The red gown was soft against Violet’s skin. The night was still young, just as she was feeling at the moment. It was Tuesday, a school night. She knew she should be in her closet, preparing her lesson plan for the next day, but when Oyim had said they should go on the date she had declined the Sunday before, she couldn’t help but say “Okay”. She was dressed in the red gown Oyim had bought. It came down to her mid-calves, hugging her curves gently. She had worn a push-up bra to accentuate her chest. On her feet were a pair of three-inched sandals. She turned around, stretching her neck to look at the mirror in front of her. She hummed with approval.

“Are you not done?” Oyim came up behind her. He put a hand around her waist and pulled her closer to himself. 

She tipped her neck when he bent down to place a kiss on the spot. It sent tingles all through her body. She moaned slightly. “Almost. What about the kids? What are we going to do about them?”

Oyim continued placing light kisses along her neck. He said in between kisses, “I already asked Nene to let them stay with her until we come back. We will drop them on our way out.”

Violet forced herself to remain in control of her emotions. Since the Sunday they had made up, she and Oyim had not carried out any sexual activity. She came up with this because she wanted to know how serious Oyim was about his apology. She had given him a week. During this week, they would focus on rebuilding their relationship together without any sexual influence. She’d had it all planned out—more intimate discussions, more time together doing little things, inviting Oyim to join her in the kitchen, accompanying him more often to his new business site. It all seemed to be going well, even though having Oyim in the kitchen was a recipe for trouble as he kept on questioning many of her cooking methods and maintaining that his method was the best for whatever they were having even though he had never prepared such. Only that whenever they were having their intimate discussions in the bedroom, Oyim’s hands never seemed to be able to stay put, tracing lines on her body, tugging dangerously at the leash she had over her self-control. It was only two days, but she was almost ready to give in. 

She pulled herself away from him and cleared her throat, trying to douse her rising emotions. “We should leave now.” She looked at the watch on her wrist. “We have to come back before ten. You know the child-”

“Just this night, Oma. Let’s just enjoy ourselves. We’ll be back on time to pick the children, so don’t worry about that.” Oyim said.

Violet grunted. “Okay.” She walked to the dresser and picked up a perfume. “I’m almost done. You can wait for me downstairs. I will be there immediately.”

He nodded and picked up his jacket and left the room, but not before kissing her on the cheek. “Take your time,” he said as he left.

Violet breathed deeply as he left. She looked at herself in the mirror and winced when she saw the smudge of lipstick spreading from her lips towards her lower jaw. She sat down and reached for a wiper.

She went downstairs ten minutes later. Oyim and the kids were in front of the house, with Oyim taking turns to toss the twins in the air and catch them. She laughed at the pure joy on their faces, feeling proud of herself for keeping the family together. 

“You’re so beautiful, mummy,” Sochi said coming to stand in front of her. 

Violet rubbed her head fondly. “Thank you my darling.” Chike came as well and repeated the words. 

“Alright.” Oyim rubbed his hands playfully. “Into the car.” He tickled Nma on her belly drawing a giggle from her. They entered his car. Nma made a little noise about wanting to sit with Violet in the front seat. Violet had to give in, letting her sit on her laps. Sochi remained outside to open the gate for them and lock it after Oyim drove the car out of the compound. 

“Don’t you think we should get a gate-man?” Violet asked as they waited in front of the gate for Sochi to get into the car. 

“Then we will need to build a small room for him. There is no space in the compound, unless you want me to build one outside?” He gestured at the small area with a thin tree, surrounded by roughly cut grasses surrounding the wall connecting the gate.

She shook her head. “But having to run around to open and close the gate when there is no one is stressful.” Sochi got into the car. He started the car and drove away. 

Oyim nodded in understanding. “Do you like this estate? Is there…” He trailed off as he pulled the car to a stop in front of Nene’s house. 

“Sochi, go and knock on the gate.” Violet opened the door and let Nma out.

“Mummy, I want to follow you.” Nma pouted. 

Violet brushed away at Nma’s gown. “Another day, okay? Today, daddy and I have something important.”

