He had told her so many times that she made him a happy man, but it wasn’t until now that she saw what he really meant. The smile on his face, wide and sunny, was like the gentle hands of a masseur, caressing and filling her body with Goosebumps. It was a smile of a man who had finally hit his target in life and now was ready to go to sleep and drift off to after life because there was no other thing in the world left for him to achieve. Of a man who no doubt was contented with what he had, and what he had was her. It filled her with joy to know she was capable of putting such a smile on his face. She held his gaze, her heart beating with anticipation, yearning to hear the first words out of his mouth after this enormous revelation—though he had already said what she needed to hear with his facial expression.
“If this is a joke, I will—”
“I am pregnant.”
“You are pregnant.” He said as if by repeating her words, they would turn out to be true.
“Which means we are going to be parents.”
“Normally, that’s how it works.”
“Oh My God!”
He stretched his hand and pulled her into him. She let her body crash onto his and closed her eyes when he started kissing her. The kiss didn’t feel like the other ones, which usually acted as catalysts to sex. It felt different, almost as if they were consummating something. He pulled her over him and with her on top; they paused, looked each other in the eye again and resumed kissing. His right hand rested on her ass, caressing it for a while before moving down, feeling her thigh. She caressed his neck before pulling away from the kiss and got off of him to help him out of his T-shirt and then pants. When he thrust into her, it was with so much force she shook. His thrusts were firmer and calculative, each thrust hitting her at the right spot. But it was the way he looked at her as he slid in and out of her that drove her crazy and so she made sure she came back on top and rode him until, for the first time, he moaned and cummed before she did.
“You know,” he said, “If someone was watching, they would think we were trying to make a baby and not that we have already made one.”
“We are having twins?”
She laughed, “I am kidding, though we cannot rule that possibility out because my mother has twin sisters.”
“Would you love to have twins?”
“Not for first borns. Let them come when I already know what motherhood is like.”
He picked a pillow that had fallen on the floor and placed it under his head.
“When did you find out?”
“That my mum has twin sisters?”
“Yesterday. I had this feeling I was pregnant so on our way home, we stopped at a chemist where I bought a pregnancy kit, which I wasn’t patient enough to carry it with me so I tested right there in their bathrooms.”
“Were you nervous?”
“Honestly, yes. I wasn’t sure how you would react to the idea of you being a father.”
“Being a father is going to be the second best thing in my life.”
“And the first thing is?”
“Having you as the mother of my child.”
They grew closer in the days that followed, each day feeling like they were just falling in love. Occasionally, he would wake up early enough to prepare breakfast and go back to bed because he knew she loved waking up beside him. They cooked together, and most of the time all he did was beat her stories as she chopped onions and shed tears in the process. His presence alone was reassuring. She remembered when she told her mother she would soon be a grandmother, she had broken into a praise and worship song over the phone and she had stood there, in the kitchen, feeling God’s glory all over her. Her mother said so many things, but it was what she said about Maasai that stuck with her for a long time. “Your father and I may never have given Maasai all the credits he deserves, but I am sure he is going to be a great father. I still can’t imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t been there during your father’s funeral.” Her mom’s voice had grown shaky with every word she uttered and feeling she was about to cry, Amara said, “You are going to be the best grandmother in the whole world.”
“I agree,” her mother had said and they laughed.
Almost a week later, on a weekend, Achika offered to take her out to celebrate. The news of Amara’s pregnancy had excited her even more than it had excited Amara herself, and she had asked to be the child’s godmother. Amara had told her she would have to discuss it with Maasai even though they both knew he was going to decline. He may have forgiven Achika for luring Amara into her bed and for being the reason why Hassan had the chance to be closer to Amara again, but he had not forgotten. His child would not really need a godmother and if one would ever be needed, Amara’s mother was more than capable of being one. But Amara was not going to tell Achika that Maasai did not even waste a second to consider her request because even though that was what Achika expected, Amara was still mindful of her feelings. She was also mindful of the fact that though Achika had her shortcomings, she was generally a good person. If anything, she had a job because of her.
That evening as she dressed up, Maasai loomed around, often coming close to hold her waist and spin her around. Glancing at his trousers, she noticed that he had a hard-on, one which she ignored because she knew she would be late if she paid any attention to it. She put on a little red dress with a low cut neckline. She no longer cared that it was a little bit tight because she had made peace with the fact that she was soon going to be walking around with a baby bump. She imagined herself skipping long queues in banking halls and watching strangers smile at her in lifts. But she wasn’t the only one who was looking forward to the baby bump, Maasai too had confessed that he couldn’t wait to start receiving recognition for the work of his hands.
“Don’t you mean the work of your penis?” she had quipped and he had shaken his head in agreement.
“At what time do you think you will be back?” he asked her as he held the door open for her.
“I don’t know, but I promise not to be late.”
“But don’t stop having fun just because you want to be home on time. Even if you girls party till morning, I will be okay with it?”
