Tag Archives: relationships

A woman’s dream – Part 2

Adetutu pondered over her daughter’s conversation over and over. How had they missed this conversation? Omowunmi had been excited when she got invited for a written test with the unnamed organization. She had received a congratulatory email and had moved on to the next stage; the interview sessions. Adetutu had been aware of each interview session and she had prayed for her daughter but not once had she thought about asking which organization she had been visiting. Probably because she was also engrossed in her own search for employment, it had never occurred to her to ask.

Omowunmi had said she was denied the post of a human resources officer because another candidate was more qualified. With two professional certifications in her kitty, the organization was right. Omowunmi had studied Human Resource Management in a private university and had graduated with a Second Class upper. Chief and Adetutu had been overjoyed and he had rewarded his daughter with a brand new car as a graduation gift.

She got posted to a consulting firm for her National Youth Service where she worked as a customer relations officer. She had just concluded the service program when she told her mother she had been invited to write a test for an organization. Omowunmi had refused her father’s offer to work in his plastic manufacturing company. He could not understand her refusal. Every attempt to convince his daughter had been rejected and he concluded that she took after her mother’s strong will.

******

As the driver drove into the expansive compound of Chief Ara’s residence, Adetutu’s eagerness to talk to her husband grew. She eased out of the car and walked briskly into the house. At this time of the day, she knew exactly where to find her husband and she made a beeline for the study. She opened the door gently and peeped in. Chief was engrossed on his laptop and did not hear her walk in. She hugged him from behind and kissed his cheek.

“My darling.” Chief said; his eyes twinkling.

“How has your day been?” Adetutu asked smiling.

“It just got better.”

“Chief, we need to talk.”

Chief noticed Adetutu’s seriousness and stood up from his study table. He walked towards the couch and tapped the seat beside him.

“What is this about?”

Adetutu took a deep breath. “I got the offer.” She said sitting down.

“Wow!!! That calls for a celebration.” Chief said standing up. “You almost scared me. I thought there was…”

“Chief, please sit down.” Adetutu said interrupting her husband.

Chief stood still and looked at his wife. “There is more to this offer, right?”

Adetutu nodded.

“I hope they are not posting you out of Lagos. You know I won’t allow you go. Our agreement was that any job you get must be in Lagos and…”

“Chief!!!”  Adetutu stressed. “This is about Omowunmi.”

Chief sat down gently. “And what about my daughter?”

“She was denied the position she applied for and was offered the post of a customer relations officer.”

Chief looked confused. “Okay? Isn’t that the job she was doing as a youth corper?”

Adetutu nodded.

“So, how is that a problem? The company obviously sees that she is experienced in that terrain and decided to offer her employment in that department. I don’t see any wrong there.”

“Chief, I just signed my employment letter for the job she was applying for.”

Chief’s jaw dropped. “I don’t understand.”

“We both applied to the same organization without knowing.”

“But how? And how and when did you find out?”

“Sincerely, I also don’t understand. I found out on my way home when she called me and mentioned that the organization told her someone else was better qualified and offered her the customer relations role. She refused the offer. She said because that was not what she applied for.”

Chief burst out laughing and Adetutu looked at him in annoyance.

“Chief, this is not funny. You know how your daughter is when she wants something.”

Chief grinned. “I’m sure you know she got that from you. Do you know how you are when you want something? She didn’t pick this dogged attitude from the streets, my darling wife.” Chief said stroking her chin.

“What do we do? I’m confused and she is on her way home as we speak.”

“My advice is that if the company has no policy against family members working in the same organization, she should go ahead and take the offer. She is already experienced in customer relations, I don’t see why she should refuse the offer simply because she studied human resources.

Adetutu sighed as she heard the honk of her daughter’s car. She stood up and walked to the window.

“But I’m surprised the organization did not notice your surnames.”

Adetutu pulled the window blinds apart. “Your daughter uses your first name as her surname. Have you forgotten?”

“Oh true.” Chief said as he walked up to her. “I remember she is Omowunmi Olatunde and my darling wife is Adetutu Tunde-Ara.” He said as he planted a kiss on her lips.

***

Omowunmi walked in and saw her parents in an embrace with locked lips. “Erm…I can come back.” She said when they both looked at her.

“It’s fine Mowunmi. We were actually waiting for you.” Chief responded as he held his wife by the waist and led her to the couch.

“Mummy actually got me scared when I talked to her about an hour ago. What is the problem?”

“Come here darling.” Chief stretched his hand and his daughter walked over and took it. Chief pulled her to sit beside him; his wife on his right and his daughter on his left. “You both know how precious you are to me.” He said looking to his left and to his right.

The two women nodded.

“And you both know I want the best for you and the boys.”

The two women nodded.

Chief looked at his daughter. “Your mum told me about your offer. You are experienced in that department, I think you should accept the offer.”

“But daddy that was not what I applied for.”

“Your mother was offered the position you applied for.” Chief said looking straight into his daughter’s eyes.

“What?” Omowunmi exclaimed as she stood up. “Mum?” She looked at her mother with unbelieving eyes.

Her mother nodded.

“Why mum? Why didn’t you tell me you were applying for a job? And even if you wanted one, why Energy Communications and not daddy’s company? And to top it all, you went for my position?” Omowunmi asked in annoyance.