“Vi-vi,” Nene’s voice came from the gate. 

Violet came out of the car, taking Nma’s hand. “Chike,” she called out when she realized that he was still sitting in the car. “Nne, how are you?”

The Sunday she had visited, she had been in good spirits. Despite the title of the first wife that had been suddenly hoisted on her, all the anger and frustration that had plagued her when the message first got to her had reduced. Now, she was more concerned about making her husband, Jide, more present in her children’s life. Jide had returned into the country last week. And during his stay, she and the kids received more attention from him than they had in the past two years. 

“Maybe getting a second wife changed something in him,” Nene had said. Violet agreed but she’d also wondered how long the change would take. 

“Where is he taking you this time around?” She gave Violet a mischievous wink and asked. She carried Nma who was mumbling about not having to go with her parents wherever they were going.

Violet shrugged with a small laugh of her own. “I don’t know.” She pulled Chike closer to her and brushed something off his head.

“It better be one of those new places in town. I heard the service and food there is something else,” Nene said.

A sharp horn interrupted them, partly in greeting to Nene, partly to remind Violet to hurry up. 

“Oga anyi,” Nene moved closer to the car to exchange greetings with Oyim. 

Violet said to Sochi. “Make sure they stay in one place. Don’t allow Nma to disturb auntie Nene too much. If they want to sleep, let them sleep in the parlor. It will be easier to carry them when we come back.” To Chike, she said, “Listen to what auntie Nene says, okay?”

After a few minutes, Oyim drove off from the front of Nene’s house. 

“What you were saying before we got to Nene’s house. You want us to move to another house?”

He nodded. “There is this land for sale in Amansea. I was considering buying it.”

“I thought you said after setting your business up, you don’t have much money left?”

He shrugged. “I still have some. And I can pay in installments.”

Violet thought for a moment before she said, “I don’t think we should move to Amansea. First, it is far, and then for the children, it’s another stress to be taking them to school. I don’t want to change their school.”

“So I should not buy it?” He turned into a street. 

Violet looked out of the window, mentally noting that she had not been to the street before. “Mba o. That’s not what I’m saying. It depends on where the land is. Why don’t you buy one around Ifite or one of those in front of the university? You can build a students hostel.”

“I’ve considered it. But the prices of land around the school is expensive. Some have already been bought, and the owners are also planning on building hostels.” He pulled the car into a small parking lot. 

Ima eh, you can still buy the land in Amansea and build a tenant house. It also depends on where the land is located.” She looked at her face in the mirror and adjusted her make-up as Oyim cut the engine. “There are some hostels in Amansea too. If the land is near there, then it would be good. Not just students, other people can rent shops there.”

Oyim watched her as she touched up her make-up. “I will talk to the agent. I don’t think it is close to where you’re talking about but I can look for one around that side.” He reached out and pulled a strand of the wig on her head away from her face. “Nne, have I told you that you’re looking sweet this evening?” 

She laughed. “How many times? But I don’t mind hearing one more time.”

He reached over and kissed her shortly on her lips. “Then I will keep saying it until you’re tired of hearing it. You are beautiful.”

Violet’s face felt tight as her lips stretched in one of the widest smiles she’d ever worn on her face. “Is this one of those new places Nene was talking about?” She asked when she came down from the car. In the fading light of the day, a building lined with blue, white, and neon lights stood at the right of the parking lot. “Wow!” she muttered. 

“Let’s go in first,” Oyim came around the car and took her hand. 

It was a high-class restaurant, the first of it’s kind that she had gone to. They only had to pay an entrance fee, a hefty one, and then had access to an array of meals. Violet found it hard to believe. The only downside was that they could not take home any left-overs. 

“Just take what you want,” Oyim told her as they came to the front of a buffet table with different types of rice. “They don’t have a lot yet. You know they opened recently and not many people know about this place yet.”

Oyim was right. While the place held the promise of many food choices with several empty buffet tables, very few contained something. Well, Violet didn’t understand the marketing strategy the restaurant was using or how they would make their profit, so she just concentrated on having a nice date with her husband.