Mofe wasn’t sure how he expected her to react to his confession bus she was surprisingly calm. He expected her to show some form of emotion but instead she pointed to the door “Get out of my house, get out and don’t come back ever!”
“No!” He shook his head approaching her slowly, she sensed his approach because she moved back, away from him but she couldn’t go too far as she was now too close to the sofa. “No Ezinne, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily.” He told her sternly “I am not some stu’pid boyfriend fiance you can throw out easily!”
“Whatever sick game you’ve been playing with me because I’ve lost my sight and couldn’t recognise you ends now, Get out!” She tried again.
He was now just an arm’s length away from her, he stopped. “I’m not leaving until I get what’s mine…. what you deprived me of these past ten years!” He insisted.
“What’s yours?” She whispered, her face drained of its colour as she dropped on to the sofa, sitting down. Her legs weak at the realisation that he knew.
“Yes! Azora is mine and I want her.”
“Zora is Ekene’s daughter, not yours!” She tried.
“Don’t lie to me Ezinne, I have seen all the proof I need to so don’t bother lying or I will make this messy for you! I will fight you with everything I have Ezinne! You have kept her from me for long enough…I still can’t understand how you could be this cruel? If I had never come back, I would never have found out about her, would I?”
“I… she isn’t yours…I…”
“Oh please cut the crap,” he cut off her pathetic attempt at a lie “you have never been a good liar, it would be better if you came clean and told me why you did something so cruel as this to me and maybe I will be lenient on you.”
“You left, Mofe! You just up and left me, like you never cared all along.” She suddenly accused, her voice cracking with emotion as she spoke. He could tell she was close to tears. Lord please, not the tears.
“You told me to go! That you wanted nothing to do with me, and then you disappeared, I couldn’t reach your lines for a whole month. You knew I was already some days late to resume at school, I had to leave but I told Eric to let me know if you came looking for me but you never did. Next thing I heard you were getting married. So you left, not me!”
Slowly she took off her glasses and his heart wrenched at the scars around her eyes. They were quite faint but still visible, her light brown eyes were the same but not focused, she was staring not at him but slightly to his left.
“Eric? Eric told me you didn’t want anything to do with me and you hadn’t left any contact, he also added a few words of his own that made me hate you. I vowed not to bother with you anymore.” Her voice was a whisper now, as if she had lost the strength to speak.
It was his turn to be shocked. Eric had assured him that she had never shown up but had easily moved on with her life. He was so going to strangle that cousin of his the next time he saw him.
“But when you found out you were pregnant, you could have told my aunt, you know she would have gotten in touch with me, you know she …..”
“I didnt want to force you into coming back, I didn’t want to force you into a commitment….” her whisper of a voice was more shaky now and a tear slipped from her eye but she angry wiped it off as she spoke. “There was no point if you came back just for the baby, I just thought…..”
“No! That wasn’t your choice to make, Zinnie! That wasn’t your choice to make! I deserved a chance to know, you intentionally kept me out of her life….. What in the world happened to you? The Ezinne I knew would never have done that. You intended punishing me and keeping me out of my daughter’s life, wasn’t it? All these years you could have reconsidered but it goes to show how much hatred you still harbour for me all these years that you would keep me away from my own child.”
His harsh tone pushed her over the edge and the tears flowed freely now. Placing her hands on her face, she covered her eyes as her shoulders shook as she cried and he couldn’t help but feel sorry for her a bit.
She managed to say softly between sobs “I hated you, I still do…after all the promises we made to each other, you left…. You moved on with your new life abroad easily, that was the impression I got from your cousin, so why did I need to bother you with news about your daughter when you had moved on with your life?”
If only she knew he hadn’t moved on as easily as she thought. Hell! Thoughts of her still haunted him day and night, he had dreams, he couldn’t focus on new relationships, he found himself still longing for her.
She looked up now, her eyes tear drenched and quite pink, it’s unfocused pupils looked past him “You knew where I was Mofe, if you still cared about me, why didnt you just reach out to me? You could have mailed me, I know there were many times I had meant to send you an email but when I thought of how you just up and left without a word, I changed my mind.”
He opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t, aside his pride, he’d been forced to make a devilish promise to her father that unless she reached out to him first, he would never contact her. He wasn’t one to break his word but that was one promise he should have broken or never should have made but thanks to Eric again, he had entered into a deal with her father involuntarily.
