Click to read Episode 1
Ibidun strode into the arrivals expecting to see Silas. He was nowhere to be found. She looked around the empty hall, hoping he’d spring out of a corner. Disappointed, she called his phone. It was switched off.
Where for goodness sake was Silas?
Ibidun stood outside the airport, boiling with anger. The few passengers exited the airport and headed for the car park,
The airport was getting empty. Had Silas backed out of the plan?
A young man in white shirt and crispy trouser asked if she needed a cab. Ibidun ignored him. She blinked back tears as she tapped her phone screen to check the time. It was a few minutes to 10pm. How long was she going to wait for Silas?
The man left and came back. ‘Good evening ma’am.’
Ibidun flared up. ‘I don’t need a cab! Leave me alone.’
The man sighed deeply and thrust his hands into his pockets. ‘How do I put this.’ He started. ‘What I’m about to say may not make sense to you but I’ll say it nevertheless.’
Ibidun studied him. Even in the silhouette, she noticed he had fine features. Since Silas had refused to show up, this man would make her happy.
He hesitated. Ibidun smiled. Was he going to say, ‘The moment I saw you, I knew there was a connection between us.’
She waited, enjoying the attention and the way he fidgeted.
‘Don’t go to his place.’ He started. ‘I mean the person you are waiting to pick you up. There is someone here God has placed for you and right now she is trying to reach you. Her name is Ronke You served in Kebbi together at the National Christian Corpers fellowship secretariat. Call her. She is expecting you.’
He paused and continued. ‘God says He loves you and if you’ll trust Him, he’ll heal your heart.’
Ibidun stared at him, shocked. She recovered quickly. ‘I don’t know what you are talking about. Please leave me alone!’
He apologized and went away. Ibidun wanted to call him back. She wanted to run after him and tell him she knew a lady called Ronke and it was true they served in Kebbi together. She wanted to plead with him to take her to Ronke’s house.
Oh Ronke! She remembered her one-year youth service where she had met the fiery young lady. She’d always admired her zeal for God.
How did that man know about Ronke?
I can’t go to Ronke’s house.
God had failed her. Why should she obey him?
She thought about the Director of Roboss Health Foundation. He was a wealthy man and a staunch atheist.
I don’t need God to be successful.
Tears welled up her eyes. Her heart didn’t believe the thoughts that had crossed her heart. She needed God. She could feel him calling out to her. Panic gripped her heart. If she allowed God in, would he cause more pain for her?
A hand went around her shoulders, a familiar scent hitting her nostrils.
Ibidun’s face hardened. What excuse was he going to give now?
‘Baby, I’m so sorry. I left the office for the airport almost three hours ago but I got a distress call on my way and had to rush back to the office.’ He cupped her face in his hands. ‘I’m sorry. Forgive me please.’ He gazed into her eyes. ‘Baby, please.’
The anger dissipated and when he pulled her close, she melted into his arms. She was glad she had not listened to the stranger. She wanted to be with Silas.
Her heart pumped with excitement as he took her bag and led her to the carpark.
‘Welcome to Abuja.’ He said, opening his black lexus jeep and dumping Ibidun’s backpack on the back seat.
Ibidun couldn’t stay still. She stared out the window as Silas took her around the metropolis. The city was alive with lights. The car sped through malls, sky scrapers and weaved through busy streets. Silas passed two paper bags. One contained ice-cream and the other spicy chicken wings
‘Where are we heading to?’ Ibidun asked as she scooped ice-cream to her mouth.
‘Kubwa.’ He touched her hand. ‘You look better already.’
Ibidun grinned, anxious to begin her new life. She turned to Silas. ‘Thank you.’
Silas’ apartment was a simple two-bedroom flat. Ibidun felt relaxed. She opened the fridge and laughed at the packs of food and junks.
‘Do you cook at all?’ She said when Silas came out of the guest room.
He smiled. ‘I make indomie once in a while.’
Ibidun closed the refrigerator and went to the sofa. He sat beside her and held her hands.
