Cheating…can you resist? Ask Kobby in the conclusion of this story right here (in case you’ve not read it yet). Enjoy!
6:00am, Valentine’s Day.
Kobby was in the shower, preparing for his day whilst Joy was finishing off with some light reading she’d picked up a week before.
She didn’t go snooping per se – no – but he’d left his phone screen-up on the bed as usual and she just happened to instinctively glance that way when it beeped a Whatsapp alert. She picked it up and was about to call out to him that he’d gotten a message from “Go Away” with a giggle when her finger unintentionally brushed against the sensor, unlocking it and displaying the racy selfie Charlene had just sent him in a smidgen of underwear!
Her heart skipped a beat as she choked on the giggle. The woman had captioned it, “How will I have you tonight, Naughty or Nice?” and that just drove her into palpitations! She felt her world closing in around her, as if the panic attacks of her bouts of childhood asthma were coming back all at once.
What was this?! As if she hadn’t paid her dues trudging all of the way down the Broken Road that had finally led her to Dr. Kobby Akorful, now this was what she was confronted with. Was he having an affair?! Her blood ran cold at that thought and she simultaneously felt a heavy hand squeeze her heart at the pain of the thought. Am I not enough for him? Was it anything I did? Can Kobby be this heartless and cruel?! These thoughts ran through her mind in a few seconds and it was all she could do to press down on the panic she was feeling just then so it wouldn’t consume her.
Calm down, Joy. I’m sure the love of your life has a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this…or doesn’t he? She was suddenly reminded of the mental weight she’d been carrying around for the past week or so. Her subconscious had told her that something was wrong since the day Kobby came back from work late, seemingly distracted.
Unable to help it, she found herself scrolling through the mostly one-sided conversation and after reading for the umpteenth time how much this woman missed and couldn’t wait to see her husband, interspersed with a number of teasing selfies and naughty jokes, she’d had about enough but couldn’t tear her eyes away from what was unfolding in front of her.
“Abena, are you okay?” She half turned in response to look at him. He’d come up behind her out from the shower and was towelling his head dry with a second towel around his midriff. He looked so normal, not quite like a man who was seriously cheating on his wife at all.
And what do they look like, anyway? She asked herself wryly. She curiously found herself noting how annoying it was that he was using her towel to dry his head. She’d never felt particularly worried by that, only insisting that he made sure to air out whichever towels he’d use afterwards. Luckily, being one for introspection, she realised that she was low-key mad at him already, though in all honesty the conversation thread she’d been going through was mostly one-sided. Probably his only saving grace was that knowing him for the veritable social being he was, the level of coolness with which his answers seemed to be coming was surprising.
“You got a message when you were in the shower from ‘Go Away’. I mistakenly tapped it open. Kobby, what am I seeing?” She managed to deliver this calmly as she placed the phone down on the bed to her side so he could see Charlene’s Valentine ‘offering’ plainly.
With her first statement he’d frozen for a second, before sinking down to sit by his wife, the offending message between them. He let out a deep sigh and shook his head slowly.
“It’s something I should have told you about from the first day, Joy. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t say you’re sorry for something you haven’t explained yet, Kobby.” A note of irritation threatened to creep into her voice but she squelched it as she remembered one of the most pertinent pieces of advice that she seemed to never forget from their pre-marital counsellors, Mr & Mrs Agyewodin. The calm motherly woman had placed particular emphasis on this one day after Joy had complained bitterly about some thing or the other that Kobby had done offhandedly the week before that threatened to upset their whole relationship – he’d failed to pick her up for an engagement early enough and they’d both gotten there late, something which had embarrassed her no end. He’d laughed off her discomfort and barely made any apologies, indirectly belittling any attempt she made to express how offended she was by the whole matter, and had instead gotten peeved at her ‘nagging’.
“You’re always supposed to be a Team and any Team that fights against itself cannot beat any obstacles out there. No matter how valid your own point may be, take time to listen to the other person and just try to put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Be as fair as you would hope the other person would be to you, were they in your position at that moment. And listen more than you speak – that’s why you have 2 ears, but 1 mouth.”
