That day, Stephen didn’t go home. He simply put up with his friend for the time being because he just couldn’t face his parents for now. He knew that they would bombard him with a lot of questions and his mother would never let him hear the end of how she was against getting married to Susan from the beginning. In fact, he had a strong conviction that the woman was already laying curses on her.
Stephen hardly ate, slept or spoke. Man was heartbroken. All efforts by his friends to cheer him up proved abortive and they were at loss of what else to do. Monday took an awfully long time to come and after getting the needed information from Anne, Jerry and Rufus drove their anxious friend to the supermarket where they had been told that Susan was presently shopping and the good news was that she was alone.
Stephen had barely waited for the car to stop when he opened the door and hopped out of it. Briskly, he walked into the supermarket and glanced left and right looking for her. When he saw no sign of her, he then walked further into the supermarket, moving through one aisle to the other, looking for her in the busy supermarket. He had taken several turns and corners searching for her before he finally found her. She had on a fancy red scarf tied around her head, a strapless top on a high-waist jean of trousers and high heels. She was in the chocolate and cookie section, examining a box of chocolate, probably reading what was written on the fancy-looking box since she was such a sweet tooth and ate a lot of junk and she was completely oblivious to his presence.
As he beheld her, his heart seemed to soar in his chest and he instantly felt like wrapping his arms around her and hugging her. There, just several feet away, was his woman. The woman whom he loved so much and still loves with all his heart despite the fact that she had left him standing on the alter just two days before. As he watched her scrutinize the box of chocolate, the crazy scenes of their sex life began to flash through his mind. There were only two ways to confort or pacify Susan whenever she was angry or sad, the first was mind-blowing sex and the other was taking her shopping. How could he afford to lose such a wonderful creature? Susan was just like a goddess and had the body most women would die for. She was beautiful in and out and he knew he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. As he walked towards her now, his heart began to race fast now in his chest just as she returned the chocolate box to the shelf and picked another brand to also examine it.
“Susan.” He called softly and she suddenly spun around to stare at him as if she had seen a ghost. She almost even flattened her back against the shelf in alarm and dropping the box of chocolate.
“Stephen!” She managed to say as she swallowed hard. Fear was written all over her face and she began anxiously to glance to the sides as if searching for an escape route.
But why was she scared? Why was his Susan afraid of him? He had never even raised his voice or his hand at her before, so why was she so suddenly fearful of him now as if he was going to hurt her? “I am glad that you are okay…” He said then assured her. “…just relax, I won’t hurt you, I promise.” He smiled to show her that he was not mad about what she did. She still meant the world to him. Then he bent down, picked the box of chocolates and handed it to her.
She hesitantly took it from him then seemed to muster whatever courage she had left as she stepped away from the shelf. “I’m not scared…” She said with an anxious frown, not really looking him in the eyes. “I’m just surprised, that’s all…” She tucked part of her artificial hair behind one of her ear as she placed the box of chocolate in her cart.
“Better… I’ll just go straight to the point…” He said in relief. “I know that Major Ali is holding you against your will and even told you not to come for the wedding. He must have threatened you or something, but Susan, I’m here to tell you that we can actually work this out because I have already forgiven you for what you did… I’m here to let you know that I’m ready to fight for us, for our happiness, even if it means quitting the military for your sake.”
She gaped at him in surprise for some seconds and when she finally found her voice, she told him: “Stephen… Major Ali did not force me to do anything…I was the one who just decided not to come. I guess I should have told you a long time ago…but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stand the heartbreaking look on your face…so that’s why I decided not to show up on the wedding day.” She sheepishly said, half-remorseful.
“What do you mean?” Stephen asked, puzzled, then he scoffed, thinking she was still just speaking from fear of the Major. “You don’t have to be scared anymore, I’m here now, Susan.” Then he tried to assure her by taking her hands in his as he stared into her eyes. “Listen to me Susan, you don’t have to pretend anymore, I know everything now. I know that you are probably under duress, but I assure you that I’m willing to help you go through this in every way that I can. I’m ready to do everything within my power to help you pull through this. We can even relocate together after our wedding if that’s what you want.”
She gently wrung her hands from his and said bluntly now in irritation that he was still trying to fix their relationship. “Stephen, it’s like you don’t just get it. I don’t love you anymore!”
Stephen gaped down at her in disbelief now and she continued despite the look on his face.
“I only dated you because I thought we had a future together. And besides, when we first met, I already told you that I have a thing for men in uniform and I’m a sucker for power. Stephen, you are really a nice guy and any girl will be lucky to have you, but that girl is just not me. You are always away on one assignment or the other! We never really had the chance to spend enough time together and I got awfully lonely. You’ll return for just a week or month and then you are gone for one year again, do you know how lonely I felt? Especially when my friends go out to parties and dates with their boyfriends but mine is thousands of miles away from me on some stupid duty! I had to even go through the painful process of celibacy because you were not around to satisfy my sexual needs; do you have any idea how tortorous that was?!” As she said her next words, she averted her gaze to the side and held her other elbow by putting her arm across her belly. “…besides, your family never really liked me in the first place; especially your mother who thinks that I’m a runs’ girl.”