‘Will it be okay if you stay here until we get an apartment for you. I know it looks like we are cohabiting, but it’s just for a while. I’m working on getting a place for you.’
Without thinking, she kissed him. ‘Thank you for everything.’
Silas stared at her, surprised. She’d made it clear she had boundaries. No kissing until her wedding night.
‘I vowed to God to stay sexually pure until I get married.’ She’d said, few weeks after they met.
Was she backing down on her vows?
He swallowed hard. Ibidun had roused wild sensation inside him. He waited for her to make another move, Instead, she pinched his side playfully and rose.
‘I need a shower.’ She pointed to a door across the living room. ‘That’s the guest room?’
Silas nodded and let out a deep sigh. ‘I’ll microwave the rice.’
He watched as she left for the guest room. He tried to kick the sensual images flooding his mind. He wanted her, badly.
I have to take things slowly. I can’t lose her so quickly.
Half an hour later, Ibidun came into the living room, feeling refreshed and clean. In the dining room, Silas had served jollof rice and gizzard. She wondered where he was.
‘Silas.’ She called out.
When he did not answer, she knocked on his door. ‘Silas.’
‘Ibidun, we’ll see in the morning. You are driving me crazy already. The food is on the table. You can get water from the dispenser.’
‘Silas.’ Ibidun said softly. ‘Please open the door.’
‘Ibidun, I’m begging you, don’t make me come out. I’m not sure I’ll be strong enough to keep to keep my hands off you.’
What was there to lose? Ibidun thought. She’d vowed to keep her virginity till marriage but did it matter now? She wanted God to be proud of her. She wanted him to be impressed with her commitments. She’d served diligently in the church. She’d stayed chaste for him. Still he had disappointed her.
If he killed her after this, she didn’t care. Silas had been there for her and she wanted to show him she truly loved him.
‘Silas, please. I need you right now.’
Silas opened the door slightly. His face was filled with lust. Ibidun pushed the door open and stepped in. She slammed the door and went into his arms.
Ibidun woke up, feeling empty. She’d thought getting into bed with Silas would lift her sour mood, but she’d felt worse. Would Silas respect her after what happened last night?
God says He loves you and if you’ll trust Him, He’ll heal your heart.
The man at the airport had said those words to her. God must hate her now. She had broken the greatest of his commandments. She was doomed for destruction.
Her eyes ran through the contact list on her phone and stopped at Ronke’s contact. Tears gathered in her eyes and she tucked the phone back under the pillow. Calling Ronke was a waste of time. She was worthless before God now and He despised her.
Silas came in with a tray of toasted bread and coffee. ‘Breakfast is ready.’
Ibidun didn’t look at him. ‘I’m not hungry.’
He pushed the tray aside and lay beside her. He reached for her hand. ‘Why are you angry with me? Yesterday, I didn’t want it to happen but you insisted.’
‘I’m not angry with you.’ Ibidun forced a smile. ‘I’m sorry I’m acting cold. I’ll get over it.’
He kissed her shoulder. ‘I don’t want to ever hurt you Ibidun. When you are not happy, I’m not happy. I love you.’
Ibidun believed him. Silas had tried to stay away from her. She had pushed him and given herself cheaply to him. It was not a mistake. She knew what she wanted when she knocked on his door last night. This was entirely her fault. If she had eaten dinner and gone straight to bed, she wouldn’t have felt this void that tore at her heart.
Ibidun searched his gaze. ‘Do you still love me?’
Silas chuckled. ‘I love you more now. I know how difficult it was for you to lay down a treasure you’ve held for years. You allowed me in and I’m grateful. Ibidun, don’t ever think you acted cheap. It was a bold move and I’m honoured.’
Ibidun felt better. ‘I want to stay in bed today. Can I transfer movies from your phone to my laptop?’
‘Sure.’ He climbed out of bed as he unlocked his phone. ‘I should get dressed for work. I have a meeting with a client at 10.’