“It started about 2 weeks ago. I never really went into exacting detail when it came to my exes because we both decided not to, and besides, everything was in the Past where it rightly deserved to be. That message was from Charlene. She was my first really serious girlfriend way back in University but she left me for some guy bi, and that was that – or so I thought. She showed up in my Consulting Room about 2 weeks ago and propositioned me out of the blue.”
He sighed again and reached for Joy’s hand from her lap now.
“You know I’d never intentionally do anything to hurt you. I just thought I could handle it on my own without giving you any unnecessary stress. As you can see from the message thread, I haven’t been engaging her at all. She threatened my practice that afternoon and the only way I could think of to defuse the potentially volatile situation was to make some assurances that I would meet up with her somewhere. Believe me on this please – I never meant to follow through with it in the least!”
His pleading tone sounded earnest and genuine, and remorse was obvious in his expression, but Joy was not yet done.
“So you’re saying it’s she who came unto you? You should have told me all this immediately it occurred. Things like these break relationships – you know that.”
“Yes, I do Joy. That’s why I’m apologising. I’m sorry for keeping this from you. I thought…I really don’t know what I was thinking, now that I consider it. I hoped ignoring her would make her go away but it hasn’t worked so far.”
She raised an eyebrow. “So this’s why you’ve been acting weird the past few days? The absentmindedness and even the call you took on the balcony last night?”
“You were awake?” He was surprised that she’d noticed all those incidences. “Yesterday’s call was her trying to set up a meet for this evening at a Hotel. She’d been calling me all day and had sent me many messages, the last one detailing how she wanted to maybe commit suicide or ‘do something stupid’ to herself since I wasn’t minding her.”
“Maybe you should have let her,” Joy muttered half under her breath.
“Oh Abena, I couldn’t have.”
“Oh, so you’re now the Suicide Hotline, right? And you’re defending her too?!”
Kobby was never so acutely aware of how thin the ice he was skating on was as that moment. He beat a hasty retreat.
“No, of course not. You’re right. I shouldn’t have encouraged her in any way, and continuing any communication between the two of us was wrong. I’m sorry for keeping it from you, Joy, I really am.”
She eyed him up and down. With his first words, she’d started forgiving him already though. His apology had been genuine, and she did want to forgive him anyway – after all, he was the other player in their Team and from some time before their marriage, she’d resolved to do whatever she could to make it work. This would include a great deal of forgiveness, she knew. That, however, did not necessarily mean that she would give him the easiest of times that morning.
“Fine. I hear you. I just don’t understand why you would continue this behind my back. Do you have any idea how dangerous that was? I’m not saying I don’t trust you, but you are a man. No matter how faithful you plan to be, you are a poor match for a determined woman. Keeping such a secret from your wife just makes you even more vulnerable. That’s my main concern now.”
That couldn’t be true! No matter what had (not) gone down, Kobby knew that he loved his wife and felt offended that she would feel he could be compromised so easily. Kobby was opening his mouth instinctively to rebut her statement when his breath caught in his throat. He was suddenly reminded of the difficulty he’d been having over the past few days in deleting some of the pictures she’d sent him. In the beginning, he’d actually considered blocking her number completely, but had convinced himself eventually that it was better to keep conversation ongoing between them than to block her out completely – so he could ‘keep a tab’ on her movements & plans for him, if any. He’d even started replying to her jokes with an errant ‘lol’ once in a while.
He felt a familiar cold sweat drip down his back at the sudden realisation that Charlene had already succeeded to ‘program’ him somewhat to accept the idea of her…and that the thought of an affair with her wasn’t as far-fetched as he’d believed it was 2 weeks before! He buried his face in his hands.
He sounded so morose that Joy was now alarmed. She hadn’t meant to break him down like this, but she knew it was necessary to show him the error of his ways because he didn’t seem to see it as clearly as she from the beginning. She only realised she’d forgotten the lovingly part of it a bit. She let go of the last bits of annoyance at him then enough to wrap her arms around him.