“But babe, what happened to you? What happened to us? You knew my line of job before you agreed to date me? You promised that you’d always endure and wait for me each time I went away on an assignment.” Stephen reminded.
“Well, I tried.” She grumbled. “But I think six years is enough for anyone’s patience to wear out.”
“But Susan, where did I go wrong? Heaven knows that I tried my possible best to communicate with you as often as possible, except I was posted to a place where there’s no network coverage. I sent you a text every day. I called you at least five times a day. I sent money into your account almost weekly, what else did you want me to do? Where did I go wrong, Susan, tell me.”
“Listen, Stephen,” She nervously and impatiently said now. “I shouldn’t really be seen talking to you like this. Major Ali is a very jealous man and he has eyes all over. See, I’m sorry for standing you up at the alter, but I had no choice. My only fault is that I should have told you a long time ago that I was tired of the relationship. Major Ali was always there for me whenever you were alone. He has done a lot for me and my family these past months. He sent my brother to study abroad which you couldn’t do. He has bought vacation tickets for my parents twice and ever since I started going out with him, he has shown me nothing less than genuine love and people now fear and respect my family and I very much ever since I started going out with him.”
“Wait a minute…” Stephen said now, trying to wrap his head around all she had just said. “…if I get this straight, are you saying that you are consensually dating Major Ali simply because he is an higher ranking officer than I am and because he can afford to spoil your family silly?”
“Well, if you put it that way, Stephen, my answer is yes. You are just a Second Lieutenant and you still have a long way to go up the rank ladder. You of all people know that I’ve always had a thing for men in power. In fact, being with a powerful man is my weakness and Major Ali is everything I need. Unlike you, nobody orders him around anyhow. He’s not always away on one duty or the other. I need a man who’s stable. A man that I can see whenever I want and also wields enough power to command the respect of both soldiers and civilians and you are just not it yet, Stephen. I don’t know how long it will take you to become a Major but it’s a long wait I’m not willing to go through.”
“Are you even listening to yourself?” Steohen asked, appalled by her demeaning words. “How can you tell me to my face that you are only ditching me for my superior because of ranks?! Have you forgotten that not only is he too old for you, he’s also married?!”
“It doesn’t matter if he’s married, Stephen.” She indifferently said. “After all, he’s a Muslim and is entitled to four wives. He has promised to make me his second and final wife…so tell me, what more could I want?”
Stephen couldn’t really believe his ears. Was this really the woman he had loved for six years? “So you are just going to end us simply because Major Ali promised you marriage? Susan, you are just going to throw everything we have shared and built for six years all because a man who’s higher than I’m in rank promised you the best things of life? What happened to love? What happened to all the promises we made to each other? Do they suddenly mean nothing to you?!”
“What else is worth ditching our six year relationship for if not this? Stephen, see, please don’t take this too hard but we were never really going to work out in the first place! Besides, you never really liked to do the things that I wanted you to do. You were just too uptight and never wanted the same things I wanted. We were different in a lot of ways, so how were we even supposed to work out?!” She boldly asked, her intialy fear completely gone.
Confused, Stephen asked: “What do you mean by I never really liked to do the things that you wanted to do?”
“C’mon Stephen, do we have to do this? Do we have to go through this again, especially in public?” She rolled her eyes now. “Can’t I just say: ‘Stephen, I’m sorry for standing you up at the alter and breaking your fragile heart’ so that we can get this done with and pretend we never happened?” She asked in a remorseless tone and from the way she sounded, she sounded as if he was irritating her and just wanted him gone at once but he was not willing to leave just yet.
“No, you can’t just say you are sorry because a mere I’m sorry does not fix things!” He hissed.
“Then what do you want? Some kind of compensation? Will it make you feel better? I could go home and put in a good word about you to the Major and maybe he could just pay you off or something!”
Stephen was trying very hard not to lose his temper but his ex-fiancee’s apathetic behaviour was really pushing him to the wall. “No, Susan, I don’t want a favour nor a dime from the Major!” He said coldly. “What I really want is for you to say everything so that we can get all these done with! Tell me how we were never really compatible!” Stephen refused to be dissuaded from pressing further.
