Hello everyone. This week, I would like to share a deleted scene from The Governor’s Wife.
My editor and I debated a bit about the scene. We both loved it, but felt that it wasn’t necessary at the beginning of the story because it slowed the flow of romance between Ogonna and Philip.
Although it was sad to say goodbye, I eventually let go and allowed the information in this deleted scene to trickle down in chunks throughout the other chapters.
So, what do you think? It hasn’t been edited, so be gentle.
She had perfected this smile—an automatic stretching of her lips upwards to display dazzling white teeth and a half dimple. Everyone always complimented her smile.
“You should be the face of a toothpaste advert,” she had heard often, ever since she was little girl. She had recieved that praise repeatedly over the years, and believed it.
Smiling had become her way of coping with any ugliness life threw at her. As long as nobody else saw the pain inside, she could trudge on until things turned out fine.
Standing stiffly beside her husband, Ogonna tilted her lips into that impeccable grin as camera lights flashed around them, capturing the perfection.
“For he’s a jolly good fellow. For he’s a jolly good fellow. For he’s a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny,” the gathering sang, cheering for her husband.
She smiled and clapped, joining the crowd as they congratulated the governor for refurbishing the Library at the only University in her hometown, Ebonyi State.
Grinning from ear to ear, Ogonna dutifully walked beside him, shaking hands, hugging people, making small talk with other wives of politicians, guests whom she knew attended not out of loyalty to the governor, but fear. For who dared cross him.
He whispered something unintelligible into her ear and she laughed in response, knowing that the cameramen covering the event were scrambling to capture every detail, even fighting amongst each other for space to get the right angle for the best shot.
She was great at this. After six years of practice, she had honed down the act of creating an illusion, the image of happiness for the public.
She would see the pictures in the papers tomorrow. They would probably make the front page of most local newspapers.
Magazines—online and printed, would comment on the beautiful sparkly green and gold off-shoulder traditional gown she wore that accentuated her slender but shapely figure, highlighting her smooth chestnut-brown skin.
Young girls would look longingly at those pictures. They would admire images of her standing beside the tall, dark and handsome governor and sigh with longing, wishing and praying that they would end up like her—Mrs Ogonna Uchendu. The first lady of Ebonyi state.
She lived in a large mansion, drove the latest cars, travelled all over the world—had everything. If only they could look beyond the photographs, see past her perfect smile. If only…
“Time to cut the cake,” the MC announced, crashing through her musings.
“A launching party is never complete without item 7.”
Loud cheering followed that comment. Ogonna laughed too, holding her husband’s hand as she accompanied him to the front of the Library hall and to the table where the five-layer cake stood.
“At the count of three, the ever-efficient governor will do the honours of cutting the cake and opening the celebration. For we are here to celebrate the excellence of our great leader.” The MC, a tall broad man with a protruding belly looked as if he kissed ass for a living, a man who waited on, and bowed to anyone offering money. Not loyal to anybody who wouldn’t benefit him. The kind of people her husband surrounded himself with.
A crowd of over 100 guests from all over Nigeria clapped as Governor Uchendu sliced through the cake with arrogant slowness, revelling in the attention he received. All eyes on him. What he lived for. To be worshiped by people. To be revered, even if not honestly.
Ogonna looked forward to the end of the ceremony eagerly. Lately, she’d been getting tired of all the pretence. She couldn’t wait for the entire nightmare of her life to be over. But she had to stick to this façade of the doting supportive wife, to persevere, so that she didn’t end up dead like the governor’s former wife. Ruled as death by natural causes from the Local coroner’s office—A heart attack. Although now, she suspected differently.
Since she couldn’t prove anything based on a hunch, Ogonna had kept her suspicions to herself. She had enough troubles on her own without stirring up more by digging into her husband’s past with no evidence.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments. Would this scene have added anything else to the story?
In this week’s #LAPLovenotes, I’m sharing a snippet from Thorn’s and Roses.
