To Love and to Hold – Episode 31

The weekend passed by in a jiffy for Fadeke and she was back in the office on Monday. This time, she decided to take a look at the signage on the ground floor to know which organization was on the 5th floor. The Excellent Auditors, the signage read. “So could it mean we both work in the same building?” Even if they did, she wasn’t ready to find out. She walked straight into the elevator and pressed the 12th button. As far as she was concerned, Chinedu was a closed chapter in her life.

Chinedu resumed in his office an hour later with one mission on his mind; to find out if Fadeke worked in the building. He wasn’t sure of the floor she had taken the elevator from but he was going to find out nonetheless. He tried to remember the way she was dressed the previous night. She was wearing a grey pant suit and carried an ash coloured hand bag and a laptop bag. Did she have an ID card on? He closed his eyes and tried to think. He remembered seeing a green lanyard wound round her left hand; that could only mean one thing. She worked in the building. The green lanyard was the ID of the National bank on the 12th floor.

He had been transferred to Lagos two years ago and had worked in the building the last two years. He wondered how come their paths had never crossed. Maybe, she just got employed with the bank. He had a few friends who worked with the bank and they had gone for lunch together on occasions. He had looked for her for six years. He wasn’t going to let her slip away this time. For four years, he hadn’t been able to get over the pain. She had left without a word and had made no contact. He lost interest in other ladies and had diverted his whole attention to work. At a point, his mother had to step in. “You can’t remain single for life just because of Fadeke. Life goes on and you have to move beyond the past”. She had said. He tried dating two ladies when his mother would not let him be but the relationships never worked out. His attention was always divided. He was in a relationship presently and his mother was glad that this seemed to be working out. It was the longest he had had in the last twenty months. The previous ones hadn’t lasted beyond three months but this was in the fifth month. He would finally settle down with someone and his mother was glad. He was indifferent but he just wanted to make his mother happy. So he was trying his best to make the relationship work.

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He stood up from his desk as he dialed on his mobile phone.

“Wassup?”

“I need a favour”. Chinedu replied.

“Okay”.

“Does any Fadeke Peters work in your office?”

“Yep! Regional Key Accounts Manager”.

“Really?”

“Yeah. You know her?”

“Hmm…something like that”. Chinedu said.

His friend chuckled. “Or you want to know her? She’s a beautiful chic and mehn, guys here are falling over for her”.

Even after so many years, he had to admit that she was as beautiful as she was when she was younger.

“So?”

“No, I don’t want to know her in that sense. She looks familiar and I just wanted to confirm if she is the same person I know”. Chinedu replied.

“Oh okay. So are we meeting up today or you busy?”

He thought for a few seconds. “Nah, not today. I got a lot on my plate today”.

“No qualms. See ya”.

He walked back to his seat thinking. So she was the Regional Key Accounts Manager at the bank. He would have loved to ask more questions. If she was recently employed, what time she left the office daily, if he knew anything about her personal life, but his friend would have known that there was more to the questions. He would have to find out every other information himself.

As much as Fadeke tried, her mind was half at work. She had never taken note that Excellent Auditors had an office in the building. Even if she was aware, the last she knew, Chinedu was in the Abuja office. Had he been moved to Lagos? Seeing him had brought back painful memories but she just wanted to know. She willed her heart to be still and put in an extra effort into getting her job done for the day. Chinedu was history and he had to remain so. By 6.30p.m, she was picking her handbag and laptop and looking forward to an evening with Kike.

Chinedu sat in his car waiting. He had closed at 5.30p.m and had been sitting in the car the last one hour. He wasn’t sure how long he would have to wait but he wasn’t bothered about that. His girlfriend, Amara, had called about thirty minutes ago and he had told her he had issues to deal with in the office. This was one issue he had to sort out today.

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He was trying to recline his seat a little more when he saw her walking towards her car parked a few metres away. He dropped his face a few inches and tried to remain unseen. She dropped her laptop bag into the booth of the car and eased into the car with her handbag. He saw her pick up a blue tooth gadget and fixed it to her ear. She reversed the car and was out on the road. When he noticed she had gone a little distance, he started his car and followed her.

She drove into the expressway and was soon on the third mainland bridge. He kept a safe distance but made sure he did not lose sight of her. Traffic was light which was unusual for a Monday. They came off the bridge about ten minutes later and she faced the Gbagada axis turning in at Anthony Village.

He followed still.

She turned into an estate and honked at the front of a traffic barrier. He waited at the tail end of the street from where she had turned in and watched. The traffic barrier was lifted and she drove in. He wasn’t sure if he should follow. He was still undecided when he saw her honk again in front of a black gate. A young dark skinned man wearing a blue Jalabiya opened the gate and closed it after she drove in.

So that was where she stayed. He made a reverse back into the adjoining street and drove home.

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Chinedu closed a little earlier from work. He hadn’t been able to sleep all through the night. How he was going to accomplish his mission had been uppermost on his mind and that had kept him mostly awake. As he eased into his car and drove out of the car park, he said a little prayer in his heart that his action would not boomerang right in his face.

He got to the estate and honked in front of the traffic barrier. A man peeped out of a gate house and walked towards his side. He wound down the window.

“Madam Fadeke’s house”. He said.

The man walked back to the gate house and lifted the barrier.

As he drove into the close, he parked by the fence adjoining the house and the next to it. He opened the back door of his car and brought out a big box wrapped with purple ribbons. He walked towards the gate and tapped on it on getting there. The man in the Jalabiya opened a shutter on the gate and asked; “Yes?”

“I’d like to see madam”.

“Which madam?”

“Madam Fadeke”.

He eyed him. “She neva come back from work”.

“Can I drop something for her?”

“From where you dey come?”

“Na someone say make I drop this thing for her”. He lifted up the box for him to see.

“Okay. Wait, make I go ask Ma Win”. The man said as he pulled the shutter close.

“Ma Win?” He shrugged in confusion. Well, he was asked to wait; he definitely would. There was no turning back.

The man was back in a few minutes and he opened the gate for him. “Ma Win say make you enter”.

“Thank you”. Chinedu replied.

The house was a bungalow and it had beautiful shrubbery planted round it. He tapped on the door and it was opened by an elderly lady. She was wearing a pink boubou that was heavily embroidered.

“Good evening ma’am”.

She smiled. “Good evening. I’m told you have a package for Fadeke”.

“Yes ma’am”.

“Can I receive it or will it be too heavy for me to carry?” Ma Win asked.

Chinedu smiled. “I would rather carry it in myself and not put you through the trouble.”

She stepped aside. “Please come in”.

“Thank you”.

He walked into the living room and smiled. The whole room was filled with touches of green and purple. He noticed some toys to one end of the room and wondered about them.

“You can drop the box in that corner”. She pointed to a section beside the toys.

He dropped it carefully.

“So who should I tell her this is from?”

“Erm…erm…actually it is from me”. He stammered.

“From you?”

“Yes ma’am”.

She looked at him carefully. “Sit down”.

He did as she bade.

“Who are you?”

He sighed. This was a story he had not had to relay in years.

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Photo Credit: http://www.gettyimages.com

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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