Tunde became a constant feature in the home of the Samuels’ walking in and out of their residence at will. Bayo Samuel took his daughter to his office and introduced her to the staff as the new Executive Director. The news made headlines the next day. “Shalewa Samuel becomes Executive Director at Samuel Group of Companies.”
With a business deal sealed between Tunde and Bayo Samuel, the prospects of Tunde getting married to Shalewa were raised. Business meetings in the Samuel Group of Companies became a regular feature in Tunde’s calendar. Bayo Samuel began to relate with him as he would a son-in-law.
One afternoon after a business meeting together, Bayo called Tunde aside. “What’s happening between you and Shalewa? When would I see an engagement ring on her finger?”
Tunde laughed. “Very soon sir. I don’t want her to feel rushed.”
Bayo looked at him with surprise. “Rushed? Her mother and I have accepted you as family already. You should get it done as soon as possible.”
“I will, sir.” Tunde answered.
Bayo looked around as if watching out for eavesdroppers, moved closer to Tunde before whispering in his ears. “You know she isn’t getting any younger. The earlier, the better. Hmm…you get my drift.” He said as he winked at Tunde.
“Hey darling. How was your day?” Tunde asked later that evening, as Shalewa picked up on the second ring.
“It was okay.”
“Can I pick you up for dinner tonight? Maybe 7.00p.m.”
“Okay. I would still be in the office, though.”
“Works perfectly for me. Just tell the driver to take your car home. I would drop you off after dinner.”
Three hours later, Tunde and Shalewa were seated in a classy restaurant making small talk over dinner. As they were served dessert, Tunde held Shalewa’s hands on the table and looked lovingly into her eyes.
“Shalewa, I love you with the whole of my heart.”
Shalewa looked away without uttering a word.
“My grandma is eager to meet you. She raised me after I lost my mum and with my dad also gone, she is one person I would love you to meet.”
Shalewa took a deep breath.
“Tunde, I have no issues meeting with your grandma. I would also love to meet the woman who raised a fine young man; but how else do you want me to explain to you that I don’t love you the way you love me. I love our relationship the way it is but I don’t think I am meant for you.”
Tunde smiled as he looked at Shalewa. “I know you love me, maybe not like I do. With time, you would get there.”
“Time? Tunde, we have been seeing each other for some months now and I am yet to fall in love with you. I doubt time will sort this out.”
“Let’s not spoil the evening, okay. We can talk about this some other time.” Tunde concluded.
Two weeks later, Tunde took Shalewa to see his grandmother. She was delighted to see Shalewa as she began to sing and dance, rejoicing that her eyes had seen her beautiful wife.
Even though Shalewa was happy to see the elderly woman, she was not comfortable with the innuendos from her. She wished she could stop the woman but she felt she would be rude to tamper with the woman’s joy.
On the drive back, Shalewa was very quiet as she looked out of the window by her side. Tunde noticed and placed his right hand on hers. “What is the problem, Shalewa?”
“You weren’t so quiet when we were going to my grandma’s place.”
“That’s because I had no idea what you had told your grandmother.”
Tunde stopped the car and engaged the gear in park.
“Shalewa, I love you. Don’t you understand?”
“And I don’t.” Shalewa said in exasperation.
“What would you have me do?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just want to be left alone.”
Tunde began to drive again without saying a word. He could not understand why Shalewa was blind to the love he had for her. He loved her with the whole of his heart and he looked forward to living the rest of his life with her. He sighed as he slotted a CD into the music player to fill in the silence between himself and Shalewa.
Some minutes later, Tunde drove into the Samuel’s residence. Shalewa said a quiet “thank you” and walked into her house without looking back to say “good bye.”
The next day, Bayo Samuel was about retiring to bed when he called his wife for a heart to heart discussion. “Funke, I think you need to talk to your daughter. Do you know that she was upset that Tunde took her to see his grandma?”
“Yes, I have given him a go-ahead to propose to Shalewa. So, he took her to see his grandma and he mentioned it to me yesterday after our business meeting that she got upset.”
“Ah ah….what is wrong with her nau? Doesn’t she realize that she is no longer a child and needs to get married?”
“Well, I thought the same. You better talk some sense into her. Tunde is a good man, well brought up and enterprising. What else is she looking for?”
Funke exhaled. “I will talk to her.”
Shalewa was seated at her mini-library in her room going through some documents she had brought from the office when her mum knocked on the door. Before she could answer, her mum opened the door and peeped in. “Busy?” She asked.
Shalewa looked at her mum and smiled. “Not too busy to talk to my mum.”
Funke walked in and sat on her daughter’s bed. “I hope you are not overworking yourself. You need to take it easy.”
“I know mum. I am not overworking myself. Besides, there was no time to go through all these documents in the office, that is why I decided to bring them home.”
Shalewa turned to face her mum. “So what’s up? Any gist for me?”
“Mum? Is there a problem?” Shalewa asked as she stood up from the chair and sat beside her mum on the bed.
“Yes, Omoshalewa mi.”
Shalewa knew what was coming next. Her mum only called her full name when she had something very important to discuss and of recent, the only important issue had been her marital status.
“He told dad, right?”
“Yes, he did.”
“Why would he? What exactly is his problem?” Shalewa asked getting upset.
“Omoshalewa mi, you have no reason to be upset. Tunde loves you and he has proved it over and over again. Do you intend to remain single the rest of your life?”
“No mum. I will get married when I find the right person.”
“The right person? Who else could be more right than Tunde? All your relationships in the past have been based on your father’s wealth. Now, you find someone who loves you for you and you are still looking for the right person. Omoshalewa mi, open your eyes. I am your mother and I will not push you into a pit. God forbid!” Funke lamented as she snapped her fingers over her head.
Shalewa looked away.
“Accept his proposal please and make me and your father happy.”
“He hasn’t proposed, mum.”
“He is about to. Your dad has given him a go-ahead.”
Shalewa stood up in annoyance. “Why is dad interfering with my love-life?”
Funke stood up and held her daughter’s hands. “Because he loves you and he wants the best for you. Tunde is a good man.”
“Okay mum. I have heard you. Can I go back to work now?”
Funke shrugged. “Àbò òrò ni à sö fún ömölúàbí, tó bá dé inú è, á di odindin.” (A word is enough for the wise).
After Funke left the room, Shalewa went back to her mini-library but was unable to concentrate. She was upset and angry. Upset at her father’s interference in her love-life and angry that Tunde had suddenly become gold in the eyes of her parents. They were refusing to understand that she wasn’t in love with him. What mattered to them was that he loved her.
She slammed the documents on her table in annoyance. It was no use. The will to go through the documents she had brought home had left her. She decided to go to bed. She laid down and in a few minutes, she drifted off to sleep in anger.
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