“Mowunmi, I discussed my job applications with your father. I never knew we both applied to the same organization. Yes, you told me about your tests and interviews but I was so engrossed in my own job search, I never asked for the organization you were applying to.”

“This is so unfair. What do you need a job for? Daddy has always provided for you. It is not like you need the extra money. Does the company even realize they gave a rich man’s wife a job?”

“Omowunmi!” Chief said calling his daughter to order. “You realize your statement to your mother is unfair. She stopped working to take care of you and your brothers. I gave her my blessings when she started writing her professional exams. I believe she deserves the job.”

“And what about me, daddy? Is it that my feelings don’t matter? You don’t think I deserve the job?” Omowunmi cried.

“Mowunmi, if you were a perfect fit for the job, do you think the organization would have denied you? Do you realize that the organization was probably impressed with your performance and decided to give you an alternative offer in a department where you have experience. My dear, I own a company and I can tell you authoritatively that most organizations would not do that. Once a slot is filled, that is the end. Every other candidate is let go.”

“So you just expect me to go and accept the other position?”

“You don’t have to. The position I offered you in my company still stands.” Chief said matter-of-factly.

Omowunmi harrumphed. “I will call the organization and accept the offer.”

Chief looked at his wife who had been quiet all along. “I think you also need to inform the organization about the family ties. This will help them decide on what to do.”

Adetutu nodded.

“I believe your mother deserves to be congratulated.” Chief said as he looked at his daughter.

Omowunmi took a deep breath as she walked towards her mother. She bent down and hugged her. “Congratulations mum. I’m sorry about what I said.”

Adetutu took her daughter’s face in her hands as she smiled with tears in her eyes. “I love you Omowunmi. Don’t ever forget that.”

***

Energy Communications had a policy against family members working in the same department and branch. Omowunmi was posted to manage the Ikeja branch of the office while Adetutu was retained at the head office in Victoria Island.

The End!

——
Photo Credit: https://www.financialfreedominspiration.com

A woman’s dream – Part 1

This story was inspired by a colleague. We had a discussion and she imagined that it would make a good story. This two-part story is dedicated to her.

————

Adetutu walked out of Energy Communications with her employment letter. She smiled and heaved a sigh of relief. Who would have thought at her age and little experience, she would be considered for employment as a Human Resources Officer? She walked to the car park and eased into the owner’s corner of her car.

“Where are we going ma?” Monday, her driver asked.

“Home.”

She wanted to share the good news with Chief face to face. She believed that a phone call will not suffice. She knew he would be proud of her; even though he had initially kicked against her search for employment.

—–

Adetutu had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was serving as a Youth Corp member in a law firm when she met Chief Olatunde Ara. He had come to see her boss who was a partner in the law firm. It was love at first sight for Chief as he spotted her manning the reception desk. He wasted no time in making his intentions known after three visits to her office. Adetutu had initially turned down Chief’s advances until the day she was summoned by her boss into his office.

“Tutu, I will go straight to the point and not mince words. I understand if you want to keep things very professional but Chief has asked me to help him talk to you. Sincerely, since Chief lost his wife three years ago, I have never seen his face light up at the sight of another woman. I think you should reconsider your stance and give him a chance.”

Adetutu took a deep breath.

“You don’t have to give me an answer. This is Chief’s card.” Her boss said handing over a complimentary card to her. “Give him a call once you make up your mind. I only hope your response will be favourable for Chief’s sake.”

Adetutu thanked her boss and left his office. She pondered over their discussion for the rest of the day. She reckoned Chief would be in his forties while she was just twenty-two. Was she ready to have a relationship with a man old enough to be her father?

——

Two days later, Adetutu called Chief and agreed to his proposition but with a condition that she did not want to be rushed. She wanted them to take the relationship at her own pace. Chief had been so excited. The next day, Adetutu met a bouquet of red roses and a box of chocolates on her desk.

Chief sent his driver daily to pick her up for lunch dates with him. She however, made sure she was back in the office before her lunch break was over as she did not want to take her boss or her job for granted. Chief told her about his late wife and how she had died after an ectopic pregnancy. It had been the first time she had been pregnant in their seven years of marriage; she had therefore refused to see a doctor even though she kept having pains. Both mother and child were lost.

 

Less than two years later, Adetutu became Chief’s wife. Exactly nine months after, Omowunmi was born. Less than eighteen months after, Adetutu gave birth to a set of twin boys. Chief convinced Adetutu that there was no point going back to work. She had her hands full already with three young kids and after much persuasion, Adetutu agreed. Chief opened a boutique for his wife and also paid her a monthly salary.

——

One evening, as Adetutu retired to bed in her husband’s arms, she propped herself up and looked at him. “Chief, I want to go back to school.”

Chief looked at her and laughed.

“I’m serious Chief.”

Chief’s countenance changed as he looked at his wife of seventeen years.  “What do you need the certificate for?”

“I want to go back to work.”

“Ahn…ahn, go back to work ke? At what age?”

“I am not yet forty-five. I can still get a job.”

Chief sat up straight. “What exactly do you need the job for?”

Adetutu smiled as she scooted closer to her husband. “The kids are grown and in the University already. I want to do something for myself. I feel unfulfilled.”

“I don’t understand. Your boutique is doing well. You have even expanded your business and have a spa and a salon, so what other fulfillment could you be looking for?” Chief asked in confusion.

“Please Chief, I just need your approval.”

