hearts & minds: A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

hearts & minds: A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

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Seedy and Haddy are newlyweds who were living in bliss until a sudden adversity rocked their world. Seedy would be forced to make a bargain that would drive a wedge between them and worst, could lead to the destructions of not only their marriage but their lives as well.

EPISODE NINE

Ajie Fatou Saine was over the moon when her parents informed her that she was going to stay with her cousin, Mustapha Sanyang, in Farato. It wasn’t so much as the person that got her excited; rather it was the location of the house. She had been dreading the thought of travelling every day from Latrikunda German to Brikama just to attend lectures. But Farato was as close to Brikama as you can get so she definitely saw her going to live there as divine intervention. The fact that she was supposed to look after kids was icing on the cake. Ajie Fatou adored kids with a passion. She loved taking care of them, playing with them; the ruckus they always make was music to her ears. She was always happiest when she was surrounded with children.

The reason why she loved spending time with kids so much was because they had pure hearts. They are innocents who know nothing about pretending and they love whole-heartedly. She didn’t doubt that Mustapha’s five-year old twins would be any different. On her way to her new home, the thought that she couldn’t even remember what her cousin looked like crossed her mind. She had been only ten when he left for the States. It has nearly been a decade since then. For reasons unknown, she discovered that she was nervous about meeting him.

When she arrived at the house and the caretaker showed her in, she looked around in awe, completely sure that she had never stepped foot in a place that reeked of wealth like her cousin’s house did. Her feet sank into the feather-soft carpet as she gazed around, wondering where the twins and their father were. She stared at the tall ceiling and the classy looking lamps and hanging fans fixed on it. She ran her fingers over the expensive looking seats and marveled at the state of the art gadgets that populated the sitting room. Mustapha had really done well for himself abroad, she thought off-handedly.

Her suit cases forgotten on the carpet, she wandered around, curiosity leading her forward. The huge framed picture hanging on the far end of the wall that faced the front door gave her pause. She stood in front of it, inspecting it closely. It was the image of a very beautiful and flawlessly fair woman. She was smiling from ear to ear, exposing perfect white teeth. Her eyes were glowing with happiness, her cheeks flushed with it. She had a long swan-like neck and an angular face.

Ajie Fatou didn’t have to guess who she was. It could only be Sira Jallow, Mustapha’s late wife. It made her sad to think that a woman who seemed so full of life was no more; that two kids will have to grow up without a mother. According to Aunty Sallimatou, Sira had died after giving birth to the twins. She didn’t even get to hold her daughters before she passed away. Aunty Sallimatou had told her that Mustapha had taken her death very hard, that even though the tragedy took place five years ago, her son still grieves as if it happened yesterday. The twins were his sole reason for living.

Ajie Fatou walked away from the picture with a heavy heart. Why couldn’t Mustapha find a way to move on from his wife’s death? She started climbing the stairs, hoping to find someone in the second floor. She stepped on the tiled floor and walked down the corridor to the doorway that led to the balcony. She pushed the wooden door open and there he was. Mustapha was standing near the railing of the terrace, hands crossed against his chest, looking straight-ahead. Silently, she edged away from the door to get a better look at him. He stood so still and was obviously in deep thought. He was so lost in his own world that he didn’t notice that he was no longer alone. And instead of announcing her presence, Ajie Fatou continued to stare at him. He was a tall and broad-shouldered fellow, wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

His mother had been right. Mustapha was still grieving for his wife very much. He had an air of misery about him that was unmistakable. He wore his sorrow like a cloak. His pain was palpable in its intensity; so much so that Ajie Fatou found her heart aching for him. How could one human being carry so much agony? She knew that it was wrong to continue to stare at the man when his pain was so raw in his eyes but she found it impossible to look away, to break the hypnotic spell that his suffering had woven around her heart.

A loud noise that sounded like glass breaking floated to them from the end of the corridor. Ajie Fatou jumped in surprise and Mustapha whirled around with a hiss of irritation that turned into a curse when he saw Ajie Fatou huddling in one corner like a scared rabbit. For a moment, speech seemed to fail him as he stared at her in confusion. Then understanding dawned on his features.

“It’s Ajie Fatou right?”

She nodded, heart thumping fast in her chest. She was afraid that he would figure out that she had been watching him.

“When did you arrive?” his face was a blank mask that gave nothing away.

“Just now,” she hastened to reply.

“You’ve grown into a big girl now,” he said reflectively, moving away from the terrace. “Do you even remember me?”

She shrugged. “Bits and pieces. It sounded like something broke.” She added with a worried frown.

“I’m sure that was the kids. Let’s go check it out. They are excited about meeting you.”

“No more than I am to meet them.”

“Shall we, then?”

Ajie Fatou followed in his wake; her heart beat finally regulating when his consuming gaze was no longer trained on her. She had a feeling that her stay in this house would be interesting in an entirely unexpected way.

Seedy Saidykhan and Mariatou Gumaneh’s wedding would definitely be the talk of the town months after it took place. It was an unabashed display of wealth, power and influence. No matter how much Seedy had maintained that he only wanted a small ceremony with only family and close friends in attendance, Mariatou and her father will not have it. Momodou was quite clear that he wanted his daughter’s wedding to be an unforgettable experience, the kind of wedding that would go down in history. After all, it wasn’t every day that a pampered princess got married.

To Seedy’s eternal dismay, the wedding reception was held at a gigantic hotel hall with more than five hundred people in attendance majority of whom he had never set eyes on. Hell, none of his sisters or his mother had agreed to come. They were aghast when they knew about the deal he made and he knew it would take some time before they even talk to him again. Powerful dignitaries from all over the country and even beyond came. There were dozens of griots in attendance and they were showered with a lot of cash as they sang the praises of Momodou Gumaneh and the beautiful bride.

And the bride was beautiful, Seedy was compelled to admit. As she sat beside him in her ankle length white gown, smiling dazzlingly, she seemed like an ethereal creature from another universe. Seedy couldn’t help but wonder at how someone who looked so much like an angel could possess a heart of the devil. He was honestly at a loss on how they were going to live together. What sort of marriage were they going to have?

Ever the generous father, Momodou gave his daughter and her newly wedded husband a multi-million Dalasi mansion as a wedding present. Seedy felt so out of place in the huge house. When he and Mariatou entered it for the first time after they got back from the wedding reception, Seedy could only stare around in mute astonishment.

“Isn’t it lovely?” Mariatou stated, whirling around with a laugh still clad in her wedding dress.

“It’s unnecessarily huge,” Seedy retorted and walked passed her.

He went and sat by the pool outside. He remained there for what seemed like hours. When the wind picked up and it looked like it was going to start raining, he got up and went inside. When he entered the Master Bedroom, he found Mariatou reclined on the king-sized bed, wearing a sheer negligee that left nothing to the imagination.

“I will be sleeping in the guest room,” he clipped out and clicked the door shut despite the immediate protest that followed his announcement.

If that spoilt brat thought everything was going to go as she planned, she was in for a surprise. Big time.

To be continued

by Adam Nyang