Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Emergence of Married Bachelors

I won’t call it a new trend because it has been around for a while and has come to stay. However, I wonder how it became so acceptable. Some years ago, it was considered an anomaly. Some years ago, to be an absentee father was totally wrong. Some years ago, to live apart from your legally married wife was termed immoral (unless you had a harem). Some years ago, it was not a choice to live apart from your family. Those who lived apart for genuine reasons such as work, war, education; longed for when they would live together as a family. In the past, family values were passed from generation to generation by fathers while mothers held those values and ensured they were adhered to in the family unit.

Absent Fathers_Married Bachelors

Fast forward to this generation, it has become a fad to live separately. Hmm……the things this generation does; at times, I wonder what the next generation would do. Blame it on technology! It is a technology driven world. Yeah, right! I wonder if technology also helps in managing a bonded family. I hear Skype, Face time, Snapchat, Hangouts, Viber, Tango, WeChat etc. Does technology train a child or help the father see those habits that need to be quickly nipped in the bud? Does technology have arms to hug a child early in the morning or late at night? Does technology give a child the warm assurance when he is scared of shadows at night? Does technology get into bed with a child to allay his fears when he is having nightmares? Does technology whip a child in the butt when he misbehaves? Does technology sit with a child to assist with homework brought back from school? Does technology give a child good night kisses?

Absent Father_Married Bachelors 2

I wonder if training a child has now become the sole duty of the mother alone. I hear a bad child is the mother’s. So if the good child is the father’s and the father is an absentee, is it right for him to also claim the good child as his? Being that, the mother wore both the father and mother hat.

The emotional needs of the wife is another topic for discussion. If marriage is for companionship, then why marry and live apart on purpose? Why burn with passion and suffer in solitude when you have paid the price in full for uninterrupted satisfaction. Sincerely, I need valid answers to these questions.

Married bachelors

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 15

Tochukwu had been heartbroken after Chinedu’s refusal to date her. Even though Kunle had tried to talk Chinedu into taking advantage of the situation, he had been adamant. There was no use dating her if he did not love her; Chinedu had said. When Chinedu gave him the liberty to take his place, he had been so elated. To him, Tochukwu was going to be another of his conquests. He had stalked her for two days in a bid to find out where she stayed outside campus. With that accomplished, he decided to pay her a visit.

That fateful Saturday morning, he had left his hostel very early and was knocking at her door at 7.45am. Tochukwu, who was still in bed had risen up to open the door after a couple of knocks.

“What are you doing here?” She asked surprise clearly written on her face. She was still in her baby doll negligee but was not in the least bothered that it was a see-through. Kunle was seeing her without make-up for the first time and he wondered why she bothered to use one. She was very pretty with deep set eyes which were accentuated by high cheek bones. She was truly a beauty to behold. “Damn, what was Chinedu thinking about refusing this damsel?” He thought as he looked from her face to her see-through negligee.

“Excuse me? I asked what you are doing here at this time of the day.” She asked again seeing that he was obviously carried away.

“I came to say hi. Can I come in?”

“Okay”. She replied stepping aside while stifling a yawn. “Did you have to come say hi this early? It’s a quarter to 8.” She continued as she looked up at the clock on the wall.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up. I just felt you would need company, being a weekend. So, I decided to make myself available”. He smiled as she tried to stifle another yawn.

“Why are you smiling?”

“I guess you are still sleepy”.

“Anyway, how is Chinedu?” She asked taking her bath robe from her wardrobe.

“He’s okay. He’s still himself”. He shrugged sitting down on her bed and taking a good look round her room.

“Just okay? Does he talk about me? I mean, do I stand a chance with him?” She asked. “I’m sorry to bombard you with questions about Chinedu but you are his best friend; can you put in a word for me? She pleaded as she sat with her legs crossed on the bed and propped herself up with pillows.

“Tochukwu, I sincerely think you should give up your dream of being with Chinedu”.

“Why? I won’t give up on him”.

“He is my best friend and I can tell you categorically that he is not interested in dating anyone for now. You are a very pretty lady. Why waste your time on someone who won’t appreciate you and what you’ve got?” He cajoled.

“Thanks. I’m flattered but do you know how hurting it is to be rejected by someone you love so much. I haven’t even been given an opportunity to prove myself”. She said as her eyes filled with tears.

To Love & to Hold 25

“Hey baby, leave Chinedu alone and let him go. You shouldn’t do this to yourself”. He said moving closer to console her. “The fact that Chinedu doesn’t want you has not stopped other men from desiring you”. He continued as he wiped her tears which were now spilling down her cheeks.

She desired Chinedu so much that she felt heartbroken by his rejection. If only he could give her just one opportunity. She would shower him with so much love that none could compare. “Can’t you convince him?” She asked breaking into uncontrollable sobs.

“I won’t deceive you, Tochukwu. No amount of convincing would change his mind. He is as stubborn as a mule”. He said as he pulled her closer to himself. He wondered why she was breaking apart over his best friend who cared no less about her feelings. As she rested her head on his shoulders crying, he felt pity for her. He pulled back her hair which had dropped to cover her face and kissed her tear-stained cheeks. He noticed that she did not resist and went further to kiss the nape of her neck. She seemed to be lost in her world of grief and he decided to plant a full kiss on her mouth. At first, she tried to push him away, preferring to remain in anguish but his insistence took the better part and right there; she gave herself entirely to him.

To Love & to Hold 25b

As they both lay in her bed savouring the moment they just had together, she raised her head a little to look at him. “Kunle, we shouldn’t have done this”.

“I know but you were grieving so much that it just happened”.

“But it was wrong of you to have taken advantage of the situation. I love Chinedu and I intend to get him at all costs”.

“Hmm…..” He said as he rose up to get dressed. “I’m sorry if you think I took advantage of you. It wasn’t intentional. As for Chinedu, I think you should give up the fight. I really like you a lot and I think we could roll together”.

“You can’t be serious. You think this one-time together would give you leeway. I would advise you erase what just happened from your memory and never mention it to Chinedu”. She hissed.

“Cool. I won’t mention it to him but I think you should sincerely consider my offer. You are only going to remain hurt trying to win him over. He won’t budge. I know him more than you do. Besides, I have got a lot to offer. You are too pretty to keep on hurting over someone who doesn’t care about you”.