Chief sighed as he nodded his head.

——

The next day, Adetutu registered as a professional student with a Human Resource Institute and began taking lectures almost immediately. In two years, she passed the exams in all the stages and Chief was proud of her as he stood beside her like a rock of Gibraltar during her induction. Adetutu went ahead to register as a professional student of a Management Institute and Chief thought she had lost it.

“You just finished one and you are starting another, Tutu.” Chief looked at her with unbelief.

Adetutu smiled. “Well Chief, I have the time. I can as well make the best use of it.”

“Does your daughter know you are doing all these courses?”

Adetutu shrugged. “Omowunmi is living her life, mummy too can live hers.” She responded.

——

In less than two years, she was done and inducted into the Institute. Omowunmi, who had just graduated from the university, attended her mother’s induction. Both father and daughter beamed with smiles at Adetutu’s achievements.

Adetutu, immediately began her search for a job.  She looked up job websites and purchased the daily newspapers looking out for vacancies. She knew it was not going to be a walk in the park considering her age but she kept her hopes high.

Her prayers were eventually answered with Energy Communications. As the driver took her home, she threw her head back and smiled. She heard the familiar ring tone she used for her daughter and rummaged her bag for her phone.

“Mummy.” Omowunmi spoke on the other end.

“Yes darling. How was your interview?”

Omowunmi sighed.

“What is the problem dear?”

“I wasn’t given the position I wanted. I was told someone else was better qualified.” Omowunmi hissed.

“Oh my! I’m so sorry darling, but you were offered another position?” Adetutu asked.

“Yes, mummy. I was offered the position of a customer relations officer.”

“I think you should take it.”

“But mummy that is not what I applied for?”

“What position did you apply for?” Adetutu asked as she adjusted herself.

“I applied for the position of a human resources officer. That is what I studied in school, mum. Why should I be given the position of a customer relations officer? I refused to accept the offer. They asked me to get back to them if I decided to change my mind but sincerely mum, I doubt I would.”

“Hmm…” Adetutu hummed. “Which organization is this?”

“Energy Communications.”

“What?” Adetutu screamed.

“Mum, are you okay?” Omowunmi panicked.

“Erm…erm…I’m fine. Are you on your way home?”

“Mum? What is wrong?”

“Nothing….nothing. Are you on your way home?” Adetutu stammered.

“Yes, I am just about driving out of the company premises.”

“Okay. Come home, we would talk about it when you get home.”

“Mummy, what is wrong?” Omowunmi asked; unconvinced with her mother’s responses.

“Just come home.” Adetutu said with a tone of finality.

….To be continued.

——–

Photo Credit: https://www.financialfreedominspiration.com

The Wait – Chapter 20

Enitan proceeded to walk towards the end of the hall. His brother asked him if he needed to be accompanied but he told him not to bother as he was capable of handling the situation himself. Iya Ajoke had told them who the stranger was and he needed to know Ajoke’s decision. He wondered why she had lied to him all these years. He wanted to know the truth now; even if the truth would kill him.

Adisa and his brothers wondered what Ajoke had to say to Adejoro. They stood a few metres away from her as they waited impatiently for her to end her discussion. As Enitan approached them, Adisa tapped him on his shoulders.

“Go and get your wife.” Adisa ordered.

Enitan tilted his head as he looked at him. He had come to respect him over the past years he and Ajoke dated and he knew that Adisa wielded a considerable amount of power in Ajoke’s life. “Are you sure she is ready to be my wife?”

Adisa smiled as he looked at Enitan. “There is nothing left between her and that man over there.” He said nodding towards the end of the hall where Adejoro and Ajoke sat.

Enitan nodded his response as he continued towards Ajoke. Adejoro was still on his knees pleading for forgiveness from Ajoke.

The Wait 20

“Ajoke, can I talk to you for a minute?” Enitan asked as he got to where she sat.

“Please Ajoke, hear me out.” Adejoro pleaded.

Enitan held out his hand and Ajoke stood up and took his outstretched hand. He led her to a corner of the hall.

“Why did you lie to me?” Enitan asked.

“I did not. When I said he was dead, I meant every word I said. He is dead to me. His children don’t even know him. To them, their father is dead.”

Enitan’s jaw dropped. “I understand if he is dead to you but you should not have told the kids their father was dead.”

“So what should I have told them? Hmm?? That he abandoned them and remarried probably to become a citizen of another country. I did not want my kids to feel rejected by their own father and I couldn’t answer their questions every time they asked about him. I had to tell them something that would make them forget about him.”

“So now that he is back, what are you going to tell them?”

“He has no right to breeze into their life, Enitan. It is too late.” Ajoke said.

“I understand but they need to know their father.”

“Can we forget about my ex-husband and continue with our wedding? Or have you suddenly developed cold feet now that you know my ex-husband is alive?”

Enitan shrugged. “You stopped the wedding, Ajoke; I did not. And regarding your question about having cold feet? I think that question should actually be directed at you. Now that your ex is back, do you still want to get married to me?” Enitan asked as he searched her face.

“I’m sorry my love. I was just overwhelmed seeing him. He has no right to be here today. It was over between us years ago. I love you Enitan and today I choose to be your wife. Nothing and no one will stop us from getting married.”

“I’m still upset you lied to me, though.”