“I love you Dr. Akorful, but you’ve got to use me as your support whenever you need me. We’re a Team, and whenever you’re in need I’m the first person you should come to. I know you’re a very independent-minded person – that’s one of the first reasons why I chose you for a husband, because I am one too – but we’re in this together. Whether it’s a persistent vixen or an aching back, I want to know about it to be a part of it…and, of course, if it’s a million dollars too, I plan to feature majorly in it, okay?”
He smiled a bit at that point. Things had never seemed clearer now that he could see just how much he’d been slipping already.
“Thank you, Joy. I’m very grateful for your understanding. I’m also glad you decided to actually tell me all this instead of leaving me around to blunder about like some women would. I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for you in my life than now.”
“I agree, you’re a very lucky man for having me,” she smiled, the weight clearly lifted off now.
It was at that moment that the phone, unfortunately, chose to beep an alert again, souring the mood. They both exchanged a glance before she pushed the phone in his direction.
Kobby took a deep breath before thumbing the message open.
“Sapphire Rose Hotel, Crescent Row. Room 202. 8:00pm. I’ll be waiting eagerly, Dr. Akorful. Don’t disappoint me – neither one of us would like that.”
He handed the phone over to Joy who read through it with a deadpan look on her face.
“What should I do, Joy? I think I should just call her bluff and stay away. Or call her back now and tell her I won’t come.”
“No, Kobby. You don’t know what she will do if you just leave her hanging or actually infuriate her over the phone.” She tapped her lower lip as she thought for a second, then snapped her fingers.
“I have an idea. Dr. Akorful will show up there, rest assured. We will squash this nonsense once and for all!”
Kobby looked at her with a quizzical expression on his face.
“Are you sure, Joy? Mepa wo kyew, mentwa boys mma no o!” *
“Oh Kobby, don’t you trust me? I’ll tell you exactly what we will do in order to be done with this annoying woman once and for all.”
She was now smiling. Anyone else would probably see it as a beautiful smile and nothing more. Only one close enough to her, however, would recognise it as the same one she had whenever she was just about to win in chess. Or when she’d just managed to negotiate a whopper of a contract for her client. And yes, when she was a child and would finally catch a particularly agile fowl from the backyard coop for Mama during Christmas.
7:45pm. Sapphire Rose Hotel, Crescent Row
Mrs Charlene Oteng was giddy with expectation. She’d been dreaming of this night for ages now.
In fact, since she’d first found out Kobby Akorful was the doctor responsible for the adjoining consulting room to the one her own physician used, she’d felt a growing need to meet him and maybe even start up something new. The fact that he was married really was just a minor annoyance. It wasn’t as if she wanted to marry him now – sure her own husband might be absent most of the time and be quite a bit less interested in sexual intimacy than most other men, but his bank account at her disposal made a robust effort in making up for his shortcomings. She wasn’t leaving Francis, but sometimes Mama had to have her world rocked by expert hands.
Besides, everyone knew that all men cheated, so why not with her? It wasn’t as if she needed his money or baby or something. She just wanted to feel a little bit of how he made her feel years ago. No one would be hurt. Seriously. That is, as long as he could be mature about the whole matter and take care of his end of the deal.
She stretched out languidly on the queen-sized bed. The silken sheets felt absolutely heavenly against her skin. She’d left the office much earlier than usual – she was Mr. Oteng’s wife, who could complain much anyway? – and arrived at the hotel at about a quarter to 7:00pm. She’d had the air conditioning on full blast – the weather had been so hot lately – for a while as she took a light nap before heading into the shower in preparation for Kobby’s arrival. It was almost 8:00pm now and she’d slipped into a flirty burgundy thing – garters, corset and accompanying coat all – in anticipation of him.
She was so certain he would come now because, though he’d changed quite a bit since they’d previously parted ways, she knew deep down he was still the same Kobby whom she could always wrap around her little finger. Balance hot sultry words with an errant joke here or there, then throw in a little vulnerability with a dash of mystery and he would come eventually.