Mofe hadn’t had the money to purchase the ticket out of the country and Eric had made a deal behind his back with Ezinne’s father. By the time he’d found out the ticket had been bought and as that had been his only chance at leaving the country, he’d taken it.
Her father had tried to get him into promising to stay away from Ezinne indefinitely but Mofe had changed the terms and told him except if Ezinne contacted him first, he would stay away from her. He had strongly believed Ezinne would get over the fight and get in touch with him later.
The General had agreed, Mofe should have known the man would have done everything possible to keep them apart and thanks to Eric also, he had succeeded.
He couldn’t tell her now about the shameful deal he had made with her father, he couldn’t bring himself to say it. All these years he had hated and accused her but now he saw they’d never had a chance, there had been other forces against them being together and they had won in the end. He and Ezinne had been victims.
“You are silent… so you agree that you are as much to blame as I am?” She asked him.
“No, Ezinne don’t lump me into this with you. Its one thing to end a relationship, it’s another thing to keep a child from her father! You should have told me about Azora, you know I would have come back, you know I would never have let you marry that bastard.” He Cursed Ekene knowing fully well that one wasn’t meant to talk bad about the dead. “I would have given it all up just to be with my daughter.”
She shook her head slowly “And what about your dreams, your career? I take it you’ve made something big of yourself now? I have a feeling it’s your money you are spending on this place. I guess you are a top director at Techbits?”
“I own the company,” He said tersely, well part owner as he had shareholders but he owned the largest portion of shares of the company.
She acknowledged this news with a slight raise of her brow and then a shrug, she said, “well, I guess I did you a huge favour in that case?”
“No you didnt! I would have given anything to watch my daughter being born, to hold her in my arms….”His voice shook with emotion as he thought about all she had deprived him “I would have given anything to watch her grow, call me daddy and not be a stranger to her! You did a really wicked thing Zinnie, I would never have thought you could conceive such wickedness much less live with yourself all these years.
We made our mistakes, we had opposition but… even if you hated me, you shouldn’t have brought our kid into this…I’m very tempted to make you pay Ezinne, I’m very tempted to take her from you and keep her away, the same way you have done all these years.”
She stiffened “You wouldn’t!”
“Wouldn’t I? I’ve got the means, I’ve got world class lawyers and everyone knows the judiciary is quite corrupt here, just pay off some people and the ruling goes my way”
“No! You can’t do that!” She exclaimed the fear evident in her eyes.
“”And why not?” He asked, his heart wrenching at the tortured look on her face, he really wasn’t enjoying threatening her this way but he wanted her to feel some of the pain he was going through all because of her.
What she did next, surprised the hell out of him, she got down on her knees “She’s all I Have, I have lost so much, I couldn’t bear to lose her also.” Her voice was a tortured whisper. “Please, I beg you don’t do this to me.”
She actually believed he would go through with his threat. If he wanted her to suffer, he would walk out right then. Walk out and let her worry herself crazy but he couldn’t bring himself to leave her in this state. His heart wrenched at the sight of her, she had lost so much thanks to him, her father, Eric and even herself. They all had a hand in this mess.
He recalled the promises he’d made her when they had been younger. He’d promised they would be together whatever may happen, forever and for always but he hadn’t kept it. For someone who never went back on his word, he’d broken the one most important promise in his life.
“Mofe please, I agree that I have acted irrationally but please do not do this, Azora needs her mother as much as she needs you.” The tears had stopped for a while but as she looked up, eyes averted from him a few more tears slipped making him feel more wretched than he already did.She was the one who had kept his daughter away from him, she was the cruel one who deserved to suffer but why did he feel this way?
She continued, “I have nothing, just her…please don’t, I don’t think I would survive this….”
“Hush, just stop,stop..” It was enough, he couldn’t take any more of her pleading “Just get up will you?”
“No, I’m not getting up Mofe, not until you promise that you won’t take her from me…. I know how dear you hold your promises and if you say you wouldn’t I would believe you and that’s only when my mind would be at peace.”
She still believed he kept his promises when he’d broken some of the most important ones he had made to her?
With a resigned sigh, he walked down to where she knelt and took her by the arms pulling her up from her kneeling position, he helped her back to the sofa. “I haven’t forgiven you yet and I’m still really pissed off but for now, I don’t plan on taking her from you.”
