The next morning, Ijeoma and Apham were standing in front of Angela in the parlor. A look of rage clouded her made-up face. She had been watching a movie when the two of them marched into the room as though they were taking her in for questioning. And to hear the words that came out of their mouths, telling her to leave their home?
“What the hell is going on? Luke, did your wife put you up to this? What nonsense is this?” she fumed.
Ijeoma opened her mouth to say something, but Apham’s hand on her elbow made her keep her mouth shut. She swallowed uneasily.
“I’m not comfortable with having you in our home. Ijeoma didn’t put me up to anything. In fact, it is me that doesn’t want you here. I don’t like you staying in the same house with my family, especially my pregnant wife.” He put his hand round Ijeoma’s increasingly thick waist. “I can book you into a good hotel that you can stay until you finish what you came here to do.”
Angela’s look was comical. On one hand, she had been ready to pounce on Apham as soon as his wife went to work. She prepared so well that she was certain that there was no way he would refuse her. And now this. She remained on the sofa.
“I’m going to tell your father about this,” she said but she knew that it would still amount to nothing. Thomas would probably say, “The children need their privacy. I will send money for you so you can book yourself into a hotel.”
“You can go ahead,” Apham said in a dry voice. “But you have to call him from the hotel. I and my wife are already late for work and we want to drop you at the hotel.”
“Don’t worry yourself.” Her voice was tight. “I will take a taxi.”
“No, ma.” Ijeoma finally opened her mouth, ignoring the look on Apham’s face. “I will take you to a nice hotel. Apham, you go ahead to work. I will handle it.”
Apham frowned and wanted to argue but Angela had already agreed and had disappeared to get her things.
“You don’t have to do this.” Apham turned to Ijeoma.
Ijeoma shook her head. “I have to. After the way you spoke to her, if we just let her go on her own, you know what will happen. I don’t want to be the target of her sharp tongue.”
Apham sighed. “Okay, but just be really careful. As soon as you get her into the hotel, just go straight to work. Don’t linger for anything at all, even if she asks you to.”
Ijeoma smiled. “I won’t.”
Apham waited until Angela had put her things in the car. They drove out of the house together, but each car went in different directions.
Ijeoma was caught in heavy traffic, in a car with an angry woman. She wasn’t sure which was getting on her nerves more. The non-moving traffic or the loud calls that Angela was making. She sat behind and looked to be taking joy in her predicament. Angela had been on the phone since they left the house. Calls about her male-friends and which one performed better. It didn’t help that she herself had received four calls from her workplace, each of them questioning her whereabouts.
She was irritated by the woman that was supposed to be her mother-in-law. Even though she was not Apham’s biological mother, she had still been willing to carry out her daughterly duties to the woman. But the more she knew her, the more she disliked her, felt disgusted by her.
“…I told you about Luke right?” The words from the woman’s mouth caught her ears. Ijeoma held her breath as she listened.
Angela was enjoying it, looking at Ijeoma from the back seat as she continued, “It’s a pity that he is now married. He was the best sex I had in years. His-”
“Stop that,” Ijeoma cut in. Her heart was pounding as she turned to face Angela, feeling even more disgusted seeing she was dressed in a blouse that did little to cover her breasts.
“Excuse me,” Angela covered the mouthpiece of the phone and looked at Ijeoma with quirked lips. “Can’t you see that I’m making a call?”
“Don’t disrespect my husband or his father in my car. He is your son and not any man that you can bed.” Ijeoma gritted out. A car horned loudly behind her. She sighed angrily as she moved the car to cover the space that had been left by the car in front of her.
“Well, honey, I will call you back later. Let’s continue off where we stopped.” She dropped her phone in her small purse. Mockery decorated her voice as she said to Ijeoma, “Darling, can you continue? I believe you said Luke is your husband.”
“I know that you still want to sleep with him. You think I don’t see the sickening looks you give him, batting you eyes at him or pushing your breasts for him,” Ijeoma ranted.
“Oh my God! She caught me,” but Angela’s tone wasn’t in the least sorry. “I’m glad you know it,” she continued in a serious tone. “I will get him one day. Men, they are all the same. When he gets tired of you, he will come running.”
“Like the way his father got tired of you and went to get other girlfriends,” Ijeoma scoffed.
Angela’s eyes blazed. “Don’t you dare.”
“Oh, so you can steal other people’s men, but you don’t want your man to be stolen from you. A man that you have cheated on with so many men, including his own son,” Ijeoma taunted.
Angela didn’t say anything for a while. She thought the woman had slept off, but when she turned to look at her, the hatred in the other woman’s eyes almost paralyzed her. She tried to look away but couldn’t bring herself to. It was like the other woman held her in a spell.
“You know, pregnant women are supposed to be extra careful,” her voice was deceptively calm as she spoke. The words sounded eerie to Ijeoma, she shivered. “They are supposed to be careful with who they anger. And darling, you just made that mistake.” Her voice was too sweet, sickly sweet. “Take me to my hotel,” she ended with a strong tone.
The rest of the ride was in silence. Ijeoma too conscious of the bulge in her stomach and the woman sitting behind her car.