She gave him a look for a moment then said: “Fine, if that’s what you want, Second Lieutenant Stephen Micheals.” She deliberately emphasized on his title in a demeaning tone. “One, you are just too soft for me. I mean, soldiers are supposed to be big mean brutes, harsh, terrifying, intimidating and all, but you are just a big softie and it makes me sick! Whenever we go out, you don’t even command respect because you want to keep your military identity secret! You let people walk all over you all in the name of being kind! Do you know how many times I’ve tried to frustrate or provoke you so that you get all furious and hit me? But no, all you do is scold and pamper me afterwards! You have never even slapped me, not to talk of hitting me for once. I mean, I even went as far as insulting your mother in your presence but you just couldn’t hit me. Instead, you just grabbed your keys and went on a long drive! You are just not man enough, Stephen. I don’t think being in the army really suits you, you should be a vet or in some profession that require softies but definitely not in the Nigerian army! It doesn’t suit you one bit!”
“So…your point is that you have always wanted me to hit you?” He was surprised at this revelation.
“Yes but you just didn’t read the handwriting on the wall and it was frustrating! See Stephen, my father hits my mum to correct her and that’s also the kind of husband I want! I need a man who’d hit me at the slightest provocation and also have sex with me afterwards to show possession and just how much he still loves me.” She said.
“Wait a minute, are you a fucking retard?” Stephen gave her a flustered look. “Why in the world will any sane woman want a man to hit her?! That’s domestic violence, Susan, so you had better snap out of your delusion! And despite my position in the army, you of all people should know that my father would fucking kill me if he ever found out that I laid my hands on a woman!”
“And your father would also kill you if you were spontaneous in bed?” She asked.
Stephen exhaled now. “Susan, what has that got to do with any of this? I thought we already fixed that two years ago and we had a mutual agreement to stir clear of sexual abnormalities.”
“Everything has to do with it, Stephen, everything. And for your information, I never agreed to whatever agreement you speak of! I only let the matter be because I had already made up my mind to find an alternative.” She replied. “You didn’t want to make our sex life fun? You didn’t want to go BDSM on me! You didn’t even want to even try…” She cleared her throat and stylishly gestured with her eyes and her head to her side since she wouldn’t say the word.
“Anal?” Stephen asked in disgust. “This is one of your reasons of ditching me on the alter? Because of Anal sex?”
Tanya rolled her eyes again. “Please don’t act all innocent, Stephen. You very well know that I’m a wild girl and I love wild things. You are smart enough to have figured all that out on the first day you met me in person after you saw a twerking video of mine online and instantly fell in love with me… Well, I don’t blame you, who wouldn’t fall in love with this?” She gestured down her body with both hands with a smug smile. Tanya was almost chubby but she had an ass meant for two women which made heads turn whenever she walked by. “I just don’t get why you would date a girl like me and expect me to change. If you knew that you’d be unable to meet up with my kind of needs, Stephen, you should have simply gone for your own kind of woman instead of trying to change me… There’s no denying that I’m not a good girl, Stephen, as a matter of fact, I enjoy being bad because it gives me all the attention I want. I smoke weed, I love getting all freaky and I still intend to continue with my twerking videos even after marriage, so tell me, will your catholic mother still want a girl like me for her daughter-in-law? Or I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to get her to like me? I don’t think I’ve such time to waste when there are better things to put my efforts on.”
It was hard to swallow down all what Susan was saying. He still couldn’t believe that this was the woman whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Where had he gone wrong? Why hadn’t he noticed all this from the beginning? Why hadn’t he seen that all she had been trying to do was use him and also bring out the monster out of him? All she had been in love withvall these time was his money and his position in the military.
Perhaps, his mother was right; Susan was definitely not the woman to wife. She was beautiful and all, but she was just the definition of bad news. She wanted all the wrong things when all he had to offer were the right things in a platter. He knew that he still loved this woman and he loved her for good but she had hurt him so bad without bothering how he would feel and from the way she sounded now, it was obvious that she was still apathetic about what she had done. He had publicly disgraced him and his family and all she could give was a flimsy apology.
Sighing heavily, he swallowed hard as he looked into the eyes of the only woman he had truly loved, a last time. He couldn’t find the passion that used to be there anymore. As a matter of fact, her eyes were devoid of the sweet love for him that he had always seen there. She suddenly appeared like a total stranger to him now like he never really knew her despite having dated her for six years. Her indifference stung him deeply and he knew that if he wanted to heal, then he would have to let her go.
Healing would take a long time and would definitely hurt too; he might never even fall in love again since she had shattered his belief in love, but he knew that it would be good for his sanity to let her go, no matter how hard it would be. However, he pushed a thought to the back of his mind that whenever she came back to her senses, realised her mistake and was ready to come back to him, then he would gladly welcome her back into his life with open arms, because he doubted that there was any more space in his heart to love any other woman. If it wasn’t going to be Susan, then he was better off being single and might just end up having a baby mama in the future so that he didn’t have to commit to anyone besides his child.
