Fareedah’s birthday party was a great success. Although it was more of a party for her parents’ family and friends than for the innocent girl who didn’t care for the noise and unfamiliar faces. Fareedah cried at most times during the party and the tedious task of changing from one outfit to another wasn’t as exciting for her as it was for Mama, let alone being held by strange faces who expected her to pose for a perfect photograph. Nifemi is five months pregnant again by now. The remaining period of her pregnancy was not principally as grand. She was often sick, grouchy and easily irritated at the slightest thing. Olusegun became uneasy with her attitude so he often returned home late from work so that he would avoid any argument and go straight to bed. He took solace again in Bunmi.
They became even closer. This time, there were no boundaries and nothing felt awkward yet he kept his relationship with Bunmi secret. Bunmi knew it was only a matter of time before she would be Olusegun’s legal wife. After all, nothing was binding between Nifemi and him yet. Mama had come to suspect them but she could only advise her son.
Nifemi delivered a healthy baby boy named after Olusegun’s late father – Abdul-Taofeek Ishola Babatunde. At the naming ceremony, Nifemi noticed Bunmi seated very comfortably and confidently. She wondered who could have invited her, not that she needed any special invite anyway. After all, they were neighbors and her mother is close friends with Mama. Nifemi noticed her belle and wondered when she got married while still at her parents’ house.
Olusegun’s family was expanding. The self-contained chalet in his father’s compound wouldn’t do anymore. Besides, he was eager to get away from the probing eyes of the old neighborhood to avoid worsening the scandal when it happens. When Nifemi couldn’t cope with two children all by herself in the new house so she got her younger sister, Gbadun, to stay and help around the house.
Moving to the new house would have been a time to really begin to enjoy some much desired privacy with Olusegun but he had suddenly changed from the loving, sensitive and helpful man he used to be for reasons she couldn’t understand. His attention seemed diverted by the day. He was now worried about getting an extra job, something Nifemi didn’t understand what he needed it for. It wasn’t that she had complained that she wasn’t getting enough pocket money for herself or the children. He was hardly around and when he was, he seemed to be concerned with a lot on his which he wasn’t sharing with Nifemi and that made her worry even more. She tried to put up with his late-night, his sudden and frequent drinking attitude but being ignored was something she could not coping well with.
When she returned from the market one Saturday afternoon, she met Bunmi at her sitting room, playing with Fareedah while holding a baby in her arms. It definitely wasn’t Abdul-Taofeek because she trusted her sister not to leave her baby with a stranger.
“Can I help you?” Nifemi inquired rather waspishly.