Ibidun knew exactly where the movies were but she couldn’t explain why her hands swiped to his picture app.
Her heart fainted.
There were pictures of naked women and porn videos splattered around the app. Ibidun had never noticed anything like this before. When Silas visited her in Ibadan, she’d played with his phone, swiping through pictures and videos. She’d never seen anything like this.
The bathroom door creaked. Ibidun closed the app quickly and connected her USB cord Silas’s phone.
Silas dressed quickly and placed a tablet on the bed. Ibidun looked from the tablet to Silas.
‘What’s this?’ Ibidun asked.
‘You can’t get pregnant now. It’ll stop that from happening. I forgot I had exhausted the condoms in the house.’
Silas kept condoms?
Angry, she pressed. ‘You have sex with other women?’
He laughed. ‘I told you already that I had sex when I was still with my ex. Why is your blood hot. You are my baby.’ He looked at the pill. ‘You should take that pill now.’
He watched her swallow the pill before reaching for his laptop bag. He counted crispy one thousand naira note and gave them to her. ‘If you need anything, there is a supermarket down the street.’
When he left, she allowed the tears pour down her face. Silas didn’t hug her or say he’d miss her. Did he really love her? Why would he have pictures of naked women on his phone? Had she made a mistake by giving her body to him?
She wiped the tears and stared blankly into space. The emptiness returned.
‘Brother Philip, you have been posted to the sanctuary department.’ The coordinator of the workers-in-training class said to Philip. The smile disappeared from Philip’s face.
Sanctuary? Why would he be posted to a department like that? He was born to sing.
The coordinator continued. ‘Report to Brother Tosin immediately.’
Philip tried to control his anger. ‘If I may ask, what are their roles and responsibilities?’
‘They take care of the church. They ensure the hall is cleaned and ready for service. When you get into the restroom and it’s sparkling clean, that’s the sanctuary team at work. Brother Tosin will give you more details.’
‘One more question sir. Please who assigns new workers to different departments?’
‘Pastor Mayowa.’ The coordinator responded.
Something must be wrong somewhere, Philip concluded.
How long had he been waiting to complete the workers class so he could join the choir? Many times, he had been unable to stay still while the choir ministered. He saw himself holding the microphone and mesmerizing the audience. He knew what his voice could do to people. Last week when some of the new workers were called for voice training, he’d thought his name had not been mentioned because the music director knew he could sing
There had to be a mix-up somewhere. He went straight to the music director.
‘Does the Pastor know I am a music minister?’
The music director hesitated before speaking. ‘What department were you posted to?’
‘Sanctuary!’ Philip responded, fuming. ‘How can I clean chairs and wash toilets when I can use the gift God has given me to propagate his work? It does not make sense. I am called to sing. That’s my ministry. Do you know how many times I’ve seen myself standing on that altar, ministering as people fell under the power of God? I think Pastor Mayowa has been misinformed.’
‘He knows you are talented at this.’ The music director said. ‘I have shown him the video of our youth camp meeting where you played the guitar and blessed us with that powerful song you composed.’
Philip stared at him, puzzled. ‘Why is he doing this?’
The music director touched his shoulder. ‘Serve faithfully in the sanctuary department. You might one day be asked to join the choir.’
Philip walked away. He had to see Pastor Mayowa. If the man had a grievance against him, he’d better come out straight with it.
‘Did I do something to you? Why will you post me to sanctuary when you know God has called me to the music ministry. If there is anything I have done, let me know sir. With due respect, you are going against God’s will. I know what I saw in prayers and sanctuary was never part of it.’
The Pastor kept his gaze fixed on him. ‘Report to Bro Tosin and serve in the sanctuary department.’
Philip stormed out of the church amidst surprised glances. He would pull down every obstacle that stood against his ministry. Not even Pastor Mayowa could stop him. If the church did not recognize the gift of God upon his life, then they were at a loss. He knew what God wanted him to do and he’d fulfil his purpose elsewhere
Seun’s gaze moved down over Philip and stopped at his boxers. ‘Do you know what the time is? You are in the sanctuary department Philip. The last time I checked, your team members meet at 6.30am to tidy up the church.’
