The fact that he even agreed to see a marriage counselor took her by surprise. And true to his word, every Saturday evening, they went for their one hour session, where they painfully got to know each other again.
Somehow, it was fine the way everything worked out. It would have been heart wrenching if she had seen Tony but thankfully he relocated to South Africa with Sesan. She never got any correspondence from him. No phone calls, no emails, nothing. She found it strange at first, but realized the clean break was better for everyone.
“Hey babe, are you done with the shower?” Tonye opened on the bathroom door. “Not yet, still trying to get this facial mask of my face, it feels gross.” She felt his gaze sweeping across her body, glistening with soap. He asked– “shall I join you?”
“No no,” she responded, “we do not have time, why don’t you clean the car a little? You know the driver is not coming today.” "OK babe", Tonye said, closing the bathroom door behind him.
Bibi returned back to peeling off the irritating facemask, thinking how great it was to have the caring Tonye back. The mask didn't appear to work, so she decided to exfoliate her face as well. She dashed out of the bathroom all dripping wet and naked, thanking heavens that the kids were with the grandparents for the summer holidays.
She got the cream and started the slippery journey back to her bathroom, when she overheard Tony laughing. He was on the phone, and she could hear bits of the conversation. “I told you not to doubt me. It worked just as we planned. Tony dey craze. Hope no wahala, else I will resend the reminders.…. …. Miss you too shadow. Please visit soon, …... his voice lowered and she could not hear him……don’t worry, I can handle Bibi, she's pretty but not that smart"..
Bibi didn’t wait to hear more. She walked back to the bathroom, and finished her shower. Her mind went on overdrive – “who was Tonye talking with?”
She dressed quickly and went into the study. She saw his computer on the desk, and felt it was a good place to start. As she reached towards it, her hand froze in mid-air - Tonye was coming up the stairs. She braced herself for a possible confrontation, but as luck would have it, he went straight to the bedroom, picked up his wallet and ran down the stairs “babe, let me go buy fuel down the road while you get ready”. She waited until she heard the car back up the drive way and drive out through the gate.
She went back to the desk and the computer. She tried to guess Tonye’s password to log in. She tried different variations of her name and that of the kids. No luck. In frustration, she typed SHADOW, and to her surprise, she was in. Google opened up, and she noticed he was logged in. She quickly opened his gmail account and scanned through all the emails. Nothing suspicious there, until she searched for Shadow and got a hit. No, two hits. Make that a LOT of hits!
It was all in the folder called ‘Backup”. And as Bibi opened each email, her heart sank further into the ground. Her suspicions were confirmed. Shadow was female, and she was more than just a friend to Tonye. She was having an affair with him. And it had been going on for over a year.
She continued reading the emails and she saw additional confirmation of their affair. Dates, locations where they met, trips they had taken out of town together. With each month, their emails became more lewd and brazen . She felt herself recoil once again. Here she was, trying to fix her marriage, and now, another setback, another blow.
Bibi held back her tears. After Tony, she swore no man will ever make her cry. However, with each email, she was close to breaking that vow. But she wasn't prepared for what she saw next.
One of the emails was filled with pictures of a couple, making out in different locations. She squinted closely to see if she could identify Shadow. To her shock, she was staring at pictures of herself and Tony. At the beach where he held her waist and kissed her hair. At the hospital entrance, where he hugged her after painful injections. At the movies, where they felt secure to steal a kiss as the room darkened. Some she couldn't even remember. The last picture was taken at her gate, the night Tony dropped her off and they kissed passionately.
The email had a one liner: Now U hav all u need 2 Blackmail d punk. S.
And Tonye’s response: Thx S. will do that tonite. T
Her mind struggled to grasp it all. Tonye knew about her affair, even before she told him. All thanks to this 'so called' Shadow. Tonye went over to the house to confront Tony. But then, what happened that night? She searched for more clues and saw the latest email from Tonye to Shadow: the punk Tony doesn't stop. Don’t worry, I trash the emails before it gets to her.
Tony had been trying to reach her! She feverishly typed 'Tony' in the TRASH folder, and there she found some more answers. Tony had been sending her emails, but it went directly to Tonye. She didn't have the time to think how that was possible, she just wanted to read Tony’s first email, the one with the subject title ‘I chose You”
I know you think the worst of me right now. I promised I would never hurt you again. And this is what I am trying to do. Tonye showed up at the house just after you called me. He asked me to choose between your love and our friendship. I told him I chose you.
Bibs, I was going to propose to you that night. Heck, I had the ring. I showed it to Tonye to show how serious I was. He got so mad, and threatened to destroy us. I thought he was bluffing, but he had evidence of our affair. He had been spying on us. I think he even bugged my house. Remember that afternoon, when we undressed in front of the TV and watched Bones? Remember what we were doing? He had pictures. And videos. He was going to post it on the internet, and sell it to gossip sites.
I didn't want you to go through that shame and embarrassment. So I asked what he wanted. It was simple, he wanted me to disappear, vanish, take the South African job offer I had been toying with. I don’t even know how he knew about South Africa. I guess I was still in shock when Sesan walked in. but the bigger shock was when Tonye added a clause – he would destroy all the pictures and videos if I got married to her.
Guess you know the rest. I am in a sham marriage. Sesan knows. Its all in the pre-nup which I had to sign. I will for sure lose a significant part of my assets when I divorce her, but I do not care. I did it to protect you, to protect us. And I would do it again. If only to get those two shadowy characters off my back.
Bibi stopped reading. She felt something click in her brain. Sesan knows. Shadowy character. She re-read that paragraph again. And the pieces fell into place.
Sesan knows. Because Sesan is Shadow. Sesan, the quiet unassuming lady who she sometimes felt sorry for was not only sleeping with her husband, but was also the one spying on her and Tony. She must have rigged Tony's house with some hidden cameras or something. Afterall, she was always in and out of his house, on some pretext about work.
It all made sense now. Bibi clasped her hand over her mouth as another wave hit her. It was Sesan on the phone with Tonye earlier, gloating over her success in ruining her relationship with Tony. And to think she was shamelessly planning another another tryst with Tonye.
Sesan was the shadow. Always in the background, pulling all the strings. Tonye was the mastermind. Executing the plan.
Sesan and Tonye.
That Bitch. That Bastard.
It was time to take back her life from them. And she knew exactly what she had to do.
She picked up the phone and made three calls.
First to her parents, asking that they keep the kids for another month until school resumes.
Second to the HP Computer center. She had a virus in her computer and needed to replace the hard drive.
And lastly, to her travel agent. To book a ticket to South Africa.
Just then, she heard Tonye returning. She shut down the computer, straightened her dress, and walked out to meet him. And for the first time in a long time. She smiled.