“Thanks for the offer but I would rather keep on trying. Please close the door after you and remember what happened in here must not be heard by a third party”. She said as she pulled up her bed cover, dismissing him.

The knock on the door brought Kunle out of his reverie. He looked at his wristwatch. It was a quarter after 3.00pm already. The knock grew persistent, irritating him. He flung the magazine on his bed and stood up to open the door. Tochukwu was carrying a travel bag slung across her chest, still chewing her gum. Without a word, he stepped aside for her to come in.

“Don’t you think you should have gotten back to me before now?” She asked in disgust.

“I guess I was the only one writing exams, right?”

“Very good excuse. Exams have been over for close to a week now. Anyway, I did not come here to trade words with you. I came for results”. She replied as she pulled her bag over her head to drop it on the bed.

“The result is as it has always been. He does not want you”.

“And you couldn’t convince him? I hope you are not thinking you would get out of this so soon and very easy. You can’t be free until Chinedu is mine”. She spat.

“Look Tochukwu, I have tried my best. You knew before we dated that he never wanted anything to do with you so why would you put me under undue pressure now? If you think you have got information that can ruin my friendship with him, please go ahead; I don’t care. You can’t continue to threaten me over nothing”. He replied angrily.

To Love & to Hold 26

“What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t dare me. You don’t wanna know what I’m capable of doing”.

“What are you capable of? Tell me. What exactly can you do? You are just a miserable bitch”. He said raising his voice. “I don’t even know why I am wasting my time talking to you when I should be on my way home”. He continued as he lifted up his travel bag from the bed.

“Kunle, you called me a miserable bitch? You will know what a miserable bitch is capable of doing by the time I am through with you. I would so ruin you that there would be nothing left to salvage”.

“Get out of my room”.

“I would be back. I promise you”.

 

As Tochukwu sat behind the driver who had been assigned to pick her up from school, she reminisced on what had just taken place in Kunle’s room. He had dared her and she was going to ruin him. She always got whatever she wanted but her desire for Chinedu was proving to be beyond her reach.

***********

Her parents, Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Abanum had been married for twelve years without a child. Every form of medical test was carried out but doctors continually confirmed that they were both medically fit to have kids. When Mrs. Abanum had gotten pregnant for the first time after twelve years, her husband had flown her abroad; away from the prying eyes of relatives. It had been a battle to keep his marriage as his relatives had continually advised him to get a fertile virgin from the village to bear him kids. All sorts had been insinuated about his wife; she had eaten up all her kids, she had handed them over to the queen of the river, she had sold them to ritual killers for wealth and so on.

After Tochukwu was born, her parents tried having more kids but were unsuccessful. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise to all who knew them that they pampered their daughter to no end. Everything she wanted, she got. Every school vacation was an opportunity for her to travel abroad and travel round, she did. She was the typical spoilt child who never cared whose ox was gored as long as she got whatever she wanted. She therefore, grew up to become self-centered and spared no one her tantrums; her parents inclusive.

As she bit her lips in anger, she thought about what she could do to teach Kunle a lesson he would never forget. She could call Chinedu and tell him that his best friend was scheming to date his girlfriend. She could even say she saw them together in a compromising position. That way, she could also get back at Fadeke. She also needs to be dealt with. As she considered what her next line of action would be, a thought filtered through her mind. Would Chinedu believe me? There was a high possibility that he wouldn’t. She knew he loved Fadeke too much to believe any cock and bull story cooked up about her. Kunle, on the other hand, had come a long way with Chinedu. All the odds are against me and I’m going to end up the loser. It won’t be a big deal if I lost Fadeke’s friendship, but I am definitely not ready to lose my prospects with Chinedu.

She thought about what she could do. Chinedu was slipping off her hands; a fact that stared her in the face. The threat she issued to Kunle was also going awry. She had assumed she could wrap him around her fingers for a while and make him do as she wished. But her plan wasn’t working as expected any longer. She chewed on her fingers and soliloquized, “Tochi, think, think!”

To Love & to Hold 26b

“Sorry small madam, were you talking to me?” The driver asked looking back.

She suddenly realized that she was still in the car. “Talking to you?” She hissed. “Abeg, face front. Who is talking to you?”

“Sorry ma”.

She looked at her wristwatch. It was a quarter to 7.00pm. She rubbed her temples trying to ease the headache that was setting in. What she needed now was good food and a bed to lay her head. The troubles of the day had taken a toll on her. Tomorrow was another day.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 14

Chinedu had woken up early to read as he had gone straight to bed the previous night after leaving Kunle’s room. By 7a.m when Kunle walked into his room, he had already put in 3 hours of study. “Hey, morning. I hope you are better”. He said as he stood up from his reading table to stretch his limbs.

“Yeah, thanks man”. Kunle replied as he sat down on Chinedu’s bed. He had woken up with a determination to call Tochukwu’s bluff but before leaving his room that morning; she had reinforced her threat to inform Chinedu about his recent attraction to Fadeke and that he was hitting on her. Even though he wasn’t hitting on her, he knew that his recent attraction was going to raise an alarm. Chinedu had noticed his strange behavior and it wouldn’t take long for him to put the pieces together. On the other hand, he wasn’t sure whether Fadeke would eventually tell Chinedu about what transpired between them the night he walked in on her.

“So, are you and Tochukwu back together?” Chinedu asked breaking into Kunle’s thoughts.

“Not at all. You were the reason why she came visiting”. He replied thinking of how best to approach the matter at hand.

“Me? I don’t understand”.

“Chinedu, don’t you think you are putting all your eggs in one basket. You know I have mentioned this to you before”.

“I still don’t understand what you are trying to say”. Chinedu answered looking lost.

“What I mean is Tochukwu came to see me yesterday still professing her love for you. She’s obviously over me and confessed that even while we were together, she longed for you. Chinedu, I think you should give her the benefit of doubt”.

Chinedu who was still standing was so astonished; his mouth was agape. Was that the reason why Tochukwu had come to see Kunle at that time of the night? He was even more shocked by Kunle who knew too well that he was committed to Fadeke. “You are crazy, man. I can’t believe you would even attempt to sell Tochukwu to me. Do you realize that Tochukwu and Fadeke are roommates? I have never mentioned her to Fadeke just because I do not want her to feel threatened. I can’t, won’t and would never give Tochukwu an opportunity; if that’s what you are asking for”. He concluded angrily.