Ajoke moved closer to her husband-to-be and hugged him. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

“It’s okay.” Enitan said smiling. “You need to touch up your make-up. I don’t want my bride having a smeared face in my wedding pictures.”

“I will. Give me a few minutes and please help me apologize to Broda Olaitan, Uncle T and Aunty. I will explain everything to them later.” Ajoke said as she turned to walk away.

Adejoro looked at Ajoke as she passed by him. “Ajoke, please. Give me another chance. I will make it up to you.”

Ajoke turned to look at him, her eyes blazing in anger. “I have been nice enough to you Adejoro. Don’t get me upset, okay?”

Ajoke came back into the hall twenty minutes later looking refreshed. She stood before her family and Enitan’s family as she took her vows to love him till death did them part.

A court had annulled her marriage to Adejoro a few years before. She had filed for a dissolution of her marriage on grounds of separation for over ten years, desertion and abandonment and also reasons to believe that her spouse was dead. Her plea had been granted by the court.

Ajoke and Enitan smiled as they linked their hands and held the marriage certificate that had just been issued to them. The minister proclaimed them the newest couple in town and their family rallied round them to hug and congratulate them.

Adejoro unable to continue watching bent his head as he broke down in tears. After his programme, he had been advised by a friend he met in school that he could remain in the country and not return to Nigeria. He had been happy at the prospect and he was hooked up for an arranged marriage. However, things had not gone the way he had expected. Five years after, he was yet to become a citizen. Not wanting to risk coming back to Nigeria without becoming a citizen, he decided to build another family. His wife gave birth to a set of twins; a boy and a girl. He was overjoyed and he soon forgot about the family he left in Nigeria.

He had attended a party a few weeks ago and bumped into his friend, Akanbi. Akanbi told him he was in the UK for a two-week vacation. They had chatted as old buddies reminiscing on the times they spent together in the village.

“I wanted to help you fulfill your obligations to Ajoke when you decided to marry an Oyinbo.” Akanbi said as he gulped down the wine in his glass. “I can still see the look on Ajoke’s face and how she shivered under my touch. Oh, she wanted me badly. I could feel it.” Akanbi said as he faked a shiver then laughed hysterically.

Adejoro opened his mouth in shock.

“Anytime I remember that day, I wish I had gone ahead to have my way with her. At least I would have had a taste of the honeypot I had been dreaming of for so long. I’m sure she would have been so sweet.” Akanbi said as he kissed his fingers.

Adejoro became angry as he stood up and held Akanbi by the throat.

“What is your problem, Adejoro? I did not ask you to abandon your wife and kids in Nigeria. Did I?” Akanbi asked as he taunted him.

Adejoro had left the party abruptly. He had been unable to sleep when he got home that night. He had abandoned Ajoke and his kids without as much as a look backwards. He immediately planned a trip to Nigeria and booked a ticket. He flew in on Friday night. He had waited in the UK for too long; now the wait was over.

When he arrived at his parents’ house, he was told that Ajoke had moved out of his house years ago and was getting married the next day. His parents told him to forget about her since he had another family in the UK but he told them he could not. He decided to make an appearance at the wedding; just maybe he could stop it and Ajoke would give him another chance.

He bent his head as he cried tears of pity and sadness while the whole hall jubilated with the new couple. He looked up and saw Ajoke and Enitan share a passionate kiss. His children rallied round them as Enitan hugged them one by one. He stood up and walked out of the hall with his shoulders slumped and his head hung. He had lost his wife, Ajoke and his kids. They no longer belonged to him. They were in the arms of the one who would love and cherish them.

Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com

—————————————————- THE END —————————————————–

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The Wait – Chapter 19

The next session started a few weeks later. It was their final year and Enitan was bent on having Ajoke for keeps before she fell out of his reach. He started picking her up from home on days they had lectures and they drove to school together. They talked about various issues on their ride to and from school. He asked about her children’s father and she told him he was dead. As far as she was concerned, that is what he was to her. Dead! She told him about her salon and how she managed it together with her studies. Enitan got more impressed daily by her doggedness to succeed.

Gradually, he started getting involved in her children’s lives; having man-to-man talks with Adegbenro and seeking Adebola’s approval of his relationship with her mother. He should have had no reason to worry; they already liked him. He met Iya Ajoke when she came to stay with the kids so that Ajoke could prepare for her first semester exams. She had been happy that her daughter was finally going to pick up the pieces of her life. She and Baba Ajoke had regretted their actions in the past and this time, they were going to take a back seat and allow their daughter to chart the course of her life.

 

The first semester exams inched nearer as Enitan and Ajoke got closer by the day. They soon became inseparable and their classmates began to call them a couple. Most of them were not surprised at their relationship and even told them they deserved each other. They were given a short vacation after their exams and Enitan used it as his opportunity to get acquainted with Ajoke’s business. He gave her ideas on how to improve on her services and his idea brought a huge turn-out of clients to her salon.

The second semester began a few weeks later and a feverish feeling fell over most of the students. It was their final semester in school and a number of students had mixed feelings. The semester moved faster than expected and their final exams were soon at the corner. Enitan and Ajoke studied most evenings in Enitan’s house sharing and comparing notes and ideas. After long hours of studying, Enitan would order a quick take-out for dinner before dropping Ajoke at home.

