That Line Between Love & Lust
side being the most dedicated staff of a multinational Oil Company in Nigeria, Michael was also the best husband in the whole world as long as Rita was concerned. His combination of affection and dedication to both work and marriage had become such an impeccable feat that she was overwhelmed in Nuptial bliss.
Subsequently, Michael was promoted to preside over the Marketing Subdivision of his company and this affected some things. At a certain point he was mandated to travel out of the country for a six-month professional course without his wife. It was the first of its kind. He’d never been away from his wife that long, but it was something he must do, something that should benefit the family too.
Rita on her own part had to accept the reality but the huge distance created a little hollow… it was going to set their young marriage up to a new path.
Although Michael tried filling the gap with phone calls and social-media communication, Rita was clearly not satisfied with the new state of things. There was no doubt in her affection and marital commitment to her husband though, but she was yet to get used to Michael’s absence.
She dearly missed feeling his warm tender touch, the all-night cuddling and intermittent kisses and whispers of heartfelt love, the early morning husband/wife movements and coitus aftermaths; she also remembered how Michael would always wake up very early just to serve her breakfast — which would of course spawn into some other romantic ceremonies and so on…
In fact, for her husband, every day was his wife’s birthday. One could only imagine the size of her fortune for being married to a man who’s been accustomed to waking by 5am every day to make and serve his wife breakfast in bed— for the past two years they’ve been married. All these absolutely made her assume marriage is a bed of roses and diamond trinkets.
However, she soon realized that Michael was on the line of duty and needed to make a compromising choice which virtually does not favor her completely; but she must learn to live with it nonetheless.
At work, Rita tried coping with the reality on ground and also the fact that she would always return to an echoing fully furnished three bedroom apartment every evening all alone, with no one to share the serenity. She was slow in the business of making friends, but would definitely have to fast-track that trade soon enough.
She battled her condition and was rapidly adjusting to it. Rita would have qualified for the most unsociable of all loners, as she obviously had problems with letting strangers, neighbors, and colleagues into her rigid circle. She programmed her time to suit the present state of things; from home to work, from work back to the house, or from home to the saloon, then to the shopping mall, and back home— during week-ends. She soon got used to her new self and was a little happy, again.
Well, her self-control and contentment was subsequently put to the test as the hot weather was gradually displaced by freezing nights of the heavy rains.
One rainy after-work, she made her way through the garage, and was stunned to notice that one of her front tires had collapsed. She knew there was neither a spare nor any hope, and so there was nothing she could do but either stay-put for the rain to finish and then go find a mechanic, or soar the rain and pick up a taxi. Whichever option she chose, there was going to be distress.
She pranced to and fro the garage contemplatively; watching helplessly as most of her colleagues drove away in the rain, hoping however that somehow, rescue would certainly come… and someone certainly showed up, although the day had almost lost illumination by then.
“Madam, you need help?” began a subtle male voice.
Turning over to reveal the source, Rita replied,
“Sorry, I… I have a flat tire and…”
“Oh, I can see it, sorry about that. It can be so embarrassing at times… how bad is it?” the man asked, bending over to take a look at the tire.
“How about the spares?” He added.
“Uhm... they’re... they're flat as well. I forgot to take them out this morning, I mean…”
She wasn’t sure how best not to tell the Good Samaritan that she was the worst car user in Lagos so as not to discourage him from helping her anymore—she certainly couldn’t say she had not added air to her spare tire since the last time it was removed because of sheer laziness.
“That’s okay, that’s okay, le’me check if I can… oh, and my spares are flat too. But not to worry, let me drive you home, maybe we might yet see a ‘fixer’ along the way”. The nice guy reassured.
This was such a big relief to Rita, that she couldn’t resist showing appreciation.
“Oh, thank you so much Mr.…” She greeted, trying to fix in the man’s name.
“Frankie…” the man quickly supplied.
“Frankie? Wow, frankly speaking Frankie, you’ve just saved a soul. My name is Rita. I work here, with the marketing department”
“Ahm, come off it. It’s nothing really… I was posted newly here from Ikeja. I’m with the Audit Support Services.”
“Oh, Audit? That’s great. Ehm, Thank you very much Frankie, I really appreciate your kindness”.
Rita was happy for two things; first, she had found someone she could at least talk to in the office, and secondly, Frankie had just saved her the embarrassment of having an unpleasant date with the rain. But, the relief was temporal as the cold night would soon return, again.