To Love & to Hold 24b

Kunle opened his mouth to speak but thought otherwise. It was no use. He knew even before he attempted to, that Chinedu wasn’t going to give in. The next step was to inform Tochukwu about the development. He had tried his best; as far as he was concerned.

*********************************************************************************

30 minutes later, Chinedu was alone in his room thinking. How else am I meant to tell Tochukwu that I am not interested in her? I have tried all I can; but it does not seem to be working. I have never met a woman so desperate and bent on having a man. Wasn’t it just three sessions ago that she was all over Kunle? To think that she could make a drastic U-turn with an intention to win me over again with Kunle’s help is unimaginable. Kunle should have known better. I am not into the two-timing game. I am not surprised that Kunle is not in the least jealous that his ex-girlfriend is making a comeback at his best friend. He is an unrepentant casanova who has the ladies whenever and wherever he wants them. I wonder why he has become distracted and unsettled of recent. He had always been able to handle his relationships and his studies perfectly well. I hope our final year exams are not taking a toll on him. Whatever the case, my mind is made up; nothing and no one can change it. I am stuck with Fadeke.

In four weeks, exams were over and students began trooping home in droves. Mr. Peters’ driver picked Chinedu and Fadeke from school and on Fadeke’s insistence; dropped Chinedu off at home. As he was stepping out of the car, he remembered his promise to his mother to introduce Fadeke to her during their next holidays. “Would you be able to come visit me some time during the holidays?” He asked.

“Why not? I would love to”. Fadeke replied excitedly. “When should I come over?”

“I would call you two days ahead to let you know”. He said slinging his knapsack on his back.

“Two days ahead? Does that mean you won’t call me every day?” She sulked.

“I will, my sweet “poff poff” cheeks”. He smiled touching her lightly on the cheeks. “Remember I have to work during the holidays. I would let you know when you should come over, all the same”.

“Oh, I absolutely forgot about your vacation job”. She said sighing. “No worries but I would expect your call everyday”.

“Yes, ma’am”. He replied as they both burst into laughter. He loved it when she laughed that way; like one who had no care in the world. He wanted to give her a kiss but thought against it. He was standing in front of the gate to his house and she was sitting in her father’s car with the driver behind the wheel. He would not want anyone misinterpreting his actions. He held her hand and squeezed it tight as he whispered “I love you”. Fadeke who by now had tears in her eyes from her bout of laughter returned the squeeze and whispered back a response.

As she was chauffeur-driven home, she laid back her head with loving thoughts of Chinedu filling her heart. She had never felt so loved by anyone besides her family. As she made a mental note of what she was going to wear to Chinedu’s house for the visit, she dozed off smiling.

************

“Come over to my hostel at 4.00pm. We need to talk”. Tochukwu said holding her mobile phone to her right ear and blowing a bubble with the gum in her mouth.

“I can’t make it. I’m going home at 4.00pm”. Kunle replied irritated.

“Sorry, darling. You can’t go home until you see me”.

“Do you ever stop, Tochukwu? If you need to see me, you know where to find me”.

Tochukwu was quiet for a while, chewing her gum with reckless abandon. “Okay, if that is how you want it. Expect me anytime from 3.00pm”. She said flipping her phone shut before Kunle could respond.

“What is all this?” He hissed.

He dropped his phone on his bed and continued arranging the few things he felt would be needed for the holidays into his travel bag. He looked at his wrist watch. It was a quarter to two. His intention was to leave school at 4.00pm and he sincerely hoped he had not made a mistake by asking Tochukwu to come over to his place. The last time, he had wasted two hours of his valuable time discussing her game plan. He was sure she wanted feedback. He sat on his bed and picked up a magazine. As he flipped through the pages, his mind raced back to when he was dating her.

———–

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Living my life like it is yours

“I thought you lived on the island”.

“No, I don’t. I live on the mainland”. “Why would you think I live on the island?”

“I don’t know. I just assumed you did”.

Ever been involved in such conversations?

What is wrong with residing on the mainland? What has living on the mainland got to do with inferior means?

A number of us like “to belong”. Why can’t we just be ourselves? Why must we live our lives for others? Why must we seek the approval of others to feel fulfilled?

Living my life like it is yours

The truth is quite a number of people cannot afford the “killer” rent on the island. But how dem go say dem dey live for mainland when other people dey live for island? I dey wonder who those “other people” be oh.

They would rather use all their life savings on rent on the island than look for a decent accommodation on the mainland.

They would rather “swim” into their houses during the rainy season than walk/drive on dry land on the mainland. (There are few places on the mainland where you have to swim as well)

They would rather spend huge amounts of funds on generating electricity for their homes than manage to live with light/darkness on the mainland. “I beta pass my neighbour” is not island-compliant oh. Na only mainland dem dey use am……lol.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong if you have the funds and willing to spend it on housing on the island.

But for those living their lives for the fulfillment of others, it does not end at “living on the island”. Everyone is driving a big car, how I go come buy small one? Everyone is sending their kids to that school, how would I send mine to another? Everyone is dressing this way, how would I dress that way? Everyone is eating this, why would I eat that? Everyone is having a big wedding, how would I have a small one? Everyone is inviting the whole of Nigeria, how would I invite only family members?

It never ends. They always have to do it like “others”. Simply put, they have a complex problem.

Live your life like it is yours. You own it.

IT’S MY LIFE, IT’S YOUR LIFE!

———–

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 13

“This is not looking good”. Kunle said to himself. Tochukwu had caught him staring at Fadeke and knowing her antecedents, she would not keep her mouth shut. This was not news to Fadeke but it was definitely going to be to Chinedu. He put his palm on his forehead and closed his eyes, trying to think. He knew Tochukwu would love to have her pound of flesh because he jilted her. “Should I ignore the fact that she caught me staring at Fadeke? Would she mention it to Chinedu? Would he believe her? Chinedu isn’t one to believe telltale stories so that rules out the possibility of him taking note of whatever she would say. But I have to tread carefully”.