“Thanks for forcing me to take today off,” she murmured, a soft smile curving her lips. “I enjoyed being with you today, the conversation, food, wine and the fact that I could forget all my worries.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. You should take more time off,” Chuma replied, smiling back at her.
She remained standing there, as if immobilised. With the wind scattering her hair over her face, her creamy skin glowing in the illumination provided by the setting sun and the flush on her face, she looked almost ethereal.
Chuma stood beside her and inhaled deeply.
“I want to take care of you,” he said, his voice deep and low.
In this week’s #LAPLovenotes, I’m sharing a snippet from The Senator’s Daughter.
Here, Rita summourned Nosa to the room where he held her captive, because she was feeling bored.
Their eyes locked for a few seconds and she inhaled sharply, which turned his gaze to her chest. Shit. No bra. He noticed, and he hated himself for it. For noticing three days in a row, how her perky breasts pressed against the soft fabric of whatever shirt she wore, their prominent sharp points poking through, demanding to be noticed. And he couldn’t help that they got his attention.
The growing heaviness in his shorts snapped him back to reality, and his gaze jumped to her eyes which twinkled with amusement. The wench. She knows. Time for a bra. But how did one ask someone he wasn’t intimate with about her bra size?
“What are you watching?”
“Wh-what?” His heart rate doubled. He was taken aback by her provocative question.
“On TV. What are you watching?”
“Oh…Oh… I thought you meant…” He ran his palms over his face and shook his head.
This woman distracted him no end. “The news. I was watching the news,” he finally responded.
I hope you enjoyed this teaser. Please drop a Comment below.
So, I was going through my old manuscript notes and came across a deleted scene from Starting Over again. I loved this flashback scene, but my beta readers and my editor felt it was unnecessary and the story could be better told not as a flashback but in conversation.
I struggled with letting go, but I eventually deleted this scene. This is the conversation between Efe and Onome when she discovered they both carried the sickle cell gene that they could pass on to their children if they had kids.
It’s not edited, so be gentle. Since I couldn’t share it in the novel, I’ll share it here. I hope you enjoy it.
Do you agree it should have been deleted?
Fejiro lay in the hospital bed grunting in pain. Two catheters, hanging on each side of the bed, transferred saline from drip bags into each of her arms. Onome glanced at her daughter helplessly and then turned to watch the nurse draw up a liquid medication slowly into a syringe. The nurse had a bland and bored facial expression.
“Ahhhh!” Fejiro groaned as another jolt of pain travelled through her bones.
“Nurse, please hurry up!” Onome cried, her own body quaking as if she was also experiencing the pain her daughter felt.
The nurse neither looked up nor hastened her movements. Onome sighed and held tightly onto Fejiro’s hand.
“Shhhh, darling, soon you’ll have your morphine…soon,” she crooned, tears clouding her vision. She had been through this with her daughter so many times. Bone-pain crises. Fejiro groaned again and Onome felt her stomach twist. She watched her daughter writhe in bed, her eyes slightly yellow and rolled to the back, her face contorted in pain.
“Nurse, please,” Onome pleaded.
“Madam, please… I don’t want to make a mistake,” the nurse admonished Onome, taking another smaller bottle from the top of a silver table beside the bed and drawing up clear fluid into another syringe as slowly as she did the first time.
Onome glanced at the overweight middle-aged nurse in a tight white uniform that threatened to burst with any sudden movement. The woman was so stoic and emotionless. As if a little girl was not in severe pain beside her. Onome hated this hospital. The consultant doctors were rarely present and only showed up in the mornings for short ward rounds with a few naive looking trainee doctors hovering around them as if they were gods. And the nurses were downright mean. Detached and sluggish. Like the one standing beside her now.