Their results came out a few weeks after their exams and Ajoke and Enitan graduated with a first class. It had been a joyous day for both of them as they hugged each other; grateful that their hard work had paid off. Ajoke was happy that finally; she was a graduate and she was grateful to Kokumo for it. She sent him a text message informing him about her result and asked if he would not mind attending her graduation in school. He called her when he received her text message. He congratulated her and told her he was proud of her but declined attending her graduation. Ajoke had been at a loss for what to say. She had wanted him to be a part of her big day but he told her he was unable to make out time. Enitan was a few metres away from her; talking to his uncle and his wife as he gave them the good news and invited them to his graduation. She turned away as her eyes filled with tears.

 

The graduation ceremony took place a week later. Enitan and Ajoke were both given awards for the best graduating students in their department. Their score had been a tie and the Dean of their faculty had decided they both deserved it.

It was a joyous day for all the graduating students and they could all be seen taking pictures with friends and family. Ajoke had invited only her brother, Adisa for the ceremony. She smiled as Enitan took pictures of her and Adisa with her mobile phone. She was about to collect the phone from Enitan when someone tapped her lightly on her shoulder.

“Would you mind taking a picture with me on my phone?”

She turned around and gasped. She hugged Kokumo tightly as a child who had missed her mother would.

“You said you were not coming.” She said.

“I know but I thought long and hard about it and decided to make it.”

“This means so much to me.” Ajoke said smiling.

“I know.” Kokumo said as he brushed her cheeks lightly with his thumb.

Enitan stood uncomfortably as he watched the show of affection between the two.

“Enitan, meet Kokumo; my best friend from way back in secondary school.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan. “Kokumo, meet Enitan.” She said as she introduced them.

Enitan stretched out his hand to shake Kokumo. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Kokumo said as he took the extended hand. “Could you take a picture of us together?”

“Sure, why not?” Enitan replied. He took the phone from Kokumo and took a picture of him and Ajoke who was beaming with smiles as she put her hand around Kokumo.

Kokumo did not miss the look in Enitan’s eyes every time he looked at Ajoke and he thought it wise to make his visit a very short one. He congratulated both graduates and wished them success in their journey to Law school. Ajoke wanted to see him off to his car but he told her not to bother as he did not want her leaving her friend alone.

“Oh, his uncle is here. Let me see you off quickly.” She said. She turned to talk to Enitan but noticed he was already walking towards his uncle. Adisa was also seated with Enitan’s uncle and both of them seemed engrossed in a conversation.

“I told you.” Ajoke said as she turned back to Kokumo. They started walking towards Kokumo’s car which was parked a few metres away from the hall.

“He loves you. Please give him a chance.”

Ajoke turned to look at Enitan. He was talking to his uncle’s wife but she noticed for the first time that he wasn’t smiling. “You think so?”

“Yes Ajoke. It is very obvious.”

Ajoke exhaled. “I like him but I haven’t been able to forget about you and…..”

Kokumo stopped walking and looked at Ajoke. “You have to. You can’t bring your life to a standstill. You know I almost did not come here today simply because of this. I did not want to bring back memories which should stay buried.”

“I know and I’m trying. He is really sweet but I don’t want to hurt him.”

They got to Kokumo’s car and Ajoke rested on it.

“I have a family now. You should build yours with that young man. Open your heart to him. Live your life again and live it to the fullest. You deserve it.”

Tears filled Ajoke’s eyes as she thought about Kokumo’s words.

“Thank you.” She said as she hugged Kokumo.

“You are welcome.” Kokumo said hugging her back.

Kokumo eased into his car and started the engine. He smiled as he looked at her.

“I will never forget you, Kokumo and I will always love you.” Ajoke said as she placed her hand on her heart.

“You will always remain here.” Kokumo said as he tapped the left hand side of his chest.

Kokumo drove away and Ajoke stood there till his car disappeared in sight.

Ajoke sighed as she used her fingers to dab her eyes to stop the tears that were threatening to spill. When she gathered her emotions together, she walked back to the graduation venue looking out for Enitan.

His uncle, his aunt and Adisa were about leaving when she got there and she apologized for her time away.

“Oh, it’s fine. Enitan told us you were seeing off a friend that came for your graduation.” Enitan’s aunt said.

“Yes ma.”

“Should we expect to see you soon for a visit?”

“That depends on Enitan, ma.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan.

“Okay then. I hope to see her soon.” Enitan’s aunt said smiling as she turned to Enitan.

They all walked to the car park where Kokumo’s car had been parked a few minutes ago and Enitan’s uncle offered to drop Adisa where he could get a bus back home.

The trio eased into the car after congratulating Enitan and Ajoke again with hugs. Enitan’s uncle started the engine while Enitan and Ajoke stood and waved as the car drove away.

********

Ajoke noticed that Enitan was unusually quiet as he drove home. They had earlier agreed to have dinner on their graduation day.

“Are you okay, Enitan?” Ajoke asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Enitan said as he looked at her but his trademark smile was missing.

Enitan parked in front of his residence and eased out of the car without a word. Ajoke was confused as she eased out of the car and walked behind him.

He opened the door and slumped into the couch in the living room as he closed his eyes.

Ajoke stood before him wondering what the problem was. “Enitan, is something wrong? You have been unusually quiet.”

Enitan sat up and looked straight at Ajoke. “Maybe because you decided to disregard my feelings and flaunt your ex-boyfriend before me? Huh? Don’t you think that is enough to make me “unusually” quiet?” He said as he raised his hand to signify his quote.