His obsession with Fadeke’s body was beginning to get out of hand. Since the day he saw her half-naked, his nights had been filled with dreams about her. That day had played itself over and over again in his dreams; his dreams taking him a step further than what he had seen. Each time, he woke up sweating and panting like one who had been on a race course. He sighed blowing air out of his mouth. “What have you gotten yourself into, Kunle? This is crazy, man. Damn crazy”.

“Hey, are you talking to yourself?” Chinedu said walking into Kunle’s room. “I heard you talking about crazy. What’s crazy?” He tapped his friend on the shoulder with a mischievous grin on his face.

“Oh, that was nothing”. Kunle replied taken aback. “I was just thinking about our final exams and all”.

“Hmm….you sure? Or is your new catch playing hard to get?” Chinedu asked walking towards the bed to sit down.

“My new catch?” Kunle asked looking lost.

“Yeah, your new catch. Are you okay? You have been disoriented of recent.”

“I’m good. Maybe the coming exams are getting to me”. Kunle replied forcing a smile. “I think….” He was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Come in. The door is open.” Chinedu replied turning towards the door.

As Tochukwu walked into the room, Chinedu and Kunle looked at each other with surprise boldly written on their faces. “It is already 10 pm and too late for a visit. What has come over her? Does she ever give up? I wish I was through with school and finally out of her reach.” Chinedu thought.

Kunle looked at her standing arms akimbo by the door and wondered. “Has she come to have her pound of flesh? She takes no prisoners. What better time to come see me than now? From the firm look on her face, she means business.

“Are you guys going to keep on looking at me like I was some newly acquired statue or would you offer me a seat?” Tochukwu hissed.

“You can have a seat”. Kunle said pointing to the lone chair in his room. “Don’t you think this is a little late for a visit?” He continued.

“Who decides what time is late? The guest or the host?”  She sneered, ignoring the chair as she walked towards the bed to sit beside Chinedu. As she sat down, she put her hands on his thigh and smiled at him. “Hi Chinedu. It’s been a while”.

To Love & to Hold 23

“Yeah, been a while”. He replied removing her hands from his thigh. “Kunle, we would talk tomorrow. It’s already late”. He said, standing up to leave the room.

Kunle could only respond with a nod. His mind was already running amok as he wondered what the whole charade with Chinedu was about. Is she back to her obsession with Chinedu? That would be good news. It would only mean she has gotten over me jilting her. He looked on as Chinedu closed the door behind him. He sat down on the bed absentmindedly and was jolted back to reality by Tochukwu’s hiss. “I did not realize you now find your fellow men attractive as well”.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Kunle asked in annoyance. She is really beginning to get on my nerves and the earlier she makes her mission known, the better for me.

“Exactly what I said. Do you also find men attractive or why were you staring at Chinedu as he walked out?”

“Look Tochukwu, I haven’t got time for this. Why are you here at this time of the night?” Kunle asked changing the topic.

“10 pm is now late to be in your room? Have you forgotten so quickly that we spent many late nights together in this same room?”. Tochukwu asked scornfully.

“Okay, can you get to the point?” Kunle asked getting impatient.

Tochukwu stood up from the bed and walked towards the window with her back to Kunle. She had a mission and Kunle’s impatience wasn’t going to stop her from what she had made up her mind to accomplish. She gradually unbuttoned her shirt and turned round to face Kunle when she was done. “What do you think you are doing?” Kunle asked shock written on his face.

Without a response, Tochukwu walked towards the bed, knelt down in front of him and planted a full kiss on his lips. Kunle who was too shocked to speak pulled her back and asked, “What exactly do you think you are doing?”

“Tell me you haven’t missed this”. She asked rolling her eyes seductively.

To Love & to Hold 23b

“Sincerely, I have”. Kunle replied his defenses breaking. “Come here, baby”. He continued as he pulled her up from her kneeling position to the bed. As he kissed her passionately, she responded just like she had done in times past and in a few minutes, she had undressed him to his underpants. As he was about to lay her down to take pleasure in her, she pushed him with so much force that he fell with his butt to the ground.

“What the …..?” Kunle cursed as he hit the ground.

“So you still have the guts?” She hissed buttoning her shirt. “Wow Kunle, you are so pathetic. Did you actually think I would go to bed with you again after all the pain you have caused me?” She asked shaking her head with pity. “And don’t even think you can force yourself on me. I am sure the whole school would like to know the treacherous friend who is hitting on his best friend’s babe”.

“Who told you I am hitting on her?” He asked standing up.

“Well…. I can see how good you are doing down there”. She mocked looking at his nether region.

“Who told you I am hitting on her?” He repeated as he picked up his trousers from the floor to wear it.

“She told me herself. Don’t even try to deny it or have you forgotten so soon that I saw you staring at her backside”.

“Accepted, I was looking and not staring at her”. He emphasized. “But I have never, I repeat never tried hitting on her. It was just….” He was saying and stopped mid-sentence. Fadeke and he had agreed to keep the incident of the other day a secret. Could Fadeke have told her what transpired between them? No, she wouldn’t. She knew that would be putting her relationship with Chinedu at stake.

“It was just what?” Tochukwu probed.

“It was just a coincidence that you saw me looking at her. I wonder why she would tell you that I was hitting on her”.

“Well, you must have given her that impression considering the way you were ogling at her”. Tochukwu said trying to scheme her way. “And I am sure you don’t want Chinedu finding out”.

“Get to the point, Tochukwu. She did not even know I was looking at her. What do you want?” Kunle snorted.

“I want Chinedu”. She replied matter-of-factly.

“Excuse me! This is not Chinedu’s room; so why tell me you want him when you know where to find him”.

“Hey, don’t play dumb with me. You and I know that Chinedu doesn’t want to have anything to do with me”. She retorted.

“You are not making any sense. You want someone who does not want you. How is that meant to be my business?”

“It is now, baby”. She said standing up and walking towards him. “You are going to get him for me or the whole school would know what you have been scheming with Fadeke”. She said whispering into his ears and giving him a peck on the cheek.

“You are such a bitch”. Kunle spat. “How am I supposed to achieve that when he can’t even stand you? “Besides, it is your word against mine.”

