All through the night, Georgina remained awake, planning.
Mr Iyke has gone to work in the morning leaving her and Gloria alone in the house when the confrontation finally happened.
Georgina was downstairs dusting when Gloria came into the sitting room.
She dropped the dust cloth and turned to Gloria.
‘I want my money.’
Gloria swallowed hard and then straightened her features. ‘Georgina I do not owe you.’
‘Fine. That means as soon as your husband returns I am letting the cat out of the bag.’
‘You might not be here till then.’
‘You’ve been sacked.’
Georgina smiled. ‘You can’t fire who you did not hire.’
‘This is my house, Georgina. I say what gets done and what doesn’t.’
‘Lies! You are just a fat jobless housewife who knows nothing other than eating, sleeping and betraying the good man that married you.’
‘What do you know about my marriage anyway? What do you know about me?’
‘For one, I know that you prefer the service of male prostitutes to the respected intimacy you get from your husband.’
‘Enough of the insults!’
‘I haven’t even started!’
‘Go to your room now, pack everything you came with and leave!’
‘You think you can just blackmail me and I will give in? Fine. Go run your tongue, but, I assure you, you will still be the one to lose.’
‘Since you put it that way, I will do exactly as you’ve said.’
Georgina picked her dust cloth and started upstairs.
‘And where do you think you are going?’
‘To your husband’s office, of course. To run my tongue as you said.’
Georgina stopped and turned.
Gloria’s face and voice changed. ‘I will say to you now, what I have never said to any help that has ever worked here—please!’
Georgina stared at Gloria.
‘Please Georgina. Please. I regret what I did, but I have to tell you, what you saw is way more than what you are thinking.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘Segun and I are not just sleeping together because of the sex or pleasure.’
‘I am not getting any younger, Georgina. I have just a few years to hit the pause.’
‘Which pause are you talking about?’
‘The time in a woman’s life when she loses her womanhood.’
‘Menopause, you mean?’
‘If you want kids, you get it from your husband. Not some useless male prostitute without any iota of manners.’
Gloria smiled, but not from amusement. ‘Iyke and I have been together for over eight years now. Babies are not forthcoming.’
Georgina kept staring.
Gloria swallowed, took a step and continued: ‘We’ve gone to fertility clinics, had numerous tests and taken medications, but nothing.’
‘So what if you are infertile and even the sperm of Ed Houben can’t get you pregnant.’
‘I am not. Iyke is.’
‘Wow. Is he on any treatment?’
‘He doesn’t even know. Our doctor told me in private.’
‘Do doctors do that?’
‘She is a good friend.’
‘So why not talk to your husband? What is there to hide?’
‘I have the option of telling him and the news changing him and our marriage forever, or I get pregnant from elsewhere and he doesn’t know, thinks he is the father and we remain happy.’
‘How can you live with such a secret?’
‘No woman is without secret, you should know that.’
‘Yes dear. That is even the reason I agreed to let you in in the first place when he told me about you.’
‘You wouldn’t have?’
‘Of course. No wife will ever allow a young and pretty woman like you into her home to work as a maid.’
‘What you are deciding to take on, will he do the same had him being the one in your shoes?’
‘There is a lot about marriage and life you will come to understand as you get older, Georgina.’
‘Well, talking about secrets now, when you first inquired about my age I told you 21.’
‘I was that age ten years ago.’
Gloria’s eyes popped. ‘Don’t say! You don’t look that at all.’
‘So why are you not bothered?’
‘Over 30 and still single, doesn’t that concern you?’
‘Oh dear, that’s for twenty-somethings.’
‘Age is just a number.’
‘Not for women, my dear.’
‘Don’t you know about the pause? It should scare you, unless you don’t want children.’
‘I want children.’
‘Then you should tell the man to change the ring as fast as possible. Because ten years from now, pregnancy might become a miracle.’
‘I can always adopt.’
Gloria gave Georgina a look. ‘Sweetheart, trust me that’s more expensive.’
She walked back and began dusting again.
‘Are you no more going to my husband’s office?’ Gloria asked.
‘No,’ Georgina said. ‘No woman should tell another woman’s secret.’
Gloria smiled too. ‘Thank you so much.’
‘You welcome. But—’
Gloria looked. ‘What?’
‘What exactly did you do to me?’
‘It was all Segun’s idea. He gave me some strange-looking pills to put in your drink. I added them in your tea.’
Georgina shook her head, a part of her lower lip held between her teeth. ‘That boy!’
‘I’m really very sorry, dear,’ Gloria said.
‘I will not tell your husband, but you must find another donor. I don’t even think that one has any more babies left inside of him.’
Gloria half smiled. ‘What do you mean?’
‘I know him before—the time he was dating my friend and milking her like a cow.’
‘Yes. He is an animal, certainly not the kind of DNA anyone would want to breed.’
‘You have someone else you can recommend?’
Georgina looked up, and then down. She smiled. ‘I think I do.’
Inside the bus, Loveth prayed again.
As she murmured on and on, the woman beside her turned to stare.
Loveth turned away.