A few seconds later, the nurse held the syringe towards Fejiro. Onome watched as the nurse took Fejiro’s limp hand in hers. She opened the cannula at the end of the tube attached to Fejiro’s arm and pushed the drug into the cannula with the syringe. Picking up the other syringe containing clear fluid, she flushed the fluid through the tube before she shut the cannula. Onome sighed with relief; soon her daughter will be pain free and asleep. Even if it lasted for only two hours.
“I’ll come back to check on her in an hour,” the nurse said to Onome as she disposed of the contents of the table into a yellow bin with a tight white lid.
“Thanks,” Onome muttered, although she didn’t feel thankful. It had taken an hour for Fejiro to be admitted because of all the paperwork involved and they had wanted Onome to pay the deposit first before providing the bed for admission. All the while, Fejiro sat in the waiting room grunting in pain.
“No problem, it is well,” the nurse said as she waddled out of the room.
Onome drew the curtains to the cubicle to provide some privacy for her and Fejiro.
“It is well.” Onome loathed that phrase. Everybody used it these days. No, it was not well; her daughter was lying in bed riddled with pain. Tears burned the back of her eyes but she pushed them in. She wouldn’t cry. Fejiro needed to see her in control and not falling apart.
“Mummy, I’m sleepy,” Fejiro mumbled, her eyes glazed and unfocused.
“Yes, baby, that’s a good sign,” Onome responded, squeezing her hand. “It’s a good sign, my princess. No more pain.”
“No more pain,” Fejiro repeated slowly, and seconds later, she was fast asleep. Onome sat there by the bed, still holding Fejiro’s frail hand, watching the slow rise and fall of her chest as she slept.
This was Fejiro’s third bone pain crisis this year. Onome felt a sense of guilt. Just like she did every time Fejiro was in hospital attached to drips and groaning in pain. Pain from the blood in her veins crumpling and starving her bones of nourishment. This was no life for a seven-year-old, she should be out there playing with her friends, exploring the world, being a child.
Onome drew in a short breath and fought back tears. It was all her fault. She knew this was a possibility when she married Efe. But she was so in love, and so hopeful, and so blind. Everyone else saw this coming, but at the time, she couldn’t see past the love she had for Efe.
“No more pain,” Onome whispered, stroking Fejiro’s hand. “I’ll give up everything so you have no more pain.” Onome sighed and reclined into her seat, her mind drifting off to the time when she and Efe discovered that they both carried the sickle cell gene.
“What is it?” Onome asked, immediately concerned. Onome was watching TV in the sitting room of Efe’s rented two-bedroom apartment at Ring Road in Benin City, when he walked in with a bleak look on his face. They had been engaged for two weeks, and although Onome was elated at being engaged to Efe, she had kept the news from everyone in her family. She was afraid of how her father would react if she married someone who did not share his religious beliefs
“What is it?” Onome asked again, when Efe did not respond. The worried expression on his face caused Onome’s gut to tighten.
“We are both sickle cell carriers, Onome,” he muttered, handing her two pieces of paper.
Onome’s heart skipped a beat. She stared at the blood test results in shock. She and Efe had never talked about their genotypes before. It was a topic that never came up. They had only done the blood tests because it was a compulsory practice in the catholic church which Efe attended. It was to ensure the intending bride and groom were healthy and to check for their genotype. Since she had decided to marry in the Catholic Church so that Efe didn’t have to face her father’s religious bigotry, she had readily complied. Never in a million years had she anticipated this.
“There is a chance that we could have a very sick child, a child with sickle cell disease. We can’t get married, Onome.” Efe went on, obviously distraught.
“No,” Onome cried, fear gripping her insides. “Please don’t say that. Let’s think …please…”
“Onome, we can’t… we could have a sick child if we do…”
“That’s just a possibility… we could also have healthy children!”
She broke out into a cold sweat. “We can’t throw our love away just because of the possibility that we may have a sick child… I love you!”
“I’m sorry, I can’t… I have a cousin who is a sickler… I can’t put someone else through that.”