“Really, the Maasai I know would be begging me to stay.”
“Well, the Maasai you knew wasn’t about to become a father. This is a different Maasai.”
She kissed him on the lips, “Thanks.”
“Take care of yourself. And the baby.”
Achika was waiting downstairs in the car. After showering her with compliments, she drove off. The bar they went to in town had waiters who were best-suited working as gym instructors or, even better, male strippers. So when Amara noticed the bar had more women than men, she was not surprised. When one of them walked to their table, leaning down to take their orders, Achika touched his wrist as she spoke to him and Amara half expected her to move her hand up and start caressing his biceps. The waiter looked young though, even with his bushy beard that could as well house rebels from Uganda.
“You see my friend here?” Achika pointed at Amara and knowing what Achika was going to say next—that she was pregnant and so he should serve her with things she would not be allowed to touch when her baby bump began to show— Amara shook her head and give her a disapproving look. Disappointed that an opportunity to flaunt the fact that she was soon going to be an aunt had passed by, she placed their orders: Fries, roasted meat, 12 years-old Ballantine’s Scotch Whiskey for her and red wine for Amara who refused to touch alcohol despite Achika’s insistence that it wouldn’t hurt once in a while to indulge.
She also told Achika she could not smoke around her but it wasn’t long before she got tired of Achika leaving the table each time she lit a cigarette, so she changed her mind and told her to smoke right where they were. The music playing in the background was mostly unfamiliar and so when a familiar tune came on, Amara fought the urge to sing along and break into a dance. She stared at Achika, a lit cigarette dangling between her fingers, legs crossed, eyes staring into the distance and wondered what her reaction would be when she told her Maasai didn’t think she was fit to be their unborn child’s godmother. She must have gotten lost in thoughts while still staring at Achika because when Achika asked why she was staring at her like that, she was at pain to explain why.
“Do you think Maasai will be a good father?” Amara asked suddenly.
Achika put the cigarette on her lips and drew in smoke, letting it out from the corner of her mouth.
“You know I am the wrong person to ask such a question. I know nothing about parenthood.”
“Well, but you know Maasai almost as well as I do. So you must have an opinion about him.”
“You think so? I don’t even know what he does for a living!”
Amara looked away. She did not want to give away the fact that even she did not know what Maasai did for a living. She would say he was a farmer, but that wouldn’t justify his deep pockets. But Achika had noticed her discomfort when she mentioned Maasai’s livelihood, so she pressed the butt of the cigarette on the tray, sipped from her glass and leaned forward.
“What, is it something embarrassing?”
“What are you talking about?”
“About what Maasai does for a living.”
“He is a farmer.”
“A farmer? How many tracts of land does he own?”
“What do you mean?”
“Aren’t you the one who once told me he is in the habit of spoiling you with things that cost an arm and a leg?”
“Look, let’s not talk about that right now?”
“Why? Is something wrong with that?”
“Yes, because he has never told me where he gets his money from!”
“You are kidding me, right?”
“I am serious.”
“You are serious? How on God’s name do you plan to have a baby with someone you don’t know how he makes his money? He could be kidnapping people for ransom. Or dealing drugs, or any other thing that might end up with him in jail.”
“Not Maasai, okay? Whatever it is, it’s something legal.”
“Of course. I have no doubt he will make an awesome father.”
She hated to admit it but Achika was right. When Achika dropped her off later that night, she pondered on the best way to revisit his source of income without rattling him, especially now that things were good between them. It was way past midnight so she knew he would be asleep. She opened the door using her spare key and turned on the lights. The TV, just like last time, was on. He was going to learn how to switch off the TV when not in the leaving room. She dropped her bag on the couch and went straight to the kitchen for a glass of water. She was buying time, trying to come up with the best reason why they needed to discuss his source of income in the middle of the night. Or she could always wait until the next day or the one after that. But she knew she couldn’t wait. She was going to be a mother, and he a father. If there was anything she had learned from her parent’s marriage was to never postpone solving a problem. Well, it wasn’t really a problem, but it would be if she didn’t garner the courage to talk to him. Then an idea struck her. He would be more willing to talk about things he was uncomfortable or unwilling to talk about when in a vulnerable position, preferably between her thighs. She slid her dress off and let it fall to the ground before walking into her room. She stood at the door, struck the sexiest pose she could think off and turned on the lights.
He was not there. The bed was still made, an indication that no one had slept on it since morning. He surely was trying to prank her. She walked into the room and checked the cabinets as if he would be hiding there, but he wasn’t. She checked the other bedroom, but it was also empty. The idea that he was trying to prank her started dying off as she now frantically opened doors to check. Bathroom door. Toilet Door. Kitchen cabinet doors. But nothing. She dressed up and picked her phone to call him. His phone rang from somewhere in the house. She followed the sound and it led her to his cabinet. But it wasn’t just his phone she saw, for she also saw that none of his clothes hung on the hangers.