Ajoke exhaled as she sat down beside him. “Kokumo and I were best friends in secondary school. We had plans for a future together but my parents gave me out in marriage while Kokumo was still in the university. My father wanted me to get married on time because he could not afford a university education. He felt my husband would send me to school. Kokumo and I were heart-broken but there was nothing we could do. I got married, had my kids and met Kokumo again ten years later. He asked why I hadn’t gone back to school and I told him I had a salon already. He reminded me of my dream to become a lawyer and encouraged me to go back to school.”

Ajoke paused as she held Enitan’s hands.

“He bought me the GCE form that same year with all the reading materials that I needed and also bought me the Jamb form the next year. He made sure I did not lack as he provided for me throughout the school sessions.”

“So why didn’t he get married to you?” Enitan asked, a confused look on his face.

“He had a fiancée he was committed to already. Letting him go still remains the most difficult decision I have ever taken. Not long after that, you asked to be my friend. At that point in my life, I was not interested in any man and I felt love was no longer worth it.”

“Do you still love him?”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“I assume that means a yes. So what are you doing with me? Are you playing games with my heart?” Enitan asked as he stood up.

Ajoke could hear and feel his hurt and pain deeply etched in every word he spoke.

“No, Enitan.” She said as she stood up and walked towards him. “I would never do anything to hurt you. Kokumo told me it was obvious that you love me. He asked me to open my heart to you and receive the love you have for me.”

“How else am I meant to show my love for you, Ajoke?” Enitan asked in frustration.

Ajoke held Enitan’s hands as she embraced him. “I’m sorry. I did not want to hurt you.”

“I love you Ajoke. I always have since the day I set my eyes on you.” Enitan whispered into her ears. He kissed the nape of her neck and Ajoke shivered. He pulled her away from his body and cradled her face; tracing his finger on her lips. Ajoke looked at him and the only thing she saw in his eyes was love. He loved her and she was willing to give him a chance. She closed her eyes; it was time to let Kokumo go.

Enitan closed the space between them as he kissed her gently at first. She let out a sigh of surrender as Enitan took her lips and ravaged them in a passionate kiss.

——
The story continues…

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

The Wait – Chapter 18

Ajoke walked to her room; her kids following right behind her. They sat down on her bed and looked at her expectantly. Ajoke dropped her bag on her bed and noticed the look on her children’s faces.

“Why do you both have that look on your faces?” Ajoke asked.

“We want to know how your date went.” Adegbenro said.

Ajoke looked at her son. “What did you discuss with Enitan?”

“He didn’t tell you?” Adegbenro asked.

Ajoke eyed her son. “If he did, I won’t be asking you. He said men stuff. What does that even mean?”

Adegbenro shrugged. “Well, it was men stuff. I was trying to protect my family.”

Ajoke let out her breath as she tried to sit on the bed. Adegbenro and Adebola created a space in between them and she sat down. She pulled her arms around them and looked at each of them.

“I love you both. You know that, don’t you?” She asked them.

They nodded.

“And I want you to be happy.”

“We are happy, mum. But you are not.” Adebola said.

Ajoke smiled sadly as thoughts of Kokumo filtered into her mind. Her kids had been so fond of him and his sudden disappearance had taken them by surprise. They had asked day after day about him but she had refused to provide an answer. She guessed they must have figured out what the issue was.

Adegbenro turned to look at her. “Mum, we want you to be happy. We want you to find love again.”

Ajoke looked at her kids and was surprised. Where was all these coming from? How had her kids grown so fast before her eyes? She smiled as she kissed each one on the cheek.

“We love you too mum.” Adebola said; voicing out their mother’s unspoken thoughts.

They hugged her and laid their heads on her shoulders.

 

Hours later, Ajoke lay on her bed unable to sleep. She tossed and turned as she thought about Kokumo’s last statement to her.

“It would be unfair to you and to those we love if we keep our lives at a standstill. Please don’t do this to us.” Was it time to move on?

 

Enitan opened the door of his apartment and let himself in. The décor in the living room was simple but tasteful in appearance. He picked up a remote from the glass table in the centre of the room and switched on the TV with a button. A newscaster was reading the evening news. He sat down on the sofa directly in front of the TV and watched. His mind was however far away as he only watched the moving images. How long will he have to wait before voicing out his feelings to Ajoke? He had noticed her in their second year. It had not been love at first sight but he had been fascinated by her dogged attitude to her studies. While most ladies in their class were bothered about taking selfies, social media and hanging out with the wanna-bes, she had caught the attention of most of the lecturers with her excellent grades.

Gradually, he began to like her and said “hello” to her anytime she passed by him. He noticed she only came to school when she had lectures and was out immediately after she was through for the day. She did not mix freely like the others and he had wondered why.

He exhaled as he rested his head on the couch. Seeing her family with two grown kids had caught him unawares but it had only strengthened the love he had for her. He had to tell her how he felt, even if it meant she would never talk to him again. He could not hide it forever. Right there in his living room, Enitan made up his mind about Ajoke.

 

A week later, Ajoke was at her shop attending to her customers when she received a phone call from Adebola that she was needed at home.

“What’s the problem?” Ajoke asked.

“Erm….mummy, you need to come home now.”

“Why? Can’t it wait?”

“No mum.” Adebola said.