When the bike man dropped her in front of the office complex, she prayed again before entering the building.
While in the waiting room, she recited 2nd Samuel Chapter 7, Verse 28 again.
Noise of the door opening startled her.
She looked back.
‘My boss is ready for you now,’ the slim, smartly dressed girl that entered said.
Inside the boss’s office, a man in a traditional African wear sat behind the desk. He was fine, only not so tall— Loveth mentally assessed from the part of him she could see above the desk.
She straightened her skirt and stepped closer. ‘Good afternoon, sir.’
‘Afternoon,’ the man said. ‘Loveth, right?’
‘Yes, Loveth, sir.’
‘Please sit down.’
‘So you said you are proficient in Adobe, right?’
‘Good. Because we need somebody that can create very stunning photo designs, 3D illustrations and videos as well.’
‘I can do all that with my phone.’
‘Your phone? I doubt.’
‘Sir, my phone’s camera is very nice. It’s 8 mega pixels.’
‘I am talking about editing already taken photos.’
‘Do you have your laptop there with you?’
‘I don’t have a laptop, sir.’
‘Ok, so what have you been working with?’
‘I haven’t been working anywhere, sir. This is actually my first interview since after NYSC.’
‘Loveth, are you really sure you know anything about graphic designing?’
‘Sir, I know it.’
‘So besides Adobe, what other image editing software are there?
‘Sir, I have not finished my computer training.’
‘I read Economics in school; I only started computer training last week.’
‘So you are not IT savvy?’
Loveth was quiet.
‘What is Excel?’
‘To be good at something, sir.’
‘No I mean the office program…Excel. What does it do?’
‘What are your skills, Loveth? What can you really do?’
‘I can speak good English, sir.’
The man looked faintly amused. ‘That would have been very nice if we are a TV station looking for a newscaster.’
Loveth stared at the man, her insides getting warm.
The man tapped his pen. ‘I’m sorry, Loveth, we are a photo studio looking to hire a digital artist, but unfortunately you don’t have the skills we need.’
‘Sir, please, this is my first job interview ever. I will commit suicide if you don’t give me this job.’
‘We can’t give you a job you cannot do.’
‘I will learn, sir. I will find Adaobi and learn everything from her.’
‘We can’t afford the wait.’
‘Sir, please. Please help me.’
‘I wish there is something I can do. Have a nice day, Loveth.’
‘Sir, please, sir. Please!’
The man had gone back to the open PC on his desk.
At the door, Loveth turned again. ‘Sir? Please?’
The man did not bother to look at her.
Cool air from the AC saturated the room.
Loveth broke into tears.
Finally, the man’s attention was gotten. He stared at Loveth, saying nothing.
Loveth continued to cry.
‘You seem really desperate to work, Loveth?’ the man said, finally.
‘I am more than desperate, sir,’ Loveth sobbed.
The man appeared somewhat amused. ‘You know, you remind of myself many years ago.’
Loveth cried on.
‘Well, I think I have something you might like.’
Finally, Loveth stopped crying and stared at the man.
‘I haven’t met a woman this plump and attractive once before. You look pretty even when you cry.’
Loveth’s face crumpled again. ‘I can cry more if you want, sir.’
‘Oh no, no!’ the man quickly said. ‘Would you like to become one of our models?’
Loveth felt degraded. ‘I can’t be a model, sir.’
‘I have been like this since I was a teenager, nothing I do in life will ever make me become slim. But I have a friend who is tall and slim and can do the cat-walk stuff. Though she already has a job.’
‘No, you are not required to lose any weight,’ the man said. ‘We are creating a plus-size category and I wouldn’t mind making you the face.’
‘The face of the plus-size department.’
‘You mean I can become model, with my big arms and round waist?’
‘Sure. I mean, if you’d like that.’
‘Hey!’ Loveth screamed, almost startling the man. ‘There is really a God in heaven o!’
At the company April worked for, her HOD sent for her.
Inside the woman’s office, April could smell the strong air of discontent in the room.
‘April, the last few weeks our sales have plummeted…’ the woman began.
She said a lot of things during the long sermon and April kept quiet all through.
Finally, she handed April a letter and added that they are taking back the company car and the laptop and any other material that belongs to the company in her possession.
And now, finally, April said something.
‘Ma, you can’t just fire me.’
‘Why can’t I?’ the woman said.
‘My rent is due in a month’s time, how am I going to pay for it if you fire me?’
Georgina knocked on the door again.
‘Who?’ Gloria said from inside the room.
‘It’s me, ma,’ Georgina said.
‘Georgina, the door is open.’
Georgina opened the door and entered. ‘I have something else to ask you.’
‘Alright, go on.’
‘The time I first woke up, you said something about my sister coming to look for me.’
‘Did that actually happen or was it part of the scheme to mess with my head too?’
‘Oh no, not at all, Georgina. A woman actually came looking for you.’
‘Did you see this woman? What does she look like?’
‘She stayed behind the gate. She didn’t come in so I didn’t see a face. But I heard her correctly.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Very. Don’t worry, she said she will be back.’
Next on Roommates: Spirit of the Dead
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