The Affair 2
Funmi Ogheva was waiting for Emmanuel in the foyer when he arrived at the Banana Island home on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The children had been fed earlier and sent to bed. Before leaving for the day, the full-time housekeeper had set the formal dining table with the best china and added fresh flowers to the centerpiece.
Funmi was dressed in purple silk caftan than swished against her legs as she moved forward to greet her husband. “My God did she do that to you?” As she examined the scratches on his cheek, there was no sympathy in her voice, merely surprise.
“Satisfied, Funmi? These scratches should prove that I did what I promised.” His mind went back to the incident that happened two days ago…
“Honey, do you know where my gold cuff links are?”
Emmanuel Ogheva emerged from his wardrobe with his shirt tails flapping. He and Funmi were due at a political dinner in half an hour. They were running late. He’d arrived home from his afternoon campaign speech with barely enough time to shower and change before charging out again to face another crowd of potential contributors and voters.
“They’re here on my dresser.”
Funmi was seated on the tufted velvet stool in front of her dressing table, pulling a hairbrush through her Peruvian weave.
“Did you have a chance to catch me on TV? I heard the Channels interview was fantastic. Did you watch it?” he asked as he approached her, buttoning his shirt.
“No, darling. I was busy getting ready for tonight. I’m sure you were a smashing success.”
He reached around her for the cuff links. “Two TV stations…”
He yanked his hand back as though it had been beaten by a cobra.
His cuff links were nestled in a tiny heap of lace that he immediately recognized. His stomach quickened. For several unendurable moments he was afraid he was going to be sick all over Funmi’s jars of beauty creams and bottles of perfumes.
His eyes connected with hers in the mirror. Very coolly, she finished clipping on a pair of gold earrings. “I found those in the pocket of a suit jacket I sent to be dry-cleaned. It’s a wifely little habit of mine to check your pockets before sending things out. You should have known that been careful.”
“Funmi, I –”
“You what, Emmanuel?” She swiveled around on the stool and gazed up at him with an expression too sweet to be sincere. “You’ve taken to wearing women’s underwear?” She picked up the strands of elasticized lace that supported the small triangle. “What’s the term for that predilection? Cross-dressing?”
Now that he had recovered from the initial shock of seeing Amanda’s g-string panties on his wife’s dressing table, he started to get angry. Other men had affairs and never had to account for them. Why was he always having to play the penitent?
“Don’t talk down to me, Funmi.”
“Well then,” she said, snapping the elastic like a slingshot before letting the garment drop back onto the vanity, “the only other conclusion I can draw is that you are having an extramarital affair.”
She stood up and brushed him aside. Of all her affectations, this haughty act grated on his nerves the most. With a few practiced gestures and calculated words, she could make him feel gauche and stupid and small.
He was a Nigerian Senator, by God! No one, not even his wife, was going to humiliate him. He would never confess to having a mistress, much less beg forgiveness.
Funmi withdrew a lace gown from her closet and stepped into it, working it up over her willowy hips. “Do me up,” she said after pushing her arms through the sequined sleeves.
After he zipped the dress, she turned to face him. “I’m not stupid enough to think you’re faithful to me. Of course you’ve had other women. You have one now and you’ll have others. That’s not the issue.”
“Then why bring it up?” he asked belligerently. She could have discreetly disposed of the panties and avoided this ugly scene. He took heat all day from a dozen different sources. He didn’t need to catch shit at home, too.
“I brought it up to point out your appalling stupidity.”
Emmanuel saw red. “Now just a minute. I –”
She held up both hands. “Spare me your righteous indignation, Emmanuel. You can’t afford it. Listen to me and heed what I say.”
Her eyes narrowed. “If I found out that you’re unfaithful to your wedding vows, others will find out. You’ve been incredibly stupid and alarmingly careless. Sooner or later the odds will catch up with you, just as I did.
“Throughout your campaign you’ve wooed the public well. You’ve cultivated a strong, solid constituency.” She paused to draw a breath. “How do you think the Bible thumpers and fanatics would regard you if it was revealed you’re an adulterer? What do you think would happen if your Christian image was exposed as fraudulent? Are you willing to sacrifice thousands of votes for a few hours of…” she flipped her hand out, indicating the panties on the vanity.
“Sex. It’s called sex, Funmi.” He took delight in the sudden blanching of her fair face and the stiffening of her spine. “And if you weren’t so prissy in bed, I wouldn’t – “
“Don’t.” She aimed her index finger at the center of his chest. “Don’t turn the blame for this on me. This is your mistake, Emmanuel. And I’m informing you now that I won’t suffer the consequences of it. I like being Mrs. Funmi Emmanuel Ogheva, the senator’s wife. That’s what I intend to continue being.
“But if you get caught, if you’re exposed as a cheating, lying husband, don’t expect me to attest to what a wonderful loving husband and father you are. I won’t be made to look a fool.
“Furthermore,” she continued, lowering her voice to a more confidential pitch, “you know what it’ll mean if my father withdraws his financial support from your campaign.” Emmanuel felt the blood draining from his face. Funmi smiled. “Without my father’s contributions, you won’t win this one. Think about that. The next time you get the urge to sex – as you so charmingly phrase it – exercise your marital rights.”
She tapped the front of his starched shirt with her well-manicured nail. “Making me unhappy would be extremely ill advised, Emmanuel. End the affair. Immediately.”
She came up on tiptoe and gave his lips a soft kiss. “You’d better finish dressing or we’ll be late. Be sure to allow a few minutes to say good night to the children.” At the bedroom door she paused and nodded toward the vanity. “And kindly dispose of those, so I never have to look at them again.”
Emmanuel was simmering, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. On the surface they had a perfect marriage. As long as things went Funmi’s way, life was harmonious. But he suffered no delusions about her. She looked as fragile as a rose. But if crossed, she could be as vicious as a vampire bat.
What had angered her was the timing of the affair and his failure to conceal it. Funmi wasn’t running the show. That’s what had her pissed.
He approached the dressing table and picked up the lace panties. Too many times his affair with Amanda had separated him from his better judgment. He shuddered to think of some nosey reporter getting wind of his affair with the famous beauty queen.
As he fingered the lace, he thought about Amanda. “I have to see her soon. Give her a parting gift…”