Ajoke gave instructions to her girls and walked the short distance from her shop to her house. As she approached her house, she wondered what the problem could be. Her kids hardly pulled her away from work. She just hoped it was not something serious.

As she opened the door to her house, she was startled by shouts of “Happy birthday”.  She looked at her kids, surprise clearly written on her face. Adebola and Adegbenro were grinning from ear to ear and they encroached on her space smothering her with hugs and kisses. Ajoke was overwhelmed by the love and a tear slid down her cheek. She looked at the wooden table in the middle of her living room and saw a massive birthday cake and a wrapped box. Her jaw dropped as she looked at her kids.

“How did you do this?” She asked.

Adegbenro smiled. “We got a little help.”

Ajoke’s brows shot up. “From who?”

All of a sudden, Enitan walked in from a corner of the living room. “From me.” He said giving her that smile that always made her heart melt.

Ajoke was at a loss of what to say. “How did you know about my birthday?” She asked him.

“We are in the same class. Have you forgotten?” He said as he closed the space between them stretching out his hands to her. Ajoke took a deep breath as she went into his embrace. She closed her eyes as tears streamed down her cheeks. Was she falling in love with him?

Adegbenro quietly carried the cake from the living room and nodded to his sister as they both left the lovers to discover themselves.

Enitan raised Ajoke’s head up and looked straight into her soul. “I love you Ajoke. I can’t hide it anymore.” He said as he wiped a tear from her cheek.

Ajoke lowered her head.

“Please give me a chance to love you.”

“I’ve got a lot of baggage.” Ajoke sniffed.

“I know.” Enitan said smiling. “It has only strengthened my resolve to take care of you.”

Ajoke looked up and saw love in his eyes. Could he handle her heart which had been splintered into various pieces by Adejoro and Kokumo? What was left of it that she had to give to him?

Enitan held Ajoke’s hand as he walked towards the door.

“Where are we going?”

“We are going for lunch.”

“I haven’t told them.…..” She was saying before Enitan interrupted her.

He beamed a smile at her. “Your son gave me a go ahead.”

Ajoke gave Enitan a puzzled look as she shook her head wondering how much information had passed between Adegbenro and Enitan.

 

Enitan had parked his car a few metres after Ajoke’s house so she hadn’t noticed it when she arrived home earlier. When she saw the spot it was parked, she smiled. He opened the door and she eased into the car quietly. Enitan drove to one of the newly established restaurants on the outskirts of the village.

As they took their seats and waited to be served, Enitan held Ajoke’s hands on the table. “Let me tell you a little story.” He said.

Ajoke nodded and listened.

“There was a young woman who lived in the town of Ilesa. She was given out in marriage to her husband at the age of eighteen. Nine months after her marriage, she had a son who was named Olaitan. The family of three lived happily. She was a petty trader while her husband was a bricklayer. He built houses for the rich and famous. This made him very popular in Ilesa. Two years after; when Olaitan was weaned off his mother’s breasts, she attempted to have another child. One year led to two years, then three years but Mama Olaitan was unable to conceive again. She tried all she could. She visited the herbal doctors and churches but pregnancy eluded her.”

Ajoke shook her head in pity.

“She gave up after some years and decided to face her business and her small family. However, when Olaitan was nineteen, his mother fell ill. Her husband made some herbs for her to drink and some were applied on her body. Her sickness however refused to abate. She fell in and out of sickness for about six months. One day, Olaitan’s friend who was an auxiliary nurse in one of the health centres visited him at home. They had finished from the secondary school together and she had secured a job in the health centre while Olaitan intended to go to the University. She had looked at Mama Olaitan with concern and asked her if she had been to the health centre. The answer was negative. She asked Olaitan to bring his mother to the health centre the next morning.”

The waiter brought their food and Enitan began to eat. He signaled to Ajoke to eat when he noticed she was waiting for him to continue.

“The next morning….” Enitan said as he continued his story. “Olaitan and his mother arrived the health centre early so as to avoid the long queue. Olaitan’s mother was checked by the doctor and it was confirmed that she was six months pregnant. She found it hard to believe what she had heard. Even Olaitan was lost for words. He was going to have a baby brother. Baba Olaitan was overjoyed when he heard the news. However, the joy of the family was cut short when Mama Olaitan died a few minutes after giving birth. Her labour had been prolonged and it was a miracle that the baby survived as both mother and child were in distress.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said as she shook her head.

“That’s not the end of the story.” Enitan said smiling.

“Okay?” Ajoke said. She had finished her food and she pushed the plate away from her.

“Eight days after, the child was named Eni-itan, because his father said he had a story to his birth.”

Ajoke smiled. “This is your story?”

“Yes, that is my story.”

“So your brother took care of you from birth, I assume.”

Enitan took a deep breath. “He gained admission into the University and I had to be left alone with my father. My father got a wet nurse who took care of me till I was a year old. I was seven when we lost our father. He fell from one of the high-rise buildings he was working on. He broke his neck and died on the spot.

Ajoke gasped as her hands flew to her mouth. She stretched out her hands to hold Enitan’s. “I’m so sorry.”

Enitan smiled. “Olaitan had to take me out of the village. He brought me to Lagos to stay with my maternal uncle and his wife. They took care of me till Olaitan graduated and could stand on his feet. The house I live in belonged to Olaitan. He relocated to the United States with his family some years ago. He left his business in my care and we have an agreement on profit-sharing.”

