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    Olamide stared at Major Festus calmly. His penis gradually diminished in size as he bent to pick his towel. Major Festus rushed him at that moment. He had been expecting the attack, so he quickly rolled to the side, his towel forgotten on the floor. He spread his feet apart and stared at Major Festus. Major Festus stood up straight;

    Major Festus: “you will leave my house this moment.” He said softly.

    Something flashed behind Olamide’s eyes. He stood straight and stared at his younger brother silently.

    Olamide: “you were never going to give me what is mine, were you?” he asked, sneering

    Major Festus: “leave and don’t ever come back.” He replied softly

    Olamide: “you will not give me my share of my father’s wealth…” he paused, his eyes flickered to the side; “ and you will not even allow me a taste of your lover. She is not your wife anyway, so why the concern?” he asked smiling.

    Major Festus looked at him curiously. He could not understand why he was saying what he was saying. He noticed the smile of triumph and saw that he was not looking at him. He turned to the stairs and saw Florence staring at them. Her face was a blank mask but he knew his wife well.

    Florence: “you brought your whore into my house, Festus?” she asked, her eyes bright with barely hidden anger.

    Major Festus looked at her quietly then turned back to Olamide. He was taking his time to pick the towel from the ground. His penis swung into view again and again before he finally wrapped the towel around his waist. He stood up and smiled then he winked and walked into his room. Major Festus turned back and climbed down the stairs, Florence watched him.

    Florence: “you are going to finish with your whore right?” she asked, sneering.

    Major Festus: “you are free to believe what you want Florence. I have nothing to say to you.” he replied as he passed her and left the house.
    ====
    Egbe wept all the way home. She entered the house without even taking note of Mrs. Bakare seated in the sitting room. She ran into her room and locked the door. She fell on her bed and wept on and on. She had never been so humiliated and afraid in her life. The memory of the man grabbing her breast and squeezing made her want to throw up. She felt unclean, she felt small, she felt empty. All the training, all the schooling, all the English speaking had not been able to save her. She had been helpless while the brute fondled her like she was meat on a butcher’s stand. “If Ehizogie was alive and i was living happily with my son, i would not face this humiliation, this helpless feeling in my chest, no stranger would hold me and fondle me like this…God! Why me?”she thought to herself as she wept.

    A knock sounded on her door. She ignored it then she heard Mrs. Bakare’s voice behind the door. She wiped her eyes and got up. She opened the door and went back to the bed. Mrs. Bakare shuffled into the room on her walker and sat on the bed beside her.

    Mrs. Bakare: “I heard what happened or some of it anyway. Festus is here.” She said softly.

    Egbe: “He can go to hell for all I care. I don’t want to see him or his cursed family again.” She replied, her voice harsh with anger.

    Mrs. Bakare: “and Desmond? You do not want to see your son again?” she asked, sadly.

    Egbe burst into another round of weeping again. Mrs. Bakare patted her on her hair quietly.

    Mrs. Bakare: “you are fighting for your son. Did you expect that it would be easy? You have to be strong. This man, Festus, you do not know him well. You defeat your enemy by knowing him, learning his weaknesses and with that power you can defeat him.” she added.

    Egbe: “I feel stained, dirty. How can I allow Desmond live in such a place? The boy is unhappy. There is too much bad feeling in that house.” She muttered, staring at Mrs. Bakare with tears in her eyes.

    Mrs. Bakare: “that maybe so but you’re sitting here moaning and weeping will not help him. You need to be a part of his life; let him get to know you and come to love you as a son would his mother. You can’t do that by staying away. Even if you feel disgust, you will do what needs doing because the prize is worth the sacrifice.” She said.

    Egbe stood up and cleaned her eyes, then she looked at Mrs. Bakare sadly.

    Egbe: “he was the one that saved me though.” She said softly.

    The old woman nodded her head. Egbe stood up and helped Mrs. Bakare up. Both of them came out of the room to meet Major Festus standing in the sitting room. His face was unreadable as he stared at her.

    Major Festus: “I allowed him into my house because he is my elder brother and he needed a place to stay but I have sent him out. He will not bother you again.” He said.

    Egbe: “while in school, Desmond was happy and he participated fully in class activities but the moment we left school, he became withdrawn. What is going on in your home sir?” she asked.

    Major Festus: “my wife… I am not always at home. You will not understand. He wants to see you though.” He replied.

    Egbe: “who wants to see me?” she asked, curious.

    Major Festus: “Desmond. He discovered that I was coming here, so he decided to follow. He is in the car now. It seems you made a good impression on him. Maybe you can be what I can’t be for him?” He replied.

    Egbe: “and what exactly is it that you want me to be?” She asked softly.

    Major Festus: “his friend. Someone he can talk to, trust. I know I am asking too much. I will pay you for the time.” he hastily added.

    Egbe: “Not everything is about money, Mr. Olayinka. Some of us do things because we truly care not because we are greedy.” She replied, hotly.

    Major Festus nodded his head in apology.

    Major Festus: “he said we should take you to the park. He said girls like parks and ice cream.” He said softly.

    Mrs Bakare: “that’s a lovely idea. Martha, go change into something nice and go out for a change.” She said.

    Both of them turned to the old woman in surprise. They had both forgotten that she was there. Egbe tried to smile but her spirit wasn’t in it. She turned and went back to her room. As soon as she left, Mrs. Bakare turned to Major Festus;

    Mrs. Bakare: “How’s your wife these days, Festus?” she asked.

    Major Festus: “the same old Florence ma…The same old Florence.” He replied softly.
    ====
    Olamide had packed his meager belongings and was zipping his bag close when the door opened and Florence entered the room and stood at the door. Olamide stood straight and stared at her.

    Florence: “it seems your brother has lost his love for you?” she said softly.

    Olamide: “his love is not yours either, I think.” He replied.

    Florence: “Festus has never stood up for me in my life.” she said sharply.

    Olamide: “I am sorry I don’t have sympathy to share right now. I have spent it all on myself.” He replied.

    Florence:”I don’t want your sympathy, Olamide. I want other things from you.” she said, walking close to him and placing her hand on his chest.

    Olamide: “what do you want from me? I am not rich like my brother…” he replied, his eyes shining with greedy light.

    Florence: “not everything is about money, Mr Olamide. Some of us do things because we truly care not because we are greedy.” She said; her lips almost close to Olamide’s lip.

    Olamide: “what exactly do you want from me?” he asked again, softly, his eyes on her soft full lips.

    Florence: “I want you to set me free.” She replied, as she placed a peck on his cheek and withdrew from his arms.

    To be continued.

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