They drove through the flooded streets amidst the usual rumblings of under-the-rain traffic mobbing, and of course the intermittent thunder bolts. None of the two said a word again, except when some crazy motorists almost kissed Frankie’s bonnet while trying to squeeze his way through the swarming traffic, and Frankie was mad at the driver… “Are you blind? Use your mirrors…!” he had cursed at the desperate driver.
The next time they spoke was when they got to Rita’s residence and it was brief.
“Thank you so much, Frankie” Rita appreciated,
“Don’t mention, it’s nothing. What are friends for? We’re friends aren’t we now?”
He was not wrong anyway, the short term encounter had created room for silent appreciation and acquaintances as Frankie had been exchanging “friendly” glances with Rita at intervals and there were notes of can-we-be-friends? And silent replies of sure-why-not?
Rita briefly wondered away in some compromising thoughts. She’s convinced she was Frankie's 'Spec' judging by the way he lavished those flirty looks at her in the car... he obviously must have stripped her in his imagination. Even if that should be the case, since she had not received any form of external or extended care in a long while due to Michael’s absence, this won’t be termed a wrong-timing at all. She was okay with it; besides Frankie wasn’t bad at all. He’s Light skinned, tall and muscular… just the perfect physic for her Spec too.
She was however mindful of the shiny metal object on her finger and remembered she shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize her nuptial vows no matter how lonely she felt. At this point she snapped out of every compromising thought.
“Yeah, sure we are colleagues and friends too, yeah.” Rita replied, giggling sagaciously.
She stepped out of the car and waved at Frankie as he reversed his wheels.
All through the night, Rita felt so good, amidst the freezing cold and echoes of loneliness. It was as if a bright side of her had been unsheathed. She couldn’t let her mind off the way Frankie flirted with her few moments ago. She knew what could go wrong if the thoughts persist, but she was sure they were just thoughts and would certainly end up as harmless thoughts.
Rita’s acquaintance with Frankie began to grow afterwards from the following day at work. Frankie would buy her lunch during the day and offer to drive her home after work. She soon became so fond of him that his companionship gradually replaced the sweet memories of her loving husband. From a simple harmless 'ride', their meetings grew into multiple launch dates and weekend shopping, subsequently.
Rita was beginning to lose hold of caution and was starting to feel safe with Frankie. On several occasions they had stayed out late and had faced the temptation of spending the night together... but they would out-rightly resist the temptation.
Well, the resistance didn’t last long enough before Frankie made the first move, one fateful day. That evening, they’d returned from work, Frankie opted for a hug, which Rita harmlessly obliged, but while at it, their body chemistry revolted. Frankie held her firmly; his grip was comforting and Rita couldn’t resist the urge to reciprocate… thence, they fell in lust, and also fell in bed.
Rita woke up naked next to Frankie the next day, on her matrimonial bed. She couldn’t remember anything, she was shocked and couldn't recall how, or what circumstances landed them in bed, but her nudity said it all. Frankie on the contrary, seemed at peace and so pleased with his position; it must have been a very satisfying night for him.
“Oh God! What have we done?” Rita exclaimed, cutting lose from Frankie’s hold.
“Come off it… we just had sex” Frankie replied nonchalantly. “And of course, we’re also late for work today. What’s for breakfast?”
Rita was very disappointed having discovered that Frankie felt no remorse at all.
“My God, you’re an animal. You took advantage of me. How could you have done that? How could you?”
Rita couldn’t hold her tears as she subbed remorsefully, but Frankie was already on his feet, gently pulling her into his nude warm frame with his unholy erection strongly shielding the remorse in him and yet unleashing another surge of lustful desire at Rita.
He brought his lips closer; she could not resist. Their eyes jammed and stuck, and Frankie let it out…
“I love you; I have always loved you right from the first day I saw you walking that garage, I fell for your ravishing beauty. You pulled a surge of crazy desire out of me… please just give me some space in your heart, and I promise I’ll keep it warm every day of your life…”
“But I’m married you idiot, oh no... I can’t do this again... Please stop it…” and she was pulling away…
But her resistance was weak; some part of her wished Frankie had never come into the picture, but a greater fraction of her wished he would never have to leave again— and so the greater part of her won.
As days passed, Rita became at ease with her newly found infatuation; she was accustomed to her unholy relationship with Frankie and gradually murdered her conscience.
“Did we use a contraceptive? Did you? Answer me!” but there was no response, rather a nonchalant air pervaded the bedroom as Frankie struggled with his tie, whistling T-Pain’s I’m-In-Love With-a-Stripper.
Few seconds later, Rita looked around as if inspecting the floor; four packets of used condoms, few cigarette butts, her own undies, and a disheveled bedroom answered her questions… this was the third time she woke up in bed with Frankie.