Philip folded his hands defiantly. He had made up his mind. He would never return to that church again. It was time to find a place where the anointing of God on his life would be recognized.
‘My former Pastor called. He wants to see me.’ Philip lied. He had not spoken to the man since the accident. Philip had a plan. He’ll plead with the Pastor to get him back in the choir. He’d return to his position as the choirmaster.
Seun shrugged. ‘Alright.’
Two hours later, Philip entered the church and immediately felt restless. He sat at the back, listening to the worship leader who struggled to pitch a high tone. He smiled. This was the perfect place to use his talent. With him on stage, there’d never be a boring moment. He imagined the shouts from the audience the moment he opened his mouth.
At the end of the service, he went to the Pastor’s office. The pot-bellied man in a white shirt and grey trouser glanced at Philip in disgust.
‘What are you looking for here? You think you can just come in and go out anyhow you like?’
Philip stiffened. The Pastor had no right to talk to him like that. Did anyone from the church know that he had been hospitalized? Did they even care about his welfare?
The Pastor was not done. ‘I heard of all the terrible things you’ve been doing. You stupid drunkard. You embarrassed my church. My own choirmaster was found in a gutter. Don’t you have a plan for your life? You are an unprofitable servant and we don’t need your kind in my church. Please leave.’
For some seconds, Philip froze, shocked beyond words.
‘You heard me. Leave my church. You had better repent or else you will end up in the hottest part of hell. Go!’
Philip was upset. Why were Pastors jealous of the gift he carried? First it was Pastor Mayowa and now his former church was also rejecting him. He was done having anything to do with a church. He would show them he could succeed without their help.
Nothing can shut down the anointing over my life, he boasted. He would press through and he’d succeed.
Ibidun pulled two bags from the back seat of the Uber ride and dragged herself into the house.
She froze at the entrance. ‘What’s going on here?’
A pair of red heel shoes and a yellow blazer were scattered around the Centre table. A braided wig hung careless on the arm of the sofa. Beside it was a blue handbag. Ibidun picked up one of the shoes and looked around the living room.
She heard voices from Silas’ bedroom. As she moved closer, the door opened. A tall light-skinned lady came out of the room, followed by Silas in his boxers.
‘Hi.’ The lady said, smiling.
Ibidun stared at her, shocked. She waited for the woman to leave before facing Silas.
‘Hey babe, you are back.’ Silas said, touching her cheeks. She slapped his hand away. It was the way he was relaxed about it that got to her.
Tears stung Ibidun’s eyes. ‘What was that Silas?’
Silas thrust his hands into his pocket. ‘It was not planned. One of my clients sent her to get a proposal and she lured me into bed.’ He paused. ‘Stop looking at me that way. It’s not my fault.’
‘Don’t you know there is something called self-control? Apparently, you don’t respect me. Yes! You flirt with all these girls and you expect me to just sit and pretend not to be hurt?’
How many times had she picked calls from different ladies? What about the long calls he made with that Jennifer lady almost every day.
He stood in front of her and kissed her. ‘Don’t get yourself worked up, Ibidun. Those girls are not like you. You are special and different. If you keep going like this, you will give yourself unnecessary headache. You are my babe,’ He kissed her again.
A tear dropped down her face as she responded to his kiss. Why did he always drive her crazy? She wanted him now more than ever. Was she not supposed to be angry?
When Silas pulled her to the bedroom, she didn’t resist. She hated herself but she couldn’t help it.
It’s his weakness, Ibidun concluded. We all have our weaknesses, don’t we?
This was her fault. She wasn’t giving him enough attention. If she had not been too tired last night to give him what he asked for, he’d have sent the lady away with the proposal. She would do whatever he wanted. Silas was all she had. She had to make him happy.
Next. Episode 9.
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