Besides, he wouldn’t want any unfortunate rumours filtering back to his sweet wife, Joy. Who walked around with such a simple name nowadays anyway? She’d googled her name a few times and followed her carefully curated Facebook profile for a while and, though she had to grudgingly admit to herself that the woman was pretty somewhat, she really didn’t give a shoot about her in the least. She can have her husband, I’m only interested in his lips, his hands, his chest and his-
Ding! Ding! Ding! The telephone on the bedside rang, interrupting her reverie.
“Excuse me madam, there’s a Dr. Akorful here for you. Should I send her up?”
Charlene rolled her eyes. One would have thought a classy hotel such as this would insist on having front desk staff that could at least use the proper terms when referring to people.
“Yes, send him up!” She made sure to place special emphasis on the pronoun before replacing the handset in its cradle. Let no one say I haven’t played any part in educating other people. She smirked to herself at that.
She heard a tap on the door and in a second was on her way to open it after readjusting her ‘wares’ for the best viewing. The Doctor is in the house, and I’m open for business! She could almost purr with anticipation as she threw open the door with a smile.
“Step right in, Baby bo–”
She choked on her words when she saw Mrs. Joy Akorful standing in the doorway, a cool smile on her face.
“Why, thank you Charlene! May I call you Charlene?” Joy breezed by her into the room as she spluttered in shock.
That idiot, Kobby! What sort of game was this? The shock rapidly gave way to anger spurred on by shame. She could have stabbed him right then, were he present. She, however, managed some modicum of outward control in the few seconds it took to shut the door and square her shoulders before turning to follow the other woman into the bedroom.
Joy was much more impressive-looking in person, sitting in one of the ornate armchairs facing the main door to the suite. The smile hadn’t left her lips.
“What do you want? Why are you here?”
“Oh, no water even first? Ah, okay. I just came bearing a message from my husband. He’s quite busy this evening so he won’t be able to make it here tonight. I thought it would be a shame that after putting so much effort into planning such a romantic getaway he would break off this engagement any way but in person, so I asked to be the one to deliver that message on his behalf.”
“Mtsewwww! Is that all? I would honestly have preferred the message to this unwelcome visit!” The hiss that Charlene let out was impressive in its venom alone, but Joy was not fazed. It felt good to finally have the threat to her marital safety in front of her. That sort of battle she could wage.
“Oh, it’s not just that. I bent the actual truth a little bit. You see, Kobby thought that I wanted to confront you out of spite or due to some streak of violent tendencies he might not know about – due to which I had to make certain binding promises before he allowed me to go through with the part of my plan he was privy to.”
She uncrossed her legs and leaned forward now, noting a flinch Charlene tried to supress too late with no small satisfaction.
“Don’t worry though, that’s the furthest thing from my mind…at this moment anyway. I came to see you myself so I could get this thing across, woman-to-woman. Men don’t really understand how we think, no matter how much they think they do. Like for instance, I know if I’d let him call things off with you – block your messages, calls, etc – he would be done with you for sure, but your type of woman would not be done with him. That, is my reason for coming here.”
“So what? You’re going to shake me now? What’s your deal anyway? You have the man for life. What’s wrong with a little sharing once in a while?” She had the audacity to give a little conspiratorial wink here and it made Joy snap!
“Oh really?! You think this is a joke? A jackal walks into my bedroom and you think I’ll let my property go without a fight? You must be –” She caught herself and took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment to gather herself.
Charlene was almost smiling now, sure the tables had turned somewhat.
“I promised myself that I wouldn’t sink into the gutter with you, and I plan to keep that promise. Charlene, I just came to tell you in person that I won’t have you in my house any more than you have managed to worm yourself into it. He doesn’t need your voice notes – he’s got me to whisper sweet words into his ears all day and night long. He doesn’t need your lewd jokes – we laugh over the funniest clean things and even cry sometimes. And he sure as hell doesn’t need those pictures of you in various degrees on undress to look at – he’s got a bombshell of a wife in the flesh who is sanctioned and sanctified to turn him on at any time of the day. Back it up, madam!”
The smile slipped off Charlene’s face again.