“Damn, Frankie! Have you any idea, that I’m married? How could you?” but there was no response.
“For God’s sake you knew I was high! I was tipsy, and you took me in?”
“Oh come off it, we ran out of condoms. By the way, you started the movement remember? I am only the errand boy here… so don’t be ridiculous.”
Frankie drew closer, Rita made to break away at first, but it wasn’t easy. Not that her bones were weak, neither was it that her flesh revolted; but her sinews had been crushed by a conflicting mixture of guilt and lustful desires, there was confusion, a clash of wits and a collapse of will. So Rita gave in to Frankie’s touch, he held her tight again, and she again lost the fight against besotted emotions… and they did it again, and again, and again until it became fun. They had become so comfortable with their romance that it also became a routine, such that Rita even began making the advances herself.
The month was almost closing up; it was the last of Michael’s six month Emirate professional course. Rita had begun preparations for a big welcome party for her husband, and her heart was beginning to return to a normal rhythm after having been distorted by Frankie’s appearance into her love life. Her feelings for Michael were yet deep and untouched, but she swirled in a storm of regret for having betrayed her nuptial vows with a Drug Addict.
Anyway, Mike wouldn’t know about it unless he was told either by Frankie, herself, or by divine revelation which of course wouldn’t count, considering his state of no-love-lost with God. Certainly Frankie wouldn’t dare blackmailing her? They had a nice time together, which of course was guided by the code: ‘until-my-husband-returns’ and he must stick to that code. Michael would soon return. The time had come; to part ways with Frankie and pretend nothing ever happened between them was here… it was time to call it quits.
The thought of Michael knowing about her ‘dirty secrets’ haunted her blood pressure. Her restored blood pressure soon resumed fluctuation. Nothing, they say, ‘is hidden under the sun’. It was four days to Michael’s return. The couple had spoken a night ago and had expressed deep affection for each other during the conversation.
“Wow, can’t believe I’ll see you soon my love” Rita had whispered, and Michael had replied, “don’t worry honey, for every past single second of the last six months, I’m going to replace with endless hours of love… I swear to make it all up to you, bit by bit honey. Okay?”
And then Rita had replied flirtatiously, “Bring it on baby, you absolutely have no idea what you’re getting into…” and she coughed suddenly as though she was choking.
“Are you alright baby?” Michael had inquired devotedly, and Rita replied,
“Not to worry honey, I’m fine… please excuse me I have…” and she coughed again.
The cough had been persistent for some weeks now even though she’d tried covering it up. It was quite severe and in fact, like a symptom. Maybe she was lovesick or something, since Mike’s return was imminent.
Rita realized she needed seeing her doctor. Michael even confirmed it.
“Come on baby, you got to go see the doctor”
“Oh come on, its’ just flu. I’ll be fine before you return okay? Don’t worry; I’ll make sure you don’t catch it baby”
But Michael insisted she visits their family doctor.
“Okay honey, I will…” she agreed.
“Yeah!” she confirmed.
“That’s ma gurl” he teased, and they both laughed.
For Rita, Michael’s voice was her greatest panacea. The thought of having his presence once again was an elixir to her errant soul. She was beginning to forget her past mistake gradually though, but the naked memories yet stared her in the face. It had become her self-incurred cross, and she had to bear it anyway. ‘It’s only a matter of time, everything would certainly return to normal, like none of these ever happened…’ she’d hoped.
The day was almost half spent when she reached the clinic. Dr. Charles was already expecting her since they’d talked over the receiver earlier in the morning.
“Hey, not looking bad are you?” Dr. Charles greeted.
Six foot three, lanky, and broad faced, with a Pinocchio nose to compliment. He had quite an amazing presence; very jovial and kind to his patients. This had given him an edge over his contemporaries in the city.
“Good morning Doc.” Rita replied
“Is this your nine o’clock? Ah, Africans! I hope we all don’t get to miss heaven because of late coming o” Dr. Charles is hyper religious—he wouldn’t say anything without referencing the Holy Bible
“Sorry doc, I… just… You know…”
“Okay, there she goes again, you know what… never mind dear, how are you? You look pale” he summarized, letting out a handshake, and a mild grin mixed with half pleasantries half concern.
Rita took the handshake, and a seat opposite the doctor who professionally observed her frame.
“You really look pale and… do you have flu?” he queried as he peered into her face, and Rita nodded, trying to suppress a surge of cough.
“How long have you been coughing?”
“Almost a month now, it makes me feel dizzy at times too” she replied.