“Not when Fadeke has told me you are hitting on her.” She said with sarcasm. “So, we are in business”. She said clicking her tongue as she lay down on Kunle’s bed.

“What do you think you are doing?”

“I’m going to bed, isn’t that obvious? Or do you think I would go back to my hostel at this time of the night?” She said adjusting the pillow to suit her.

———–

Kunle looked at his wristwatch and realized it was already a quarter to midnight. He had wasted almost two hours talking to Tochukwu on a silly mission. He looked at her as she closed her eyes. What have I gotten myself into? I never imagined that I would be threatened by anyone, much less a woman I dated. Did I turn her into a bitch by jilting her or was she simply one by nature?

As he sat on the lone chair in his room, his mind roved for a solution. I could inform Chinedu about the silly mission; but wouldn’t that amount to shooting myself in the foot? Tochukwu had so many wiles up her sleeves. What if she decided to tell Chinedu a twisted story just to get back at me? And what is Fadeke’s position in all this? Did she actually tell Tochukwu that I was hitting on her or is this a fabricated story? Could she have told Tochukwu about the incident of that night?” He bit his upper lip and shook his head. Entangling himself from Tochukwu’s web was more difficult than he thought.

To Love & to Hold 24

All of a sudden, he raised his head to look at Tochukwu who was already fast asleep. It dawned on him that Fadeke wasn’t aware of Tochukwu’s obsession with Chinedu. How naïve she was. She had a traitor as a friend and in all this; she was bound to be the loser. As he lay back on the chair and closed his eyes, for the first time in a long while, Fadeke wasn’t the issue on his mind. Getting himself out of Tochukwu’s web was uppermost.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 12

Exams were around the corner and students were putting final touches to notes and handouts. Tochukwu sat in one of the classes in her faculty trying to compare a note she had borrowed from a course mate with hers. She raised her head for a moment trying to absorb what she had read and did not see Fadeke walk in. “Hey girl, are you here?” Fadeke smiled.

“I was trying to meditate on what I had read”. Tochukwu smiled back.

“Hmm…that’s what exams do to students”.

“So, what’s going on?” Tochukwu asked resting her chin on her palms.

“Just passing by and decided to check on my roommate”.

“Are you leaving for the hostel anytime soon?”

“No, not yet. I have a tutorial at 5pm”.

“Okay. See you later in the evening then”.

“Yeah, catch ya”. Fadeke said as she walked out of the class.

Tochukwu was about to bow her head to continue reading when she caught a glimpse of Kunle standing on the corridor outside the class. His new “jambite” girlfriend had her hands round his neck and Tochukwu remembered when she was in her shoes. She hissed, leaned over the table to see him clearly and watched him as he stared at Fadeke who was walking down the corridor. He smiled, tapped his fore finger gently on the tip of his nose and rubbed his chin continuously. The look on his face shocked Tochukwu. She saw him exhale and rub the back of his neck. As he looked away from Fadeke’s backside, he caught Tochukwu’s eyes and looked away. His girlfriend who had initially wondered who had caught his attention for the short period was smiling that she had his attention back.

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The look on Tochukwu’s face as she eyed Kunle was that of disgust. She couldn’t believe it. If she had not known Kunle, she would have called it a coincidence. But this was no coincidence; Kunle was attracted to Fadeke and it was obvious from the way he ogled at her. Did Chinedu know this? She wondered. She would have loved to see Chinedu’s expression when he found out that his best friend was attracted to his girlfriend? She wondered if Fadeke was aware and made a mental note to tell her what she had seen. She wanted to know what her roommate thought about Kunle’s attraction to her.

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Tochukwu looked at Fadeke expecting an astonished look. Her roommate continued reading as if she had not heard her. “Fadeke, did you or did you not hear what I just told you? Fadeke only grunted absent-mindedly. “I just told you that your boyfriend’s best buddy is attracted to you and you don’t seem to be bothered. What the heck is going on?” Tochukwu asked alarmed.

“Look Tochukwu. What do you want me to say? You just told me he is attracted to me, so what? An attraction, right? As long as he does not open his mouth to ask for anything, it would forever remain an attraction”. Fadeke snapped back.

“This is unheard of. So you are just going to sit there and do nothing about it?”

“You want me to do something? Okay, give me ideas. I really want to know what you would do if you were in my shoes”. Fadeke replied impatiently.

“You should let Chinedu know that…..

Fadeke’s laughter, full of sarcasm interrupted her. “Know that what? That his best friend is attracted to me? Excuse me, what do I intend to achieve by telling him?”

“He has a right to know what his best friend has up his sleeves”. Tochukwu said standing up and doing her best to convince Fadeke. “What was so special about her roommate that the two men who were meant to be in her life were craving for? What did Fadeke have that she was lacking? She stopped to take a look at herself in the mirror. She was more beautiful, by all standards. She had all the curves in the right places and she was never short of admirers, she knew that much.

To Love & to Hold 22b

“You haven’t answered my question, Tochukwu. What would be my intention?” Fadeke asked jolting her roommate back to reality.

“Don’t you think he would be hurt if he finds out later that you tried to cover up for his friend?

“And don’t you think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill? For crying out loud, you said it is an attraction. It hasn’t gone beyond that. Or is there something I should know that you are not saying? Fadeke asked searching her friend’s face for an answer.

“I don’t know what you mean”. Tochukwu said becoming evasive. “Look, just forget we had this conversation, okay? You don’t seem interested in mentioning it to Chinedu. Who knows? Maybe, you even have something up your sleeves as well”. She continued with an intention to get back at Fadeke.

Fadeke who had gone back to reading her book looked up with eyes flashing with anger. “Something up my sleeves? You think I have something to do with this, Tochukwu?” She asked her whole body seething with rage. “You know what? I think you are the one who really has something up your sleeves. Do you have a personal vendetta against Chinedu? What has he done to you that any mention of his name makes your blood boil? Since you broke up with whoever your boyfriend was, you turned into a wounded lion on a revenge mission. Tell me, what do you have against him?

