“Hello? Hello? Emeka, are you still there?” Chris asked.Emeka did not answer. He could not have answered if he wanted to. He was stunned into a stupified silence by the revelation that had just been laid at his feet. He silently allowed the phone to slip from his fingers as his ailing mind tried to understand the implications of what he had just been told.Emeka stared at the wall for a long time. He traced the corners where the ceiling met the wall, trying to distract his mind from the situation that he would have to face in just a few minutes.What will I tell him. What excuse can I give? I wonder if he will try and kill me, I know I would if I was him. Will it be right to even defend myself? Is there a way for me to make this right? Will my apology mean anything? Does it matter that I did not want this to happen?
All of these thoughts ran through the man’s head and threatened to drive him mad before Johnathan even arrived.“Honey, what’s wrong, what are you staring at?” Hadija, who had managed to creep up next to him, asked as she wrapped her arms around his neck and sat down in his lap.As his eyes focused, he could see the concern etched in her face. She could tell that something was very wrong but had no Idea what to do about it.“Baby, talk to me.” She pleaded as Emeka fixed a vacant stare on her but did not seem to hear or understand what she was saying.“Send the children to bed, I do not want them to see what is about to happen.” He finally answered in a voice that scared her even more.“What is it Emeka?” She asked again, her voice bordering on hysteria. As he looked at her again, she jumped off his lap and rushed to obey him.“James and Michael, let’s go upstairs. Mommy and Daddy need to do something.” She said as she picked up Phoebe and trooped upstairs without giving them time to argue.Michael looked like he wanted to protest but one glance in his father’s direction made him change his mind and rush to follow his mother while clutching his younger brother by the arm.“Mike, leave me…” James began but also stopped when he followed Micheal’s stare that was fixed in the direction of his father.After his family had gone upstairs, Emeka rose from his seat and walked to the parlor that they had recently vacated. He knew this would be the last tranquil moment in a long time and he intended to savor it for as long as possible.He sat on his large sofa and looked at his family pictures. The most recent one with him, Hadija, Michael, James, and Phoebe all dressed in white was the one that kept on drawing his eye.As his mind wandered through the recent past, he remembered exactly when he must have gotten the devil in a red dress pregnant. It was the night he fucked Cassie at the Eko Atlantic City construction site.“Dammit Emeka, I need an answer for your….” Hadija stormed as she flew down the stairs but was cut off by the sound of banging at the door. “Emeka, who is that? Is it the person you’re expecting?”“Chukwuemeka Jones, you have due pay!” Jonathan roared through the door.The rage he was emitting threatened to knock down the door if someone didn’t answer it soon.Emeka slowly walked to the door, his leaden feet were unable to carry him any faster than a crawl. He slowly turned the key in the lock, but before he could use his failing strength to open it, the door burst open and John rushed in.“John…” It was all Emeka could manage before he was knocked off his feet by a mighty blow from John.As Emeka tried to roll over and rise, John pounced on him and began to reign down blows backed by righteous fury. As he attacked he vented his rage.“You…were…supposed…to…look…out..for…me…”“Jonathan, have you gone mad? Get off of him!” Hadija shrieked as she jumped on the large man’s back.He slapped her away without a second glance and left her sprawled on the ground, gasping for air.The sight of his wife in pain galvanized Emeka and he called on an inner reserve of strength to fight back the onslaught, to fight off the intruder that had turned his sanctuary into a warzone.Emeka grabbed one of Jonathan’s fists in mid swing and drew him forward, causing the infuriated man to over balance and fall over.Emeka took his chance and sprang to his feet while grabbing one of John’s legs in one fluid motion. He dragged him over the threshold of the house and through him interlocking tiles that decorated the ground of his compound.Emeka did not press the attack, but squared up for battle and patiently waited for his erstwhile friend to regain his composure.“John, even though I am in the wrong, I will not allow you to come into my home and hurt my family. Another place or another day you could have had your way with me, but not here and not now.”“GRRR.” The other man spat as he charged at Emeka with his fists raised high, ready to pummel his adversary into the ground.Emeka knew that John was not using his senses to fight so he waited until he came close enough and sidestepped while at the same time pushing John just enough to overbalance him. It worked, sending John into the delicate plants that lined the walls of Emeka’s magnificent house.John quickly sprang up and charged again but he was ready for Emeka to side step this time so he came in slower this time. Emeka was also ready and instead of side stepping the charging the man, he ducked when John was right on top of him. In the same fluid motion, Emeka grabbed one of John’s hands and heaved him over his shoulder while rising.The effect was to send John sprawling on his back, breathless and quiet.“John, please, we can’t keep this up, one of us will get seriously injured.”“I want you… to be seriously….injured.” John replied as he rolled to his knees and struggled to catch his breath.Even though the fire was still in his eyes, he made no move to rise from his knees and attack Emeka again.“How long Emeka?”“John, I…..”“I said how long dammit!”“Just over a year but never while you all were married.” Emeka replied, cowed by the vehemence transmitted by John’s voice.“Oh, only while she was my girlfriend. So that is the reason you didn’t want me to marry her? You are a coward; instead of just telling me the truth and facing the consequences then, you kept silent and now look what has happened.”“Johnathan, none of this was part of the plan.”“It wasn’t part of the plan to fuck my wife and have a baby with her right? What was the plan? To just fuck her and get away scot free right? Damn you and your selfishness Emeka. I spit on the day we ever became friends.”“John, wait, there has to be something we can do to fix this, I don’t want to lose you, my closest friend.”“I spit on your friendship Emeka, what kind of friend would get his friend’s wife pregnant?”“Emeka, what is he saying, is it true? Emeka, answer me.” Hadija shrieked but Emeka was well beyond having the strength to face her and Johnathan simultaneously.“Emeka, what about the time I gave you money to complete your school fees? Emeka, what about the time I protected you when your cult members wanted to kill you? Emeka, what about the time I paid for Michael’s hospital bills when you couldn’t afford them? Emeka, what about all the times I took care of you in times of need and never thought twice about it, never asked you to repay me because it is what friendship is all about? Does it mean nothing to you? Is a piece of pussy worth more than everything we have done together?”Emeka could only hang his head in shame. How could he answer the righteous outpouring from John? The outpouring of a man who had been cut deepest by the person who was closest to him. The person who was supposed to protect him and watch over him.When Emeka refused to answer, John continued “Emeka, today you have died to me, if I ever see you again I will use my bare hands to tear your heart out of your chest.”John, with all his pride, power, and prestige rose to his feet like a wounded animal and dragged himself out of Emeka’s compound; determined to kill him if he ever saw him again.Emeka was exhausted, all he wanted to do was lay down and sleep. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to wake up from his sleep and face the true consequences of his actions.Unfortunately for him, Hadija was just waiting for her turn.“Damn you Emeka.”