Doctor Charles tore a card from a booklet and began making some notes; anyone could guess they were medical prescriptions. He drew the receiver and issued out some instructions and few seconds later, a short black nurse appeared beckoning on Rita to come along; the doctor nodded in approval as well as handing over the note he’d compiled some seconds back, and so she followed the short black nurse.
Some hours later Rita was in conference with the doctor once again, but this time, she was like a pupil waiting to receive her end-of-term report-card and the doctor played headmaster, carrying a mini-file that looked like a report-card. All she just longed to hear was, “well madam, it appears you must have hosted a big mosquito party and you have plenty malaria parasites swimming in your blood stream” or better still, “hmm, sorry; the result shows you have typhoid”. However, it appeared the doctor had a different idea altogether.
Initially, it took him several hours to find his voice, but at last, he began,
“Hmm. Your urine culture will be out in four days dear. But I sure do have some major concerns with…” and he paused, probably contemplating on the best strategy to begin with. “When last did you come for check-up? I mean, have you undergone any diagnosis recently?”
This question was beginning to heighten Rita’s anxiety. The doctor’s face read he was not cracking one of his numerous jokes, yet Rita could not give a reply for a very long while, she was just wondering what could have gone wrong considering her most recent adventure with Frankie. Moments later, she found her voice.
“I don’t understand doc, you're frightening me. Am I not okay?”
Dr. Charles slowed down a little bit, then he systematically resumed…
“Well I’m afraid, there seems to be... ” and he passed a paper to her.
“This is incredibly strange. I don’t really comprehend at all. Everything there reads positive,” he added, as Rita slowly opened the envelope.
Rita knew Dr. Charles too well as a very professional man. He was not just a family physician, but an integral member of the nuclear family, who practically had access to most classified information there were to know about her marriage. He was Michael’s best friend, and confessing her sins to her would not be advisable.
“What? How do you mean positive? As in…?” then she scanned through the inscriptions on the paper and then she collapsed.
Rita felt her head ache, she was lying on a hospital bed, and the doctor was standing by her side. The short black nurse was busy with some tablets while the other tall fair one was staring into her face reassuringly. Rita was beginning to recall her last memories and it came haunting her again; the news that soaked her breath and sent her crashing to the floor, the news that tasted like bitter honey. For so many years her marriage had been fruitless, courtesy of Michael’s impotence. Having visited so many therapists but returning with same old results had rubbed her of the hopes of having a child. But now, there it was, deep within the walls of her womb she was going to feel the breath of a fetus. Unfortunately, it has become bad news to her instead. It would have been a reason to celebrate if not for the fact that she couldn’t afford to mention the true father of the fetus. The test result had shown that she was pregnant and she had collapsed upon coming to terms with the news some hours ago.
Michael would be returning the following day, and so she must do something really fast. So many ideas ran through her thoughts; abort the baby? No! That would be suicidal because the fetus was over three months already. What then… Her head was bowed as she stared into space through the paper containing her test results. Suddenly, the paper began experiencing a chemical change; it began soaking and shrinking—it was her tears, she was grieving bitterly.
Definitely that was the pending end of her blissful marriage and she was going to have to either accept living with it, or... “Wait a minute.” She remembered something else.
The doctor had pluralized, “her text results…” meaning the result of some multiple diagnoses. What else apart from being pregnant could have been wrong with her? Well, she managed to look through her wet eyes which had almost blurred the words and figures that were written on the paper—and then she received the biggest blow.
The doctor nodded slowly in confirmation, as she looked at his face doubtfully. This can’t be? How could she possibly have contacted HIV?
The whole nightmarish day was turning into an eternity in hell; Rita was getting fed up of everything generally and she was ready to put an end to it all. She said no further words to anyone as she left the hospital. Dr. Charles tried asking ‘where-to’ but she was taciturn. She walked quietly out of the doctor’s office, and into her car, and drove away from the hospital premises.
As pedestrians, commuters, motorists and trees raced passed her, she reminisced her life from the beginning:
Really she had not led a boring life after all; there were those magic moments when Michael would pull his stunts and put up his chain of surprises.
Growing up as the only child of a wealthy parent made her enjoy every leverage of infant-hood. Being a Daddy’s pet, she had everything at her beck and call until death cut her joy short. But then, Michael stepped into the picture to feel the vacuum left behind by her late father and her mother whom she never met. But now, she had flung everything away...
How could she possibly live through this? How would she bear the shame? Then there was a sudden beam on her face. It was for the better after all. She wouldn't lose on both sides. Yes, Michael might come and meet the news of her dirty secrets, people may spit at her name, but she surely would get the chance to meet her parents again. She was going to end her life.