“Everything”. She thought. She had everything against Chinedu. He was the reason why she was in this mess. He was the reason why she had dated Kunle in the first place. It was his fault that Kunle had broken up with her for some little tramp. His fault that Fadeke had become a rival. It was his fault that Kunle; the same boyfriend who jilted her was attracted to her rival. What wasn’t his fault, anyway? He was just a bastard as far as she was concerned. But she loved him. She wanted to have him as long as she lived. And no matter what, she was going to. Her emotions wavered on the thin line between love and hate. Yes, she hated him for doing all this to her. She squeezed her hands hard until her fingers dug into her palm. She would have him, regardless of Fadeke.

Fadeke who had been watching her friend all along was shocked at the expressions she saw. She saw hate in her friend’s eyes. She was also biting her lips and gritting her teeth. What was on her mind? All of a sudden, Tochukwu’s eyes softened and filled with tears and then determination. Whatever was on her mind was definitely a mix of emotions. Fadeke thought about asking her but knew it was no use. Tochukwu wasn’t going to let her into her deep secrets.

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Celebrating the mother, the mother-to-be and the adopted mother

Right from childhood, she is taught to be a home maker. “Clean up the house”, “Wash the dishes”, “Prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner”, “Wash the dirty clothes”. She grows older and she is already programmed to do these duties on auto-response.

If she remains single, her duties continue. If she gets married, her duties double. She has a husband to take care of. She prepares his meals, cleans the home and makes it habitable. If she has kids, then the duties come in multiples. “Mum, I am hungry”. “Mum, my knee hurts”. “Mum, I can’t sleep”. “Mum, I want to report my sister/brother”. “Mum, I need help with my homework”. “Mum, I can’t find my socks”.

The Mother

A woman cleans up the house, goes to the market to buy foodstuff, prepares the meals, cleans the dishes, does laundry, gets the kids ready for school, entertains the guests of the husband, helps with homework, puts the kids to bed, ensures the home is secure, prepares and manages a home budget.

Her job duties include being a cook, a dry cleaner, a house keeper, a caretaker, a nurse, a caregiver, a finance officer, a teacher, a security officer and many others.

For those who go out of the home to build a career, their duties become multi-faceted. They have to learn to manage both the home front and their career.

Multitasking career woman

Have you ever wondered how the woman is able to keep up?

Kudos to the girl-child, the teen girl, the single lady and the married woman out there. To the mums, the mums-to-be and the adopted mums, you are all worthy to be celebrated.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 11

In a few weeks, the entire campus was filled with excited students. The returning students were excited seeing the freshers while the latter were excited that they had been given admission into the university. Some of the “staylites” could be seen chatting up some of the freshers. It was a new session and the tradition was beginning to come into play.

It was going to be a busy session for Chinedu as it was his finals. He and Fadeke agreed that their lunch together wouldn’t be so often. However, Fadeke was free to visit him in his hostel anytime she wished. He gave her a spare key to his room so she could come in unhindered. This gladdened Fadeke’s heart as she saw it as his way of proving to everyone that their love was growing stronger and had come to stay.

*********

Kunle walked into the corridor leading to Chinedu’s room and saw the door to his room close. Chinedu had mentioned he would come back late as he had to see his project supervisor. He decided to check on him wondering why he changed his mind. He did not bother to knock on the door as he never did when going into his friend’s room. He opened the door and saw Fadeke who was half naked and frightened as she struggled to cover up herself.

To Love & to Hold 20b

For a minute, he stood staring at her body before he realized all of a sudden that it was his best friend’s girlfriend he was gawking at with his mouth open. Fadeke was embarrassed by the look on Kunle’s face and tried to speak but before she could utter a word, Kunle walked out and slammed the door leaving her astonished.

Kunle walked as fast as his legs could carry him without looking back. As he entered into his room, he stood behind the door panting. What just happened in there? He had seen Fadeke stripped down to her underwear and he had stood there rooted to the spot staring at her body. She was a beautiful lady but he never thought seeing her body would trigger emotions in him. He had dated so many girls on campus and had had his way with a lot of them but this was a different feeling. He put his hand on his temples trying to ease the pain that was beginning to build up in his head. Whatever feelings or emotions he had while staring at her had to be discarded. She was dating his best friend and there was an unspoken agreement between his circle of friends that they never snitched each other’s babes.

********

Kunle lay on his bed lost in thought. He knew Fadeke had been embarrassed and he had not even bothered to apologize. All he wanted to do was run as fast as his legs could carry him. He wondered what she would have been thinking as he stared at her. She was shocked as she obviously wasn’t expecting anyone to walk in. He silently said his thanks to God that Chinedu hadn’t walked in while he was gawking at her body. Even though, Chinedu trusted him, he knew it would have been difficult convincing him that it wasn’t a deliberate action. He was not aware that Chinedu had given Fadeke the key to his room. He smiled and spoke to himself “That guy is sure in love with her”. How nice it would have been to touch and feel her. Her luscious lips on his shooting beams of passion in him. Her moans in response to his gentle caresses. His gentleness and care while trying to have his way with her and….. “Kunle, are you okay?” Chinedu slapped his friend on the wrist.

To Love & to Hold 21

“Aww….that hurt”. Kunle said rubbing his eyes and sitting up.

“Who were you thinking about or rather dreaming about that had you smiling in your sleep?”

“Oh, was I?” Kunle asked looking perplexed.

“You had this smile on your face and you were even licking your lips”. Chinedu laughed. “Hmm…..I hope it’s not one of those new chicks you have been hanging around with of recent that you were fantasizing about”.

“If only he knew that it wasn’t any new chick but his beloved Fadeke he was trying to have his way with in his sleep”. He must have fallen asleep while thinking about what happened earlier.

“Anyway, what’s going on?” Kunle asked discarding every thought.

“Good. I am just coming in from school and decided to stop by your room”.

“That meant he hadn’t been to his room or seen Fadeke”. Kunle thought.

“You sure you okay, man?” Chinedu asked with concern.

“I am cool. Just a little distracted”.

“I can imagine”. Chinedu laughed. “I need your Risk management note. I want to clarify some stuff I’m not sure about”.

“No issues. They are right there on the table”. Kunle said pointing towards his reading table.

“Thanks. You are the man”. Chinedu said as he picked up the note.

As Chinedu was about walking out of the room, he looked at his friend once more and said, “If you need a listening ear, you know where to find me”.

“Thanks dawg”. Kunle said standing up as they shook hands with bent elbows and hugged halfway patting each other at the back. As he stood alone in his room, he looked heavenwards and wondered aloud; “What the heck is wrong with me?”

