Tladitional malliage, yes. In fact, this Chlistmas we walking down the island.’
‘Ha, is eye not anya for seeing?’
‘The pronunciation is similar.’
‘Oho, ifugonu, Teacher Nkechi teach me nonsense.’
Back inside, Nwamgbeke told Ikechukwu that Nnamdi, her ‘cousin blother’ has requested to stay a week with them before travelling to Abuja.
‘Oh, he is your cousin?’ Ikechukwu asked, his relief apparent in his voice.
‘What you thinking before?’ Nwamgbeke asked him.
Ikechukwu took one of her hands and extended the other to Nnamdi. ‘Welcome to my home, young man.’
‘Thank you, sir,’ Nnamdi said.
‘You calling him young man and he answeling sir, two of you who is senior pass?’
‘Shut up!’ Ikechukwu said to his wife and to Nnamdi before him, ‘Nnamdi, where is your bag?’
‘Oh, it’s just outside the gate,’ Nnamdi replied.
‘Come on, go get it in.’
‘Thank you, sir.’
Nnamdi walked out and Ikechukwu bent and kissed Nwamgbeke lightly on the lips.
Nwamgbeke slapped the top of his shoulder. ‘You too like kiss eh, pigeon.’
Ikechukwu called her ‘Kpanakwukwu.’
‘Chai, Ikechukwu, me obogwu?’ Nwamgbeke picked one of the orange cushions on the sofa and Ikechukwu ran.
Nnamdi opened the door on them and turned awkwardly mute.
Nwamgbeke dropped the cushion. ‘Ikechukwu, you not see what you cause now.’
‘What? What did I do?’ Ikechukwu asked.
‘If Nnamdi not talk again now, what you tell him mother? You think is evelybody that like see mumu husband and wife?’
‘My apologies, young man,’ Ikechukwu said to Nnamdi.
Nnamdi smiled. ‘No, I’m fine, sir.’
Ikechukwu turned to Nwamgbeke. ‘Oya, take him upstairs to one of the empty rooms.’
Nwamgbeke nodded. She turned to Nnamdi. ‘Utu, follow me.’
Upstairs, in one of the guest rooms, she said to Nnamdi, ‘Leraxing here and making yourself comfortable, you hear.’
She was turning to leave when Nnamdi took her hand and drew her back to himself, planting his lips between hers in the same instant.
Nwamgbeke pulled out of him quickly. ‘Nnamdi?’ Her eyes were wide at Nnamdi. ‘Nnamdi, you not fear death?’
‘You not fear death, Nnamdi?’
‘You asking me how? Okay. You not know that I mallied woman now?’
‘And so? By the way, where is your bedroom?’
‘Why you asking? Na there you want sleep?’
‘Tell me jor.’
‘You not seeing the room we passing before we leaching here?’
‘Who has the key?’
‘Hia, Nnamdi, they send you?’
‘You not entering the house you have start to asking me kwi-kwi-kwi-kwi-kwi, like labbit.’
‘It’s rabbit. R-r-abbit.’
Nwamgbeke hissed. ‘Woreva! Whether is r or l, both of them standing with one leg.’
Nnamdi smiled and shook his head.
‘Be opening your teeth like oka mkpo, I leaving you and go downstairs.’
‘Does Ikechukwu have a study?’
‘A special room where he keeps documents.’
‘Everything is in bedroom, why you asking?’
‘Nnamdi?’ Nwamgbeke angled him a frown. ‘Nnamdi, why you asking me question over question?’
‘Come here!’ Nnamdi threw his arms round her and drew her to himself.
The door of the room burst open, startling them.