Rita hurriedly wrote on a brief sheet of paper... smiling ruefully, as she drove towards the second-mainland-bridge.
Yes, her mind was made up, tears couldn’t stop flowing either, she controlled the steering with one hand, and she made her suicidal note with the other. The Note was boldly addressed to Michael.
Suddenly, she pulled over, almost causing dangerous collisions, as several oncoming drivers were forced to apply top skills in order to avoid the looming accidents.
Slowly, she stepped out of the car, and waded towards the edge of the bridge. Her steps were unsteady and hesitant at first, but gradually, they became steadier and more determined.
She made her way closer to the edge of the bridge. Beneath was the huge Atlantic Ocean, all she could hear at that moment was the soothing sound of the sea waves, it soothed her grieving soul, gave her peace, and her spirit craved for eternal baptism of the Atlantic salt water.
Suddenly her phone vibrated in her pocket. Ironically, she brought it out as though to receive her very last call, but it was Doctor Charles, the same man who had brought her the destructive news… and so she quickly ignored the call. It rang again, and yet again, but she rejected them all.
Subsequently, a different ringtone sounded. It was her SMS alert, but she also ignored. Her mind was made up, she was going to end it all, and would gladly dismiss every obstacle, starting with the cell phone… so, she flung the Nokia cell phone away and leaped of the bridge, right into the Ocean...
Someone screamed to alert other observers and within a short while, the suicide scene was crowded.
Soon the police arrived; followed by a team of safety officers, and investigations commenced as they mobbed Rita’s abandoned car.
Suddenly, her second cell-phone rang from within the car, and a police officer received it.
"Hello… may I know who is on the line please?" the officer asked?
And the voice replied;
"I am Dr. Charles, and the owner of this phone is my patient.”
“Okay, hmm… do you know…” but the officer wasn’t allowed to finish…
“Please ask her to call me back, it's urgent... and also tell her to check her other phone, I have sent her a very important message, thank you".
Doctor Frankie was rather too quick with ending the call, so he had no chance of knowing about the present development. He’d probably rushed off to attend to a patient.
Upon dropping the call, the police officer looked around as though searching for something helpful, and good enough, he noticed Rita's other Cell-phone as it had been shattered somewhere around the edge of the bridge.
He went for the phone, coupled it, and then power it back on.
Guessing it might have belonged to the deceased; he decided to access it for contact information.
Simultaneously, a loud voice was heard from within the crowd that was wound around Rita's car.
"Na suicide ooo!" another police officer screamed in Pidgin English.
“Sir, she drop suicide note on for her seat o.”
And the senior officer responded,
“Bring am here!”
And The senior officer read through the suicide note;
“My dearest husband,
I am very sure that I might be long gone by the time you find this.
I want you to know that I am truly sorry for breaking your heart.
I never meant to end it this way.
I would never forget the bliss, the love and the endless care you showered me.
You are the best husband in the world
Please honey, you must find a place in that golden heart of yours,
To forgive me,
Even though I don’t deserve you.
You sure don’t deserve to be treated the way i have done.
Please find a place in your heart to forgive me.
Goodbye my love.
Your cheating housewife”
This bewildered the police officer who couldn’t help his emotions after reading the note.
“Women! Kai!” he hissed, and then continued with the phone he had coupled up moments ago, while the rest of the other officers began ransacking the entire car, hoping to gather more useful information.
As the officer browsed through the phone, he noticed the series of missed calls from the same number just few seconds before the incident. Again, he noticed an unread SMS from the same phone number, and then he curiously opened to read;
“I am truly sorry ma, there was a little mix-up in the lab. The results entered for your diagnoses were misplaced. I do sincerely regret any inconveniences and apologize for every embarrassment it may have caused you. Please do come and retrieve your actual results.
And then the investigations continued. I couldn’t follow up to know how it all ended, but I am sure none of this would have happened in the first place if Rita had not ignored that line between love and lust.
She absolutely knew what she felt for Frankie exactly, but somehow she wanted to make it feel like the right thing. No matter how hard we try, we can only bring chaos upon ourselves each time we try to justify what is wrong.
Somehow I feel sorry for her. Somehow I’d have hoped Michael didn’t have to leave. But only if she had waited a little longer. Only if she had taken a deep breath. Perhaps she would have had a second thought…
I have learnt from her mistakes; once you cross that thin line between love and lust, there is no going back. I do sincerely hope you have learnt that too.
Thank you for reading my book. Hope you learnt something from it? I would appreciate if you find time to leave me a review on my author page. I will be glad to hear from you through any of my contact links bellow. Hook me up let’s share your thoughts, opinions or biographies maybe.