*************

Fadeke avoided going to Chinedu’s hostel for the next three weeks. Chinedu noticed and asked why she stopped visiting. She however, lied that she was getting busier with school work. She was unable to get over the incident during her last visit. Her period had started unexpectedly and she needed to do a quick change. Since her hostel was a distance from campus, Chinedu’s room had been a better option. She knew he would stay back late in school as his project had been keeping him of recent. In her rush to quickly clean herself up and change, she had forgotten to lock the door behind her.

She was stunned when Kunle walked in and the look on his face gave him away. He was attracted to her body. She was so humiliated that immediately he walked out of the room, she got dressed quickly and left for her hostel. She was jumpy all through the evening, expecting the worst from Chinedu. She wasn’t sure of what to think. Would Kunle tell Chinedu what happened? If he did, would Chinedu believe that it wasn’t a deliberate action? Tochukwu noticed her nervousness and asked if she was okay. She was too embarrassed to talk about it and decided it was best no other person knew about the incident. She only hoped Kunle would be quiet about it as well.

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“Hey baby, how are you doing?” Chinedu asked as Fadeke picked up on the first ring.

“Good”. She replied as she walked down her faculty building clutching the phone between her head and right shoulder.

“It’s been a while since we had lunch together. Could we do one today? 2 o’clock?”

“Sure. The usual place?”

“Yeah. I’ll be waiting”. Chinedu said.

“No problem, darling. See you at 2”.

She was glad the spark in their relationship hadn’t abated. She was trying to put her phone in her bag when she bumped into someone who seemed to be in a hurry.

To Love & to Hold 21b

“Hey, watch where you…..” She said as she stopped mid-sentence.

“I’m sorry I bumped into you”. Kunle said picking up her bag which had fallen to the ground by reason of the impact.

“I’m sorry. I was also distracted”.

“I hope you are not hurt”. He asked giving her the bag.

As she collected her bag from him, his hand brushed hers. She froze for a few seconds and looked away. “No, I am not hurt. Thank you”. She said as she started walking away.

“Fadeke, I…I…I’m sorry about….” He stammered as she turned back to look at him.

“You don’t have to be”. She said avoiding his gaze.

“I did not realize you had a key to Chinedu’s room. He had told me earlier that he would like to see his supervisor and would leave school later than usual. I assumed he was the one that walked in”.

“It’s okay. I hope you would not mention it”. She asked still unable to look at him.

“No way. I wouldn’t do that. Trust me”. He said trying to touch her. She drew back spontaneously and Kunle immediately dropped his hand.

“You have a great body, I must confess”. He said and immediately regretted that he had as she looked at him with disgust and walked away.

“Oh God”. He said wondering why he had voiced out his thoughts.

He looked on as Fadeke walked down the corridor without looking back.

Fadeke could feel her temperature rising as she walked away. He even had the guts to talk about her body. She assumed he was remorseful over the incident. Could he have done it intentionally? But what would have been his motive? Kunle was Chinedu’s best friend and they talked about almost everything. Was he capable of betraying his friend? She wasn’t sure of what to think any longer. She wished she could talk to someone about it but she was scared that she could be misunderstood. Tochukwu hadn’t proved to be good at keeping sealed lips. She couldn’t also talk to Chinedu as she wasn’t sure of what his response would be. Besides, she wasn’t ready to jeopardize her relationship or be the root of a friction between two friends. As she prepared for her lunch date with Chinedu, just one thing filled her mind; how to keep her relationship secure.

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In the land of the living

Her fork dropped to the floor. She continued chatting with her friends as she bent down to pick it up from under the table. She was smiling at what one of them had said and was about to respond. Suddenly, her smile turned into shock. There were hooves on the other side of the table. Her friends sat across from her. How come they had hooves instead of human legs?

She slowly raised her head from the table and everywhere turned dark. It was daylight just before her fork dropped to the floor. What happened to her friends who were having breakfast with her just now in the dining hall? She heard wicked laughter. She screamed and ran out of the hall as fast as her legs could carry her.

In the land of the living

She did not stop until she got back to her room in the girls hostel. Even the gates of the hostel had been open. It was usually locked at night by the house mistress. All the friends she saw some minutes ago in the dining hall lay on their beds sleeping quietly oblivious to her predicament. She burst into tears and awoke a few. One by one, they woke the others.

She had been sleeping on her bed. Her friends had woken her up informing her that the wake-up bell had rung. She had not heard it. She had hurriedly taken her bath, done her morning duty and gone with her friends to the dining hall for breakfast. Nothing had seemed different. Everything was a normal routine.

She was pulled out of the school by her parents after that term. She had become paranoid. She jumped at every sound and was always hysterical.

What actually happened? No one knows.

It could best be described as a horror movie.

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 10

The second semester was in full swing and all students ran around in order to get their course forms signed by their lecturers. A few of them had started receiving lectures and every nook and cranny of the school was filled with students. Fadeke and Tochukwu had settled down in their hostel and by an unspoken agreement, they both steered clear of discussing about Chinedu.

Fadeke hadn’t had the time to ask Chinedu about Tochukwu’s behaviour and the more she thought about it, the more she felt there was probably nothing to it. Fadeke and Chinedu still went for lunch together but not as frequently as it had been in their first semester. Chinedu was getting busier with lectures as most of them weren’t spaced apart. Everything went on smoothly and before they realized, it was time for another round of exams. School grew tense as students stayed out late to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while a few read in the halls overnight.

In three weeks, exams were over and students started saying their goodbyes. Fadeke made up her mind she wasn’t going to make the same mistake like the last time. She called Chinedu to find out if she could visit him in his hostel since he had adamantly refused to visit hers. He had no choice but to oblige. He had kept her away from his hostel for too long. Besides, Tochukwu was the threat; he thought. As he prepared a dish of noodles spiced with onions, tomatoes and sardine, he reminisced on his encounter with Kunle the previous night.

Kunle had come to his room so they could read together and share notes on a subject. After discussing for about an hour, Kunle asked, “My guy, are you really serious with this Fadeke babe? You guys seem to be getting fond of each other by the day”.

“I told you I was”.