“Oh please! Spare me the theatrics. You have no power or say over whatever is between Kobby and I!”
“Oh, but I do. I am Mrs Akorful. Kobby is my husband. I don’t think you were in the crowd that day so let me do you a favour and give you a brief gist of the essence of what they Reverend preached on our wedding day. When a man and a woman get married, the woman doesn’t just become the man’s, but he also becomes hers. The silent implication is that as a husband or wife, you don’t belong to yourself alone – you are also ‘owned’’ by your spouse. This means that as a spouse, you have the right to lay claim to certain (if not all) aspects of your wife or husband’s life. In light of this, I will not permit you to have any dealings with my husband any longer. You may think you are tough, but you’ll only be fighting with me over a good time that you just want and don’t even really need. I want you to know that I will be waging war for my happiness, my peace, and my love. I will fight you on every front I find you. I will fight you mentally, socially, emotionally and spiritually. I will pray every single prayer I can to my God in heaven to fight you for me every day you continue to chase my man. I will not attack you physically, or even get any of my very well-built cousins to do so on my behalf, but I can assure you that chasing after Dr. Kobby Akorful will be the beginning of the Headache of your life –and you can take that promise to the bank!”
The words had spilled out one after the other and even she was honestly surprised with every sentence that came out of her mouth.
Charlene was dumbstruck. She’d sank down unto the bed at the end of Joy’s tirade, beaten. What was supposed to have been nothing more than a short tryst had turned out to be much more than she’d bargained for. Sure she’d wanted someone to spice up her life, but this was beginning to seem like an unsolicited for beatdown instead. The shame she’d been trying to use bravado to hide from came crashing down on her now and she could barely even lift her head to look at the woman across the room.
Joy felt a strange emotion just then towards Charlene, watching her sitting on the bed – pity. May I never forget to value my husband so I sink to these depths, she silently prayed as she got up from the armchair.
“I hope to never see or hear from you again, Mrs. Oteng – where ‘I’ here refers to my husband and I, of course. I will, however, pray for you from time to time so you find Christ someday and He fills the hole you’ve got inside of you that’s making you act up. Goodnight.”
Not bothering to wait for a reply, she drew her jacket around her and walked out of the room with barely a glance in the other woman’s direction.
8:16pm. Crescent Row
A minute later, she slipped into the Kia Sorento’s passenger seat beside her husband in the parking lot.
“I was starting to get worried and nearly got out to check up on you after the first 5 minutes. I figured things weren’t so bad, though, if I still hadn’t heard any glass breaking from the 2nd Floor. Seriously though, are you okay Joy?”
She was quiet for a bit before turning to him.
“Do you know how much I love you, Kobby?”
He smiled wryly at that.
“I’m learning more and more each day, Abena.”
“I just stood up to one of my biggest fears up there for you, and managed not to go all Commando on her behind while doing it. You owe me, big time.”
“I agree Mrs. Akorful, I owe you big time. And I promise again never to keep anything like this from you. I’ve well and truly learnt my lesson.”
“Mmhmm,” she smirked with a little smile as he put the car into gear, turning into the road out of Crescent Row.
The car was silent for a while before Kobby spoke again.
“Just one thing, Joy. You said you wanted to confront her yourself to tell her to back off. What actually did you tell her though??”
The mischievous smile he’d fallen in love with was back on her face at last.
“Oh, nothing much o. I just told her to back off, shared a sermon with her, and even managed to do some evangelism at the end of the day! In fact, I’m sure Reverend Asaph would be pleased with how I’ve managed to conduct myself today!”
He opened his mouth to probe further, but then clamped it shut. If he knew his wife at all, she would tell him only what she felt he needed to hear at first, and then the rest might come out in her own sweet time. Trying to draw it out of her otherwise would be harder than pulling a train with a bicycle…uphill…in a rainstorm!
He, however, was glad that they could finally put this whole sordid matter behind them as they drove off…
Ewuradze agye steer no ampa!
*Mepa wo kyew, mentwa boys mma no o – ‘Please, don’t arrange for strong men to beat her up’
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