Every relationship has its risks and its benefits. The key to having a successful relationship is learning to nurture those benefits so that they dwarf the risks, or to eliminate it completely if those risks prove to be lethal. Afosua was in the nurturing stage with Naa Akweley Blankson, but she had to long admitted internally that she was looking forward to terminating this relationship when the time was right.
As she strode purposely to their reserved table at Tante Marie Restaurant in Labone, she was greeted by Naa Akweley’s scowling face. Annette Baffoe was sitting with her, also stony faced.
“You’re late,” scolded Naa Akweley.
“Yes…Sorry. I am indeed 8 minutes late,” Afosua conceded apologetically.
She was not in the mood to give an explanation, and she was certain that Naa Akweley wouldn’t accept it either way. For a woman so beautiful, she could be really ugly. Afosua was hard, but Naa Akweley was just unforgiving. She looked her table mate over before sitting down. She looked the perfect part of a pastor’s wife, with not a hair out of place. Her A-lined dress was conservative, but fashionable, especially when you consider that she was about 8 months pregnant. Maybe that was the reason she was so snappish. Perhaps the cow was just hungry. When Afosua was seated, Annette brightened immediately.
“How are you darling?” she asked sweetly.
“I’m well!” smiled Afosua.
She squeezed her friend’s hand. Afosua had known Annette for over 16 years, becoming one of her closest friends. They had known each other since secondary school, and kept in touch even when Afosua left to study in England. Afosua might have considered Annette one of her best friends, if not for one thing: The woman lacked confidence. She wielded so much power and influence, and hardly knew it or what to do with it. It was Annette who had introduced Afosua to Naa Akweley – wife of the powerful Pastor Ian Blankson – and it was Naa Akweley who was going to get Afosua what she needed – whether she knew it or not.
“I saw you at the benefit dinner last night,” said Annette. “Who was that hot guy you were stringing along?”
Afosua smiled mysteriously.
“Well…he’s an accountant, and his name is…”
“Tony,” interjected Naa Akweley. “His name is Tony and he’s our church’s accountant.”
She took a sip from her sparkling water before continuing.
“I saw the two of you leave together.”
Afosua felt a stone drop in her stomach. Under normal circumstances, she could care less who knew whom she slept with – but when that knowledge interfered with her business plans, that was problematic. Tony’s affiliation with the church was a little closer than she cared for. She chose her words carefully before she spoke next.
“Yes, his name is Tony. He’s a very sweet guy. Very nice.”
Naa Akweley sucked her teeth softly and impatiently called over the waiter.
“Well, now that you’re here, I guess we can order.”
Annette looked at her friend and smiled apologetically. Afosua smiled back, telling her silently it was alright. She could handle herself.
While they waited for their meal, Afosua launched into her reason for asking the two ladies to lunch.
“I’d like the two of you to join me in Dumbai for a weekend getaway.”
“Dumba?” asked Annette. “Where the hell is that?”
Naa Akweley shot her a look. She did not approve of vile language.
“It’s northeast of here, just above Lake Volta,” Afosua said pulling out her iPad. “I’ve been twice before, and it totally rejuvenated me. I think every woman in Ghana should visit it if they have the chance. I’d like to share it with the two of you.”
Annette brightened even further,
“Well you can count me in! I’m all up for repowering my system. Life in the city can be such a drain.”
Naa Akweley wasn’t so quickly sold. She couldn’t figure out what Afosua was up to, but she knew the woman wanted something from her. Everyone did.
“I can’t believe you would even think to ask me to travel so close to my due date,” she said with disdain. “You know how the roads are in this country. My husband wouldn’t even hear of it!”
“I thought about that, and I thought we might hire a helicopter to get us there,” Afosua continued. “It would be quicker and easier than driving.”
Naa Akweley almost hissed at her.
“You don’t know a thing about child birth, do you?” she asked condescendingly. “That altitude this late in a pregnancy would cause early labor. But then, how could you know? You’re just a single woman with no responsibilities sleeping her way through life!”
Annette drew a sharp breath in dismay. Afosua was unphased. She had endured stronger and cheaper shots than this one. She could take it, but she could also give it.
“Yes well, someone’s got to keep people like your husband in business, don’t they? I’m the woman he preaches about every Sunday. The ‘lost soul’, the one who ‘needs saving’. I keep the offering buckets full of cash.” She leaned in a little closer to Naa Akweley and whispered her next words. “And without me, you’d be nothing.”
She grabbed her purse and left 100 cedis on the table before sauntering off.
“Have a great day ladies.”
With lunch cut short, Naa Akweley went straight home. Her husband would not believe the gall of this woman! She called for the maid to get her bags out of the car.
“Stella! Stella, where are you?”
Stella was not in the kitchen, nor was she in the laundry room. She might have been cleaning the bathrooms upstairs. Naa Akweley was about to go up the stairs and find her when she heard a familiar sound. She immediately felt ill.
The wooden slats on her bed were squeaking. Her husband was fucking the maid – again.
She stood frozen with one foot on the bottom stair and her hand on the banister. As her anxiety grew, the baby within her kicked forcefully against her abdomen. Stella was calling Ian’s name…and he was commanding her to scream louder. How had he gotten her wet, Naa Akweley wondered. Had he taken his tongue and flicked her nipples? Had he suckled on them until Stella shuddered in delight? Was he getting harder with each thrust, and were her legs wrapped around his muscular frame? Ian was skilled at lovemaking, but he had hardly touched Naa Akweley since she began showing. She ached so much for him to make love to her again. She wanted desperately to go upstairs and stop the two of them in their tracks…to beat him over his head and ask him what the hell he thought he was doing! But she couldn’t. In a trance, her feet carried her to Ian’s study instead.
A good wife never complains. A good wife keeps her husband happy. A good wife…
Naa Akweley stopped her mantra and poured herself a glass of scotch. As it burned her chest, her baby slowly stopped kicking and she quickly began crying. Not again, God. Not again.