“I know you did but don’t you think you may be going a little too fast. I mean, give yourself another shot at someone else.”

“You mean I should double date?” Chinedu queried.

“It is not called double dating. It is having an insurance against any eventuality”.

“Which could be?” Chinedu looked at his friend, his eyebrows raised.

“Hey, dawg, don’t look at me that way. You could get hurt. You know that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I know I could get hurt. But you know who would do that; the other lady you want me to have as insurance”.

“You can’t be too sure about that. Ladies are all the same. They stick to you like leeches when all is well and turn their backs on you when the going gets tough”. Kunle said matter-of-factly.

“If they are truly leeches, wouldn’t you rather deal with one than combat with two?”

“Well, I mean no harm. It’s just that you aren’t experienced at this game, that’s why I’m bothered”. Kunle said shrugging his shoulders.

Chinedu laughed. “I understand your pain, man. I’m up to the task”.

He smiled as he thought about Kunle’s concern. He needed to meet Fadeke to realize that she was totally different. He had brought in his cooked pot of noodles from the kitchen when he heard a knock on his door. “It’s open”. He called out.

Fadeke opened the door gently and peeped in. Chinedu wasn’t wearing a shirt and had his back to the door. She entered into the room and as he turned around to welcome her, she put her hand to her mouth. “Hi dear, is there a problem?” He asked.

“No. I’m just….well, you look hot without a shirt on”. She said shyly avoiding his gaze.

“Thank you”. He answered as he set down the pot on a pot stand.

“You obviously work out”.

“Well, not every day. I only do when I have the time”.

“So, what’s cooking?” She asked changing the topic to hide her nervousness.

“Why don’t you sit down, then I’ll let you in on my special dish”. Chinedu laughed.

She sat on the chair by the reading table and fidgeted with her hands. Chinedu noticed and took his shirt from where he had hung it by the wall and wore it. As he buttoned his shirt, he continued, “I prepared my special noodles for you”.

“Special noodles for me?” She asked giggling, clearly more relaxed.

“Yes. Don’t make fun of it. It is a delicacy any day”.

“Don’t you think I should be the judge of that?” She teased.

“Alright”. He said picking up a plate and dishing a spoonful of noodles into it. “My Lord, may I know my judgment”. He said doing a mock bow and stretching out the plate to Fadeke.

She collected the plate from him and took a forkful of noodles and smiled. Chinedu looked at her face expectant. “So?” He asked impatiently.

To Love & to Hold 19b

“Here is my judgment”. She said smiling.

Chinedu stood at attention with his face morose. On seeing the look on Chinedu’s face, Fadeke burst out laughing. She laughed so hard that tears streamed down her eyes; all the while Chinedu smiled.

“I love it when you laugh”. He said when she stopped laughing. She looked away shy, that she had loosened up too much. Chinedu noticed and quickly changed the topic.

“So, you were about to deliver your judgment?”

“It’s nice”.

“Just nice”.

“And spicy”.

“Nice and spicy. I hope you like it”. He said getting another plate so he could dish for himself.

They ate and talked for close to three hours discussing about their exams and agreeing to leave school the same day. Chinedu hadn’t forgotten his encounter with Tochukwu last semester and he did not want a repeat performance. Fadeke also succeeded in convincing him to ride with her to Lagos instead of going by public transport. After all was settled, Chinedu walked her down to the bus-stop. As he walked back to his room, he smiled to himself. Kunle was wrong. If anyone was going to get him hurt, it definitely wasn’t Fadeke.

********

The holidays were soon over before they realized it and they started preparing for another session in a hurry. Chinedu went to his mum’s room the night before travelling to discuss with her.

“Mum, I have found the lady I want to spend the rest of my life with. I would love to marry her when the time is right”. He said.

“A wife?”

“Yes”. He nodded.

“Hmm”. She exhaled. “Are you sure?”

“I have never been so sure of anything. We have only dated for a year but I feel like I have known her for so long. Mummy, you would love her when you meet her. She’s so unassuming and gentle”.

“A year is quite short. Don’t you think so?” She looked at her son. “However, if you love her that much, I guess I would give you my blessings….”

Chinedu was so happy, he stood up from where he was sitting to hug his mother.

“I haven’t finished”. She said returning the hug. “I have to meet her before I can give you my total blessings”.

“That is not a problem, mum. I’ll bring her home during our next holidays. Is that okay?”

She shook her head in an unsure manner and shrugged, “Okay. It’s fine by me”.

As Chinedu lay on his bed trying to catch some sleep that night, he received a text message from Fadeke. She asked him to wait at an agreed bus-stop so that they could ride together to school. It was a nice idea but he did not think it was a wise one. Her dad’s driver was going to drop her at school. What if someone saw him in her father’s car? He objected replying that he would rather go by public transport. He received another text from her a minute later asking if he was ashamed of her and did not want to be seen with her. He replied immediately saying he would never be ashamed of her as she had become a part of him. Fadeke smiled on reading the text. “Then prove it by riding with me”. She replied. He thought about it for a while. He could save some money and also catch up on some gist on the journey back. “Okay, you win. Pick me up at Berger bus-stop”. He texted back to her.

*********

The journey back to school was uneventful. They sat together at the back of Fadeke’s father Lexus Jeep and talked on end about the new session and the expectations of most students. Chinedu noticed that Fadeke grew quiet when he mentioned the freshers who would be milling around the school the next few weeks. She seemed lost in thought all of a sudden and he guessed the security of their relationship was on her mind. How was he to broach the topic? It did not seem like the right place as he did not want the driver overhearing what he had to say.

She did have a lot on her mind. Was Chinedu going to stick to her as promised? She would not be able to handle it if he eventually confirmed her fears. She hoped against all that for her sake, he would surprise everyone. Tochukwu would be the first to laugh her to scorn if Chinedu ever broke off their relationship. As she looked out the window, her heart pounded in her chest and she willed it to be still.

Fadeke clasped and squeezed her hands in anxiety. Chinedu wished he could pull her into his arms and reassure her that his love for her had come to stay. Trying not to be noticed by the driver, he stretched out his hand and held hers. She turned to look at him and there were tears in her eyes. He shook his head and smiled and she knew without words that she had nothing to fear.

To Love & to Hold 20

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