“For now? Is that the best you can do?”
He looked at her, they were standing so close, there was that invisible energy between them once more, the one that made him want to pull her closer to him and never let her go. He needed distance. He helped her back to the seat and gave them the much needed distance.
“I am still very angry Ezinne, I have been since I found out a few weeks back, I need some time to heal. If you are good, we could work something out but if you try to run from me or try some funny business, I will find you Ezinne, I will find you, forcibly take her from you and keep you alive so you live in the misery and realisation that your daughter will never be yours anymore.” He threatened meaning everything he said. “I have to leave now, good night.”
“Wait but…” She started.
“Goodnight Ezinne, it’s getting quite late and I have to leave so Azora and Rachel can return.” He gave the excuse but deep down he knew he had to leave because he didnt like the feelings going through him at that moment. For some reason he was tempted to forgive her and feel less annoyed but he didn’t want that. She deserved his hatred for what she had done,He had to hang on to that for a while and not feel the urge to get reacquainted with her lips.
“Open this damn door, Eric or watch me bring it down.” Mofe yelled at his cousin purporting to bring it down as promised if he didn’t open it sooner.
“Calm down man, I’m opening the door.” Eric said as he fiddled with the keys. The door finally opened up and Mofe barged in, angry as hell.
“Jeez man, what’s got you so riled up? Did you lose your company or something?”
“No, but today I lost a cousin, a brother and a freaking friend.”
“What are you talking about?” Eric asked with a frown. “Who are you talking about?”
Mofe paced back and forth across the plushly carpeted hallway, half out of his mind with anger.
“Eric I swear if you were not my closest friend and only brother, I would have strangled you right now for what you did to me, for all you have caused!”
“What….what did I cause? Come out clean MJ, I’m not following you. I would never harm you intentionally, you know that.”
“You lied to me, dear cousin,” Mofe started sarcastically “Eleven years ago, you told me Ezinne hadn’t come looking for me, you told me she had moved on quite easily when the opposite was the case. why in the world did you do that Eric? Why? I left you instructions to contact me if she came looking and you promised me. You promised!”
Erics face fell and Mofe knew he was guilty as charged.
Mofe shook his head disappointed “All these years … all these years Eric, you made me believe she just moved on… you made me…. you made me think I meant nothing to her. You made me hate her!
You made her believe I didn’t care about her, you lied to her and to me, your brother! Eric, why would you do such to me? I know you never liked her but you knew how I felt about her, she meant so much to me…so why would you do this? Why?”
“I dont know….” Eric replied exasperated “I don’t know…I just felt you would be better off without her, you were too into her,” he sighed and Mofe sensed more was coming, “and then I made a promise to her father when he paid for your airfare, I didn’t tell you because I knew you would never agree to it. I promised to make Ezinne believe you had moved on and make you believe she had also moved on.”
“Christ!” Mofe exclaimed.
“I’m sorry but at the time I believed it was for the best…. look at you now, you can have ten of her if its what you want.”
“I don’t want ten freaking Ezinnes, I wanted just one, the only one…..you don’t get it do you? You cost me my relationship but more importantly do you know you might have cost me a relationship with my daughter?”
“Hey, I didn’t know she was pregnant okay?”
“What difference does it make if you did or didn’t know, you went into a deal behind my back, lied to me and set up a chain reaction of events and now here we are, Ezinne endured years of physical and emotional abuse, almost lost her life but got off with losing her eyesight. I lost the chance to watch my beautiful daughter grow…I lost ten years because of you Eric and no wealth in the world can give me those lost years. Do you get it now?”
Erics face had lost its colour and he now understood the gravity of what he’d done. “MJ,what can I say…I’m sorry, I should never have meddled the way I did. I’m so sorry.”
“You are dead to me Eric,” now that Eric had gotten it, Mofe made for the exit, he was done here. “I don’t care if Mother intervenes but you are a stranger to me and that’s final!”
Eric called him back.”MJ, don’t say that…I made a mistake, I thought I was doing you a favour.”
“You call lying a favour?”
“I made a mistake….but you can’t disown me, we are like brothers for crying out loud!”
“You should have thought about that before you spurned me and went into a deal with the devil!” Mofe replied walking out the open door , ignoring the calls of his so called brother.
He had just one more person to meet, the devil himself but not tonight, he had a something special planned for the old man. He would love this part the most.