To Love and to Hold – Episode 19

The holidays were soon over and the second semester started with a flurry of activities. Final year students milled around the campus with their projects; trying to put finishing touches to them. It was going to be a busy semester and Fadeke knew she would be seeing less of Chinedu. She, however was not bothered. He had proved time and time again that she meant a lot to him and the few times they spent together were always worth the wait. She hadn’t heard from Tochukwu throughout the holiday and she wondered if her relationship with Chinedu or Kunle’s attraction to her was still the bone of contention. She hadn’t thought about Kunle as well or asked after him from Chinedu. She did not need the distraction anyway. As far as she was concerned, both of them were distractions to her love life.

Fadeke walked into the room and saw Tochukwu’s travel box filled with all her clothes. She noticed her wardrobe was empty and she wondered what was wrong. “Is everything okay, Tochukwu?”

She responded without looking up from the box she was arranging. “Yep”.

To Love & to Hold 30

“So, where are you going with all your clothes stuffed in your travel box?”

“My new apartment”.

Fadeke looked astonished. “Your new apartment?”

“Yes, Fadeke. My new apartment”. Tochukwu replied rising up and standing akimbo.

Different thoughts filtered through Fadeke’s mind. Tochukwu was changing rooms either because she couldn’t stand her relationship with Chinedu or because she had refused to tell him about Kunle’s attraction to her. There was definitely more to this than she knew. Whatever, it was, she was going to find out.

“Do you have anything to say to that?” Tochukwu asked spoiling for a fight.

“No, not at all. I enjoyed the short period we spent together”.

Tochukwu was shocked at the statement. She wasn’t expecting to hear that. She couldn’t bear the midnight calls Fadeke and Chinedu shared together any longer. Even though, Fadeke always faced the wall and spoke in a whisper, she often strained to hear what they were discussing. She pretended to be asleep and Fadeke never knew she eavesdropped on their conversation. Since she had decided to let Chinedu go for now, she thought it best to also let go of anything that reminded her of him. Fadeke was definitely a constant reminder of her failure and she did not need that.

Sensing that Fadeke wasn’t interested in a fight, she replied; “Thanks. I really need to change rooms. I need to be alone”.

“So, you are taking one of the mini flats in the annex, I guess”.

“Yes. There are vacant rooms there so I spoke with the landlord and he agreed”.

“No qualms. I hope you would still keep in touch”.

“Of course, I would. We are still on the same campus, aren’t we?”

As Tochukwu was about taking out what was left of her things in the room, Fadeke asked; “Tochukwu, who is the guy that broke up with you last session? It just occurred to me that you never mentioned his name”.

Tochukwu froze at the question. She had never mentioned Kunle because she did not want Fadeke linking her to Chinedu. Kunle was Chinedu’s best friend and if she ever mentioned him to Fadeke, she knew one way or the other; her well kept secrets would be in the open.

“Just some silly guy. That’s history now”.

“I was just asking. I hope it’s no offence”.

She laughed sardonically. “Offence?” She waved her hands away as if flicking off a fly.

“Take care of yourself”.

“I would”. She said as she closed the door behind her.

Tochukwu lay on her bed in her newly acquired apartment. The mini flat had the same amenities like her previous room; but now, she had a living room, a kitchen, a toilet and a bathroom to herself. She was angry at how the day had played out. She had been spoiling for a fight and Fadeke had been so calm. Why did Fadeke still have to be so nice to her? She had expected her to say the wrong word and she would have gone all out to give her a piece of her tongue. Unfortunately, that hadn’t happened and now, she was angry. She wondered what prompted the question about Kunle. She had had to think fast. Make the topic a non-issue. She was glad that her cover was not blown. Chinedu would be graduating this semester and she needed to be better prepared for her next line of action. Time was what she needed and this was a step towards her next set of plans.

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Fadeke had prepared noodles for Chinedu just the way he loved it; spicy. She had come back early from lectures and since there was really nothing for her to do in her room, she decided to go hang out in Chinedu’s for a while. Not having a roommate any longer, she got bored easily. Sometimes, she watched the television or listened to music in her room while at other times; she got busy by cooking for Chinedu and awaited his return.