With that statement left hanging, Efe ran out as fast as he could, leaving Onome in his sitting room with tears in her eyes.
A week later, Efe visited Onome in her family home for the first time in the four years that they had been dating.
“I tried to keep away from you, Onome, but I can’t. I love you,” he said, as soon as she opened the door.
“Oh, Efe, I was so scared that I had lost you!” Onome cried, jumping into his arms. They kissed passionately by the front door.
When Onome finally broke the news to her family that she was engaged to Efe, all hell broke loose. Her father yelled and her mother pleaded with her to see reason.
“God himself doesn’t want you to be together! Not only is he not a member of the true faith, Cherubim and Seraphim, but you both also carry the sickle cell gene!” Onome’s father yelled. “I will not support this marriage! If you marry him, you are not my daughter anymore!”
“I don’t care,” Onome retorted.
“Please, Onome, listen to your father,” her mother pleaded, dropping to her knees and begging Onome. “You are my only daughter… please.” Onome looked away from her mother. She couldn’t afford to lose Efe. She just couldn’t.
“Shut up!” her father thundered, standing up from the sofa. “What do you know about love? Is that what I sent you to University to do? Parade yourself like a prostitute?” His eyes sparked and his nostrils flared. “If you marry that man, you are not my daughter!”
“I love Efe, I can’t live without him.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that… but I have made up my mind.”
Onome packed her belongings and moved into Efe’s small rented flat that night. Her mother and brother called her phone repeatedly that entire week, pleading with her to reconsider her decision. But Onome couldn’t see past her love for Efe. She had devoted five whole years to him. She couldn’t suddenly stop loving him just because they both carried a faulty sickle cell gene that they could or could not pass on to their children.
“Onome, please listen to dad and mum,” Tobore, her brother, said to her two weeks later. He had taken a night bus from his University at Port Harcourt to reason with her.
“Tobore, I love Efe. We love each other. I can’t live without him.”
“Even though you know you may have a sick child if you marry him?”
“We could both do IVF, or maybe not even have children.”
“Listen to what you are saying, Onome. This time, I agree with daddy. This is not about his usual religious bullshit. This is about a very important decision. You are making a decision that may affect an unborn child. A child that has no say in the matter. Born to be sick and suffer with pain, just because of decisions you have made.” Onome silently considered her brother’s statement.
“I’ll think about it,” she said, sorrow choking her throat.
She did. She really did. However, that night when Efe came home from work, she took one look at him and realised she didn’t want to spend her life without him next to her. Even if it meant not having a baby.
They eloped to get married two weeks later. It was a small court wedding with Voke as a witness. They also moved to Lagos a few weeks after that. True to her father’s words, he cut her off from his life and threatened to disown any of her siblings who kept in contact with her or Efe. He did not soften his stance even after Fejiro was born. Tobore, her only sibling bold enough to defy their father to keep in touch with her, told her that their father often referred to Fejiro as a cursed child.
Onome held Fejiro’s hand as she slept. She could not help but feel responsible for her child’s illness. She had researched frantically for a cure. Although she knew about bone marrow transplant and had gone as far as checking to see if she was a match for Fejiro, she worried about Fejiro going through such a dangerous medical treatment. That plan had abruptly come to an end. Apart from finding out that she was not a match, the procedure was also very expensive and Onome simply could not afford it. Nonetheless, she still hoped that sometime in the future, there would be a cure for the disease, something that did not involve having to transplant blood cells from a donor and medications for life to prevent the body rejecting those cells.
Onome was active on sickle cell websites and always keen on getting new information about the disease. One day, she vowed, Fejiro would be free of this disease. There was still hope.
“Mummy, I’m hungry.” Fejiro’s soft voice alerted Onome. She glanced at her daughter and saw her eyes had fluttered open.
“Oh, my baby. You are awake,” she muttered, squeezing Fejiro’s hand. “I’m glad you are hungry. It’s a good sign.”
