A few days later, Valentine’s Day arrived. Men were showing off to their women. Women were being spoiled rotten by their men. The city air was abuzz with love.
Like any other woman expecting to be dotted on, Tola had also received her present. She sat in front of her expensive European dressing table; a delicate heart-shaped mirror reflected the shock slowly spreading on her face.
A small white and red box lay half open in front of her. It couldn’t be. She must be mistaken. She took a long deep breath, reached for the lid. A shiver ran down her spine as her fingers brushed against the box.
Inside the box was a picture and a pink lavender scented handwritten note. The couple in the picture looked like no one else existed in their little world. The wife was gorgeous; her beautifully designed wedding dress accentuated her curves, her pearly white smile was overshadowed by brown eyes afire with love and desire. Smooth. Slick. Magnificent.
It couldn’t be. Tola’s heart refused to believe what her eyes could see. The man who gazed lovingly at the woman in his arms could not possibly be her man. The realization hit her with the force of a moving train. He was married. He lied to her.
But he told her he loved her. He said she was the only one for him. There must be some kind of mistake. Photoshop? Maybe that was it; she had heard some people were really good at creating photos from fragments.
Tola picked up the note, the sweet scent dazzled her senses.
The message on it was simple; “There is a cheque beneath the picture. Take it, leave and never come near my husband again. Refuse and I will destroy you.”
Before she could begin to process the implications, the door to her flat opened. Only one other person had the key. He walked in with
a huge smile on his face, a big package in his hand.
“Happy Valentine’s day, my love,”He leaned closer to kiss her cheek. She flinched.
He opened his mouth to ask what was wrong but the words never left his lips as his eyes settled on the picture in the box in front of her. “Where did you get that?” he asked, his voice eerily quiet.
“You didn’t tell me you were married. How could you lie to me? You told me you loved me!” her hands shook as the hurt settled in her heart.
“I never meant to keep it a secret from you my love. My marriage has been loveless for years. My wife and I are just strangers that share a house. She means nothing to me,” he said as he placed the package gingerly on the floor and reached out to hug her.
“I can’t accept that!” Tola slithered out of his reach and stood up. “I can’t be with a married man, I’m done. You need to leave!”
“You want me to leave?” He bristled with anger. “Have you forgotten I pay your fees, have you forgotten that I bought you this flat and all the fancy things you own?”
Tola trembled. Hurt. Anger. Fear. These emotions swirled inside her like a shadowy tornado that threatened to engulf her.
Before her man could realize what she intended, Tola jammed the box, note and all inside her bag and fled.
Behind her, the man roared with fury, “You are mine Tola! Nothing is going to change that! Get back here right now! I’ll find you no matter where you go.”
On the other side of town, Funke Oni ended a call. The package had been delivered. The girl was seen rushing out of her house.
Funke crossed a shapely leg over the other. Would the girl take the money and leave, she wondered. She would take no chances. Another call must be made.
As her car sped off into the afternoon traffic, Funke had one last thought, “Now to punish a grown man.” She muttered to herself as a short menacing laugh escaped her lips.
What will happen to Tola now? Will she escape her married hubby’s clutches? Or will she jump from frying pan to fire at the hands of his wife, Funke?
Stay tuned for quite a few twists and turns in this epic story of lies, traps and betrayal.