The next days that followed were followed by
constant calls from Freda to my phone. She
wanted to be my date for the period we were
at home. I liked her, not like I did in the past
but I thought she’d be handy once in a while.
She loved me still and told me all she needed
was my attention and nothing more. I was
OK with the arrangement only that she called
me each day like she needed more than my
attention and it wasn’t cool with me.
“I thought you had this guy you were always
flaunting in my face back then?” I asked her
the day we talked on the phone.
“I left him. He wasn’t like you.”
“And how am I?” I asked, dipping the baby
bottle into Chinaza’s mouth. I left her and the
bottle and turned to my phone.
“Spoilt,” she said slowly and I bit my lips.
Chinaza gurgled and sU-Cked at her feeding
bottle. I rubbed her belly.
“You want a spoilt guy?” I asked.
“Not exactly but the guy was too churchy. I
think he confesses to the priest each time we
“Hahaha, how do you know that?”
“Stop asking me that question joor, are you
coming over?” she asked.
“No, I am with my daughter here,” I replied.
“Where is that? I want to come over.”
“I am at Naza’s place. Talk to you later,” I
said. We dropped the call and I turned to my
daughter on the bed. She had spilled her
bottled tea all over her face and was giving
me one of those cute giggles that makes her
look like her mother.
“Don’t you know how to feed a baby?”
Chinaza called from the door, strapping
Chinecherem to herself.
“I know how to feed a baby, we were just
playing,” I replied and tickled the baby on the
bed. She cackled. “See?”
Naza smiled weakly and walked up to us on
the bed. She dropped the boy on me and
turned to the baby girl.
“All those Nollywood movies you watch are
so much wasted on you,” I muttered.
“How?” she asked turning to me with the
baby in her hand.
“In a proper Nigerian film, you should give
me a kiss when you walk into the room,” I
replied. She stared at me for a while like she
was deciding what to do with me. Then in a
twist, she came closer and latched a kiss on
my lips. The first in months. My eyes
“Come again please, I wasn’t prepared for
that one,” I said. She came again, this time
longer and when we separated, Freda stood
at the door, looking like she just got out of a
“What?” Chinaza asked, the quarrel all over
her face. I was overly dumbstruck. Freda was
crazy, that I knew but I never knew she had
nerves too. My heart beat at the speed of
light as I thought of the crazy things she
could say at that moment.
“Hello Naza. I just came to see the babies.
Chinecherem told me about them,” she sang,
still stuck to the doorway like she was
waiting for an invitation to come in. I let out
a fake smile as I scolded her with my eyes.
“Come in,” I said with a fake boldness. She
walked slowly towards us. She was beautiful
as she came and Naza hated having
someone like her around me, especially when
it was Freda.
“Meet them, Chinecherem and Chinaza,” I
introduced, pointing from the boy to the girl.
“Can I carry them?” she asked, her eyes on
“Yes,” she replied slowly, shifting
“They are beautiful and they look like a
combination of the both of you,” She said as
she rocked Chinaza to herself.
“Yes. They will grow up to be like their
father,” I said proudly.
“God forbid!” the two ladies snapped and
looked at each other with
a bold smile. The tension eased and a
conversation came up. Freda loved to talk
and soon roped Naza in. I was the butt of
every joke that ever came on and I pondered
why Freda would want to be all chatty with
Someone she hated.
“I have to bathe this one,” Naza said after
sometime, picking the baby girl from the bed.
“Can’t he do it?” Freda asked, referring to
“This one, he will soak her in the bath water
and forget her there,” Naza said.
“You know that is not true,” I defended.
“Don’t worry, I know what you can do,”
Freda said. Naza laughed her way out of the
room. We watched her go. Her fine figure
swinging to the tune of an imaginary music.
She was perfect, Chinaza. I shouldn’t be
running after any other girl but Freda was
there and she obviously didn’t come to see
“So why are you here?” I asked, turning to
“I am missing you and I couldn’t wait for you
to be through with the baby sitting.”
“And you had to come here?” She nodded,
opening her eyes wider at me. They were
Sekxy eyes but we were in Chinaza’s room
and I shouldn’t be thinking about it.
“So do you want to put me in trouble?” I
“Chinaza and me. Do you want her to catch
“Yes. She will leave you and then I will have
you to myself. Besides the both of you have
really tried. You have been together for years
now and you even have children. You guys
should break up jare so other people will
have a taste of you.”
I stared at her for long. She stole glances
from me as she twisted the tip of her braid. I
shook my head and bit my lips.
“If we were in my house right now, I would
have sent you away,” I declared. She giggled
and I smiled. My baby boy giggled too.
She turned to him and picked him up.
“Fine boy, cute like his father,” She said and
threw a look at me. I smiled and fell back on
“Look at me sweetheart. I am your
stepmother,” she declared and my laughter
drowned the room.
Time ran and the sun traveled far to the
west. My phone rang and James’s number
came up on the screen.
“Papa Ejima,” he hailed as I picked.
“Mad man howfar?” I asked.
“Fine nigga. You just forget us naa.”
“I no forget you guys. I am now a family man
and my family comes first,” I said and we
“No yawa naa. But I get one gist that will
make you run down to my lodge now now,
family man aside.”
“Gist me naa.”
“I dy my lodge with Chinemelum now now
and only us dy here like this,” he
My heart pounded.
“Your sister?” I asked.
“No, my mother,” he hissed and the line went
To be continued
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