Fejiro smiled weakly. “I want ice-cream.” Onome laughed. Fejiro always loved to have Strawberry ice-cream whenever she was ill.
“Okay, baby, I’ll get some from the shop opposite the hospital,” Onome said, standing up from the chair. She stretched, attempting to soothe the kinks in her muscles caused by sitting in one position for so long. She had been sitting by Fejiro’s bedside for three hours without rising to do anything.
“Thanks, mum.” Fejiro quipped, and Onome’s chest constricted. She was happy to hear the excitement in Fejiro’s voice.
“Will be back in less than thirty minutes.” Onome left the ward and headed towards the nurse’s station to inform them that she was leaving Fejiro for a few minutes. There was a young female nurse seated in the small cubicle, reading a romance novel with half-dressed models on the cover.
“I am headed to the shop to get something for my daughter Fejiro. She is in bed nine,” Onome informed the nurse, who acknowledged her statement with a barely audible mumble without looking up from her novel.
Swallowing back the irritated retort that threatened to burst from her throat, Onome added, “Please ring my mobile phone if she needs me before I’m back.”
“Okay, ma,” the nurse responded nonchalantly, still not bothering to look up from her book.
Onome shook her head as she walked out of the hospital. She really wanted to give the nurse a piece of her mind, force some compassion into her. However, she resisted that impulse. There was no point in antagonizing the staff, it would only make them much more difficult. And Onome didn’t want that for Fejiro.
As she walked into the sunshine, Onome inhaled deeply as she glanced at the InlandGovernmenthospital sign hoisted boldly on the top of the white three story-building complex. One day, she hoped, Fejiro wouldn’t have to be stuck in hospitals. One day, she wouldn’t have to deal with rude nurses. One day, there would be a cure for sickle cell disease.
As soon as he touched her, Philip realised he’d been lying to himself for the past seven years. Sharp shards of desire, hot and raw, cascaded all over his body, leaving him helpless. He wasn’t over her. Not yet. Maybe never.
The sensible thing would be to let her go immediately, remove his hands from her narrow waist and walk away. But sensible didn’t seem to be in his skill set anymore. Maybe never had been regarding Ogonna. Being this close to her, touching her, had scrambled his brain. All he could do was douse himself in her aura.
Slowly, he slid his palm from her waist, eyes fixated on hers. His hand glided up her back until it rested on the softness of her long graceful neck. With deliberate intent, he moved his thumb over the gentle angle between her ear and jaw. Deftly, he stroked the area with a light pressure and watched keenly for her response. Ogonna’s hot spot. Haunting memories of her whimpering restlessly against him when he touched her there filtered through his heated brain. Did it still turn her on?
Her breath hitched sharply. “Oooh,” she moaned. A primitive sound which caused his penis to throb, pushing against his unyielding black jeans. Apparently, it still did the trick—for both of them.
The knowledge stoked his arousal. Unable to resist, he lowered his eyes to her full parted lips…red, soft, tempting. God, he wanted to kiss her. Badly. A deep part of his subconscious rose up in protest. This was Ogonna, the woman who broke him by running off to marry someone else. He shouldn’t want to have anything to do with her, let alone kiss her. He needed to bring this madness to an end, turn and walk away.
But Philip remained rooted to the spot, deepening the pressure of his thumb instead, and then trailing it slowly across her full lower lip. Her tongue darted out, flickering lightly. A bold move. Unexpected.
His eyes swept to hers and he froze. They were wide as saucers, as if startled by her own boldness. It would have been easier for him to let her go if even an iota of repulsion or uncertainty registered in their dark depths. Instead, something primal flashed in her pupils. His breath trapped in his chest. Ogonna wanted him, too. The realisation sent a wave of need through him, weakening him.
Another soft moan came from her. His nostrils flared, and he let out a groan from deep within his throat. Almost roughly, he reached for her face, cradled it in both hands and brought his mouth down on hers.