After the last incident with Kunle, she had learnt to lock herself inside. She did not want a repeat of the incident; besides, it could be someone else next time. She was tired and hungry and considered eating but on second thoughts, she decided to wait till Chinedu returned. She opened her bag to take out some biscuits and was about settling down on the bed when she heard three taps on the door. Chinedu had arrived as that was his signature. She had once laughed over it and he had told her that apart from recognizing that he was the one at the door, it could also serve for security reasons.

She stood up to unlock the door.

“Hi baby”. He said kissing her full on the lips.

“Hey, at this rate, you are going to make me elope with you”. She laughed.

“I’d be the happiest man on earth”.

She nudged him. “My parents will kill me”.

“That is if you are found; because I would have taken you so far away that no one would have the slightest hint of where we are”.

“Hmm….maybe I could consider that option”. She said smiling.

“I can smell noodles”. He sniffed and tickled her at the same time.

She laughed and tried to get his hands off her. “I’m hungry. I was actually waiting for you so we could eat together”.

“How nice”.

She got out two plates and started to dish out the food. “Chinedu, there’s something I have been intending to ask you”.

“Okay”. He said as he collected one of the plates from her.

“Do you know the guy that dumped Tochukwu last session?”

He wasn’t sure where the question and what his answer could lead to; at the same time, he did not want to lie to her. “I do”.

She looked up from her plate. “Really?”

“Yes. Why do you ask?”

“Tochukwu never mentioned his name. I asked her the other day, she was moving her things out but she simply said he was history”.

She did not want her roommate finding out about Kunle. He thought. That could only mean one thing; she did not want Fadeke linking Kunle to him. Considering what she had done in the past, he wasn’t surprised.

“Chinedu…..”

He suddenly heard her voice. “Did you say something?”

To Love & to Hold 30b

“Are you okay?”

He forced a smile. “Of course”.

“I was saying that in school today, I had…..” She continued talking as they ate and even though Chinedu sat right there beside her, he did not hear a single word of what she was saying. He smiled intermittently trying to make her feel like she was been heard. All his thoughts were on Tochukwu. What was she up to this time? Only time will tell.

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

The semester moved faster than they had envisaged and in a few weeks, the students were getting ready to write their exams. The flurry of activities took over; Chinedu and Fadeke barely seeing each other. Even the midnight calls had been reduced to once during the weekdays but they tried to catch up on gists during the weekends. Chinedu paid visits to Fadeke’s room; now that Tochukwu was out and most of his weekends were spent there. They watched the television, listened to music, cooked and ate together. On one of such weekends together, they both lay on the bed talking.

“In a few weeks, I would be through with my exams. I don’t know where I would be posted to do my youth service”.

She rose up resting her weight on her elbows. “I have thought about it as well and sincerely, anytime I think about it, I feel jitters down my spine”.

“I hope I am not posted to a place where I would have to take a boat to get to civilization”. He laughed.

“That would be real fun. Don’t you think?”

“Hey……” He nudged her. “That would mean no quick visits to see you”.

She thought about what he had said and shook her head vigorously. “No, I hope that does not happen”. She rested her head on his chest and sighed.

He knew that sigh meant a lot. “What are you thinking about, my love?”

“Just wondering”.

“What about?”

“We are going to be apart for a whole year. My dad knows a few people who can assist in getting you the state you desire but….”.

“Your father is a no-no”.

She sighed again.

“Don’t get yourself worked up. I pray I don’t get posted somewhere too far. You can be rest assured I would pay you visits in school, but the frequency of the visits would depend on the distance”.

She looked up at him and smiled. “I really do love you”.

“And I love you too puff puff cheeks”. He said rubbing his thumb on her cheeks.

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About Olubukola

Olubukola is a writer and blogger. She loves reading and imaginative writing. She has authored two romance stories namely “Second Chances” and “To Love and to Hold” which have been published on Okadabooks.com and on Amazon.com. Her author page on Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/author/olubukolaadekusibe/ Olubukola is the creative director of NDJs; a fashion label, whose mission is to create and provide classy yet simple pieces with African prints for the everyday woman regardless of the function she finds herself in. Asides writing, reading and fashion designing, Olubukola is also passionate about inspiring music, dance and arts. She currently works and lives with her family in Lagos, Nigeria.

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