I wasn’t due back at work for another week. But, I’m a restless soul. I need work to save me from myself. I was expecting a war with Efe but it’s not happening. She told me I could have the kids any time I wanted for as long as I wanted. But, they won’t go on any vacation with me if Lori was coming along.
We went before the judge for our divorce hearing. My lawyer was so upset I’m going on with the divorce he actually stopped billing me as soon as we got before the judge. But, he’s a professional so he came with me to the hearing.
The judge told us she’d seen a lot of divorces but felt we can work this out. Efe told her we’d passed that bus stop. The judge nodded then encouraged us to ‘try work it out”, sent us to marriage counseling and said she’ll see us in six months. My lawyer told me at the parking lot that he wouldn’t represent me again and counseled I may be making a big mistake.
Efe also seem to have gone through a makeover. She’s doing everything I ever wanted her to but she’s completely closed the door on us. And, she’s got Lori so worked up Lori thinks I’m being too soft on her. Lori, I just realized, has a very hot blood.
In two days, she’s complained about Efe, my casual wardrobe and “the smell of the African food”. But, God – she’s great with the kids. The kids love her. I feel lucky I have two women who shower my kids with love. And, Efe doesn’t even complain about it. I was so spooked I raised it with her when I dropped off the kids.
“Why? It’s like having a nanny with an MBA. Let her play with them, it means I have more time to myself?” she smiled.
“You’re working now?” I asked, with a little bit of jealous that made me momentarily hate myself.
“I have six more credits to finish my MBA. I want to get it this summer because I’m also studying for the LSAT. So, every little help counts,” she replied.
My jaw must have dropped because I was quiet for what seemed like forever.
“You should go back home before your girlfriend starts suspecting you’re seeing another woman. You know oyinbo people are not like our people,” Efe said, jolting me back to life.
“How long has this been going on?”
“How should I know? My witchcraft didn’t cross the ocean.”
“I mean the MBA thing, silly.”
“You asked me to go to school, right. And, you bought me forms for the UCLA part time MBA program, remember?”
“But, you didn’t do it.”
“See, that’s your problem right there. You think you know me.”
“You mean you enrolled?”
“Yeah. Two years ago. It was meant to be a surprise when I graduate but, hey – cat out of the bag.”
“How do you surprise someone with an MBA?”
“It’s part time, Abu. You were gone all the time, for work or play. I had time. Be happy for me.”
I was in shock. This is like building a mansion and not getting to live in it.
“And, the LSAT? What’s that about?”
“These lawyers in this whole thing got me thinking I could make some money doing family or immigrations law. So, I told myself – while the baby is in kindergarten I’ll go to law school. By the time she’s ready to go to school, I’ll be ready to practice. Their parents will be both lawyers.”
I stumbled away. I wanted to tell Lori but she was out with her girlfriends for a girls’ night out. I couldn’t sleep for most of the night. I was beginning to realize I may have been hasty in some of my judgments of Efe. I thought she was always up to no good but she was advancing herself the way I’ve always wanted. And, she told me she even convinced Temi that her getting a law degree was good for the business even though she was plotting an escape route.
That night, I was so absentminded during sex that Lori joked, “hope we won’t be needing Viagra soon.”
But, the worst was yet to come.
The next day, I walked into the office to meet a staff really excited that I was alive and well. They even had a cake for me during the morning executive meeting. Lori sat in the corner, smiling like the proudest lover ever. For a moment, the turmoil in my life was distant in my brain.
“Is it true you’re officially seeing Lori,” Alex, my assistant asked mid-morning.
“Where is that coming from?” I replied in shock.
“The whole office knows. You know Lori, she’s the expert of controlled leaks. She told her assistant and she told everyone,” she spat out the words.
“Look, I don’t know…” I began
“I feel sick!” she exclaimed and half-ran out.
This is why you should never sleep with your assistant, even once by accident. I made a mental note to tell HR to change things around in the secretarial pool.
Lori peeked into my office several minutes later.
“What are we doing for lunch?” she asked.
“He has a lunch meeting,” Alex called from her desk outside.
“Okay, babe- I’ll plan dinner then,” a chirpy Lori announced.
“Come in,” I ordered.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“Why are you telling people we’re together?”
“I did not.”
“I didn’t. I may have told my assistant and she may have told people. Besides, what’s the big deal? Are you ashamed of me?”
That’s literal equivalent of a romantic handcuff. I had no answer. She kissed me and walked out. Alex watched her go with a glare that could kill a baby goat.