Then he held her shoulders and searchingly stared into her eyes as if looking for the answers to the questions that he was not bold to ask. Finally, he said: “Susan, I love you so much, but I can’t force you to be with me since you alone know what you truly want… If being Major Ali’s second wife will make you happy, then you can wear his ring, but whenever you realise that you were wrong all along and you’re ready to live the life that I’ve always wanted for us and still do, you know where to find me.” He turned and had barely taken three steps away from her when she spoke, making him pause.
“I don’t think there’ll ever be an Us again, Stephen…” She said softly. “I’m don’t intend to come back to you, because it will be a shame to date a boss and then later go back to man who answers sir to him… I won’t stoop that low again, not after tasting what greatness feels like. I can’t make myself an object of rudicule in town, So please, I’d advise you move on, Stephen, move on and pretend that we never existed.”
With his heart bleeding even more at her words, Stephen listened to her without turning his back.
“And, I have always wanted to return this to you.” Susan continued, pulling out an engagement ring from her purse. “Giving this back to you will mean that I’ve severed all ties that I have with you, Stephen. I’ve moved on to a new page and this chapter of us has ended.” Then she tossed the ring at him. The ring hit the ground, rolled and spun between his shoes before finally settling still.
With his eyes burning with painful tears that he was trying so hard to keep at bay, Stephen stared down at his diamond engagement ring between his shoes which he had engaged Susan with a year ago. This was the ring he had gone down on one knee to propose to her by slipping it onto her finger and now, it was the same ring she was tossing on the floor at him like it had meant absolutely nothing. He stared at it for a moment then ground his jaw, blinking several times to chase his tears back from the surface of his eyes which had turned glassy. A soldier was never supposed to cry and definitely not out in public. Without a word, he accepted his fate and strode out of the supermarket without looking back while Susan watched him go, surprised that he had refused to take the ring with him. Deciding to leave the ring there too for whoever cared to pick it, she turned and pushed her cart down the aisle as she continued her shopping. She knew that Stephen was a strong man and presumed that in no time, he would get over her and would possibly understand that she had done this for their own good.
When Stephen finally got into the back seat of a car and slammed the door shut, his friends expectantly turned to look at him.
“How did it go?” Rufus asked.
Stephen wanted to scream: “THAT GIRL IS A BITCH!” But he held back because his mother had taught him never to call a woman demeaning names, so, instead, he said: “Drive.”
“Didn’t you two talk?” Jerry pressed, eager to know how his encounter with Susan went. “I mean, you were in there for almost half an hour… Didn’t you two speak?”
“Just drive!” Stephen ordered now, bringing on his Lieutenant personality. He was in no mood to discuss what had transpired between him and Susan just yet because it might only make him transfer aggresion on his men who were innocent of what she had done to him.
“Yes sir!” The both said, turned away and Rufus drove off without another word while Stephen blankly stared out of the window, deeply lost in thought throughout the entire drive.
Colonel Anthony, a man in his early forties was smoking a cigarette as he stood beside one of the windows in his office. He could hear some soldiers training new recruits on a close-by field and he he had his eyes on a particular girl who was slim. She had her natural hair made and was clad in white T-shirt and blue shorts like her fellow recruits. He counted the women with the cigarette placed between his middle finger and ring finger and realised that in a midst of forty seven recruits, there were nine women and he had easily spotted her because of her large breasts. After doing several exercises which had tired out the recruits, the commanding soldier in charge of the group demonstrated by performing a jumping jacks then ordered the recruit do so twenty times and as this particular lady did her jumping jacks, her big boobs flew apart and came back to collide in a clapping impact and Colonel Anthony felt a wave of heat travelling down his stomach to his groin and he knew that it was not because of the cigarette he was smoking but the sight of those attractive breasts calling out to him.
Reaching down with his free hand to give his growing erection a squeeze through his camo-pants, he called without looking back or taking his eyes off his new quarry: “Nosa?”
“Sir!” His right-hand man, a lower ranking soldier who was always around him and acted as a lackey, approached now and stood beside him.
“You see that girl over there?” The Colonel pointed through the window.
Nosa craned his neck to see but couldn’t figure out which one his superior was talking about. “The thick fair one?”
“No, the slim one with the attractive chest.” Colonel Anthony corrected.
Nosa looked again and spotted her. “Yes sir.”
“Once they are done with that training, tell her to see me.” Colonel Anthony said as he ground the end of his cigarette in his ashtray to get rid of the accumulated ash.
“Yes sir.” Nosa answered and exited the office to do as he had been told while Colonel Anthony bent and pulled out one of lower drawers and when he confirmed that his packs of condoms were still intact, he shoved the drawer back in to concentrate on the recruit again and much to his satisfaction, they were now bent over, swinging their arms one after the other upward with their feet set apart and this way he could see a perfect view of her spread ass which was innocently directed towards his window. Her buttocks were not as large as her mammary glands but he figured that it will do. So he waited for them to finish their minor training.
To be continued…
© Angela Okoduwa