Violet looked at her side mirror. Indeed, the blue Toyota was still following behind her. She sighed. She hadn’t planned to bring C-Jay back home with her, but he had been insistent for the past few days. He wanted to meet her children. Despite showing him their pictures, he was still unsatisfied. When she had started teaching in the school, she had made a promise to herself that if it wasn’t entirely unavoidable, she wouldn’t bring any of her co-teachers back home. She had wanted to keep both lives entirely apart from each other. C-Jay had attacked her immediately after school as she was about to get into her car.
“I will go with you today, so I can meet your kids,” he announced as he approached her, twirling his car keys on a finger.
Violet frowned. “Not today, C-Jay. The children will be having their siesta by now.” She unlocked her door.
He leaned on her car. “If not today, then when? If they are not awake, I may have the opportunity to taste your cooking.”
“Are you sure? My house is quite far.” Violet fished for any reason. “And I would have to stop by the market to pick up some things.”
He shook his head. “No problem, not a problem at all. I will wait. After all, it’s not like I have anything waiting for me at home.” He was already heading towards his car. “I will follow behind.”
He had followed her back to back as they left the school. His car halting any attempts of any car to get in between both of them. When she had pulled her car a small distance away from the busy market of Ekeawka, he came out and joined her as she shopped for meat and foodstuffs that she hadn’t planned to get. His sweet mouth made her get an extra piece of meat and an extra handful of egusi seeds. It was hard to remain annoyed with him when he kept on looking for ways to appease her, carrying the bags for her and trying to keep her out of the path of wheelbarrows loaded high with cartons of noodles and juice. When they continued their journey to her house, she was a little less angry but was rather thinking of what to serve him. He wanted to taste her food, but she didn’t feel it was appropriate to give him something that had been in the fridge for some days. She mentally went through her options.
She drove into the house with a decision made. She would have to prepare egusi soup with the things she had bought. Oyim would be angry as they were supposed to have onugbu that night, one of his favorites. But he would have to have it that way.
“Mummy, good afternoon.” Sochi opened the passenger door to take the things she bought.
“How are you, nne? Go and open the gate. Someone came to visit us.” She came down from the car. “Where are Nma and Chike?”
“They are sleeping.” Sochi opened the gate. “Good afternoon, sir,” she greeted as C-Jay came into the house.
“Sochima?” C-Jay raised his eyes at her. “She’s looking even finer in person. How are you?” He tugged at her cheeks.
Sochi smiled. “I’m fine sir.”
“Sochi, take those things inside. If you go to the kitchen, remove the meat, rinse it then soak it with water and salt. Don’t use too much salt like you did the other day.”
“Yes, mummy.” Sochi went into the house.
C-Jay was looking around the house. “A beautiful home.” He walked to the pots of flowers that stood in front of the house. “You don’t take of them much, do you?” He touched the dried up flowers and shook his head.
“It’s my husband that bought them. I usually forget they are there.” She came to stand beside him. It seemed like the first time she was really looking at the flowers. They really needed attention. The soil in the pots was dried and caked up, even with cracks running across them.
“It’s a beautiful neighborhood. And quiet too. You should come to see where I live. I live in a student’s area. It’s always so noisy.”
Violet chuckled uneasily. “You can come in.”
C-Jay followed her inside. “I assume that the twins are asleep, right?”
She nodded. She was glad that they were. “They are having their siesta.”
“They must be obedient. Getting my cousins to sleep is like trying to calm a hungry lion. You think they are sleeping, and boom! They are coming to ask you for their toys.” He bellowed a laugh.
Violet wanted to tell him to reduce his voice, but she could already hear the patter of feet coming down the stairs. “I think one of them is awake.” They got to the bottom of the stairs and met a sleepy Nma rubbing her eyes.
“Mummy.” She raised up her hands.
Violet lifted her up. “My angel, did I wake you up?” She bounced Nmalightly in her arms.
“Awn! She’s so cute.” C-Jay looked at her over Violet’s shoulder. He stretched out his hands to take her.
“Nma, go and stay with Uncle C-Jay.” She made to give her to him, but Nma shook her head looking at C-Jay. Her hand made a fist on Violet’s shirt.
Violet chuckled. “She’s just waking up, that’s why.” They went into the parlor. Sochi followed in not long after.
“Sochi, come and carry your sister.” She handed Nma to Sochi and stood up, turning to C-Jay, she said, “I need to start preparing the food,”
He shook his head. “It’s no problem. I will stay with the children.”
Violet didn’t feel so comfortable leaving him with the children. It wasn’t as though she didn’t trust him. She was worried about what he would tell them. As she went about preparing the soup, she tried to listen in on their conversation, grateful when she heard him asking them how school was and what they wanted to be in the future.
When she finished cooking and carried a tray into the parlor, they were watching one of Nma’s favorite cartoons. Nma was talking excitedly about why the princess had to run away from the palace for her to meet the prince.
Violet placed the food on a small stool in front of C-Jay.
C-Jay sniffed the air. “Hmm, this aroma. I can already tell that the food is delicious.”
Violet laughed. “Sochi, go and get water for Uncle to wash his hands.” She brought a glass and a bottle of water from the fridge in the adjacent dining room.
“Are you going to take any drink? Star, Heineken, or any soft drink?” She placed the bottle of water and glass tumbler in front of him. He was already molding eba to dip into the soup. He had tasted the soup and had moaned loudly in delight. Violet sat down and watched as he ate. He licked his hand in relish and asked for an extra serving of soup.
“Don’t come and finish my soup for me,” she said in mock warning but still took the empty ceramic plate and went to refill it.
Oyim came back thirty minutes after C-Jay left. As soon as he came into the door, Nma started talking about him. She could hear the caution in his voice as he asked her questions. He gave her a questioning look as she served dinner.
“C-Jay is one of the teachers in the school. He was my coursemate back in school. He just wanted to see the kids.” She placed Nma on her seat and sat down.
“You should have told me about him.” He grunted.
“I didn’t know he would come today. He insisted on following me home after school. I didn’t know how to refuse.” She washed her hands in a bowl and placed it under the table.
“Hmm,” Oyim said nothing more, but she knew the topic was far from over.
They were getting ready for bed when he brought it up again. “You should tell me about something like this before you brought him home. I don’t like it when strange people come to the house and stay with the children.”
Violet sighed. “I understand. C-Jay is a friend of mine. He just wanted to meet the children. If you don’t want him to come again, I won’t let him come again. It was just today, anyway.”
“And you cooked egusi for him?” His voice was hard.
“I know that is why you are angry. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to give him something from the fridge. He is a visitor to our home too.” She placed a hand on his arm and squeezed gently.
He grunted and put his arms around her. “The way Nma was talking about him… I don’t like it.”
“Don’t worry.” She placed small kisses on his naked chest. “I won’t bring him home again.”
“Hmm?” He pulled her above him.
“I’m serious. I mean it.” She continued kissing him. She squealed when he suddenly exchanged their positions, moving her underneath him. Soon, the sounds in the room were replaced by soft moans and not-too-subtle groans.