“What’s my lunch meeting?” I asked Alex.
“I am your lunch meeting,” she replied.
God, I can’t stand this nonsense. If Alex thinks she can sleep with me again because Lori is flaunting me she’s making a mistake. I have to stop this.
“Okay,” I said.
I wished I’d stayed in Nigeria. America was getting too hot.
“I’m pregnant and it’s yours,” Alex announced at lunch.
I almost choked on my salad.
“You’re joking?” I whispered.
“Ten weeks. I was going to tell you but then all that problem came and you had to go to Nigeria and more shit happened.”
“Yes, I’m sure. And, it’s yours because you’re the only man I’ve slept with in two years. Plus, I don’t believe in that “immaculate-conception” shit”.
I felt like killing myself.
“Have you talked to Zoey?” I asked.
“We broke up,” she replied.
“She could help you raise the child, you know.”
“She’s not dumb. She knows the father.”
I really want to kill myself. Now, I understand why Zoey cut me off abruptly.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“What every woman wants from the father of her baby, a relationship,” she replied.
“You know that’s not possible,” I replied.
“Make it possible or everything is gonna go south really fast,” she threatened, got up and stormed out.
I went into my car, sat down and cried. I felt so hopeless. I returned to America with hope but my penis has destroyed my life. There are several ways my ordeal with Alex can go and none of them is good for me.
Somehow, I found myself calling Efe.
Efe arranged for all three of us to meet at the African restaurant an hour later. I was so grief stricken I couldn’t even look at her. Here is a woman I’ve spent the better part of a year and half fighting and now I’m turning to her to solve my personal crisis.
“Listen, Alex – I like you. You’re a good girl and with some sense, you can go places. I’ve talked to Abu, as you can see he feels bad about the whole thing but he can’t be with you. He can’t marry you, he can’t date you and he can’t do anything with you,” Efe began.
“Why? Because of that tramp, Lori,” Alex shot back.
“Be careful. Lori is here to stay and you will have to deal with that,” Efe replied.
“Why are you defending her? She stole your man?” Alex said.
“If she didn’t, you obviously would have. Anyway, I didn’t come to America with Abu to watch him throw his life away. He’s the father of my kids and they need a sane father. Now, he’s a good man. He will never walk away from his kids. He will take care of that child. But, that’s all. That’s all the law requires. You’re not married so there can’t be spousal support. But, knowing Abu, he will provide both spousal and child support,” Efe said.
“Why are you speaking for him? It’s not like he’s still with you,” Alex charged at Efe.
“Actually, he is. We are still legally married and that means you are trying to take my man and I will do anything to stop you. Now, let me tell you what you’re thinking. You’re going to go to your HR and tell them he sexually assaulted you and you got pregnant. They will ask why are you just revealing this now. You will say you were scared he was too powerful but you had to tell them now because you just told him and he threatened to fire you if you didn’t get rid of the child. As a Catholic, that’s too big a sin. Am I right so far?” Efe said.
Alex was silent, meaning she was actually thinking along those lines.
“Now, this is what I did. When I filed for my divorce, I named you and Lori as the women who were interfering with my marriage. I can fill in the gaps with your HR – how you got him drunk one night and took advantage of him. How Abu came home crying to me, how I called you and we almost had a fight. Check your phone, I did call you about fourteen or fifteen weeks ago. And, you did come to our house. I have proof because there is CCTV in the house,” Efe continued, coldly and methodically.
“You won’t do that,” Alex cried.
“What? The ones I’ve done or the ones I’m going to do with HR,” Efe replied.
“I never got him drunk,” Alex cried some more.
“But, you thought it was cool to sleep with a married man?” Efe asked.
Alex had no reply. I was so stunned at Efe’s approach I was speechless.
“My dear, this is what you’re going to do. You’re going to go back to the office and resign. Abu will help you find another job and, until he does, he will pay your full salary and benefits. In return, I will keep my mouth shut,” Efe ruled.
Alex gathered her bags and walked away in a daze. Knowing Alex, that baby was as good as expired. I tried to look up at Efe but I couldn’t. Instead, I started crying.
“Stop crying, you’re disgracing both of us,” she said.
“I’m lost Efe. How did this happen?” I asked.
She didn’t answer. She picked up her bag, got up and shot me a very disgusting look.
‘What’s going to happen to us?” I asked.
“You tell me,” she replied in an icy tone.