So, Law is your second degree, I presume.”

“Yes, it is.” Enitan smiled. “I have a degree in Business Administration. When I took over my brother’s business, I decided to come back to school and get educated on business law.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said. “This is a whole lot of information in one night.”

“I’m glad I shared it with you. No one in class knows about me.”

“So why did you decide to let me into your life?”

“Because I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Enitan replied.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t do this to you, Enitan. You deserve someone better.”

“Shhh……” Enitan said as he put his forefinger on her lips. “I want you and not someone better.”

Ajoke exhaled. If Enitan found out about her past, would he sing a different tune? She had not totally let Kokumo out of her heart. She still loved him even though he was beyond her reach. Sometimes, her nights were so lonely that she reminisced on the time they spent together exploring each other’s bodies with Kokumo making her scream in ecstasy. On such nights, she cried herself to sleep as she longed for the man who had been her first love and had set her body on fire with his touch. 

Memories of Adejoro had become a distant past and she had no feelings left in her heart for him. As far as she was concerned, he was only the father of her children. Would she be able to push thoughts of Kokumo behind and look forward to Enitan’s love? So many questions begged for answers in her life and she knew the ball was in her court to play it as she wished.

——
The story continues…

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

The Wait – Chapter 17

Ajoke was about retiring to bed when her phone rang. She wondered who could be calling her at 9.00p.m. She had gotten home tired but her kids were not ready to let her be. They had missed her and they wanted to chat with her before going to bed. Even though, Iya Ajoke had tried to shoo them away, they had persisted. Eventually, Ajoke had to listen to their gists about school and all that had happened in the last one month while she was away.

She picked up the call after the third ring. “Hello.” She said.

“Hi Ajoke, is it a bad time to call?”

“Hi Enitan.” She said recognizing his voice. “It’s okay. I was just wondering who could be calling me at this time of the day.”

“If it is too late, I can call back tomorrow.” Enitan replied.

“No, it is fine.”

“I just wanted to check up on you.”

“Aww…thanks. I appreciate the gesture.” Ajoke said smiling.

“And erm…I wanted to ask if you would still go out to dinner with me?” Enitan asked unsure of what her answer would be.

Ajoke laughed. “Enitan, do you give up?”

“No, I don’t.” He said breathing a sigh of relief when he heard her laugh. “Is 6p.m tomorrow a good time?”

“Hmm….that’s fine.”

“I’ll pick you at home.” Enitan replied.

“But you don’t even know where I live.” Ajoke said laughing.

“Should we bet on it?”

Ajoke stopped laughing. “You know where I live? Have you been stalking me?”

“Hey relax.” Enitan said when he noticed the tone of her voice had changed. “I know where you live, I mean the street but I don’t know your house. And to your second question; no, I have not been stalking you.”

“So how do you know the street I live on?”

“I visited a friend who lives around your area some months back. We were walking out of his house when I saw you. I asked him if he knew you and he said not really but he pointed your street out to me.”

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Ajoke asked.

“I cross my heart, I have not lied to you.”

“Okay, 6p.m. Call me when you are close by.”

“Thanks Ajoke. I really appreciate this.”

Ajoke grunted. “I hope I don’t regret this.”

“Why would you? I would never hurt you.” Enitan said almost in a whisper.

“See you at 6 tomorrow. I need to catch some sleep.”

“Thanks. Sweet dreams.”

Ajoke refused to respond and ended the call.

 

The next day, Enitan was on Ajoke’s street at about five minutes to six. He parked his car and whipped out his phone from his pocket. “Hi Ajoke, I am on your street. I am by the Majestic shopping complex.” He said when she picked up his call on the first ring.

“Okay, that’s a long walk from my house.”

“I can come closer. Where exactly is your house?”

“It is way down the road; two blocks from the health centre.” She said.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Okay.”

Ajoke looked at herself in the mirror. She was wearing one of the dresses Kokumo had bought for her. She hugged herself as she thought of him. It had been a while she heard from him. The last time, he had sent her a text message that he had a daughter. She had responded with congratulations. A week later, he sent her another text informing her about his daughter’s names. She had refused to respond this time. The thought of another woman having a child for him was enough to dampen her spirit. He still credited her account at the end of every month and she wondered when he would stop.

A knock on her door brought her back to reality. “Mummy, you have a visitor.” She heard her daughter say.

That was fast; she thought. She took one last look at the mirror. She had applied light make-up and she looked simply dressed. She sighed as she opened the door and walked out of her room. Her daughter was standing outside the door. “Do you have a date, mummy?” She asked.

Ajoke smiled. At thirteen, Adebola was becoming self-aware. She always looked out for her mum and her brother, Adegbenro. “Yes dear. Something of the sort.”

“You look beautiful.” Adebola said.

“Thank you darling.” Ajoke replied as she hugged her daughter.

She held her daughter’s hand as they walked into the living room together.

 

“Hi, you look stunning.” Enitan said standing up. Ajoke noticed he had been talking to her son and she wondered what they could be talking about. She also wondered how he knew the exact house she lived in. She however, decided to keep her thoughts to herself.

She gave her son a puzzled look as she greeted Enitan. “Hi Enitan.”

“I was chatting with Adegbenro.” Enitan said smiling when he noticed the look that passed between mother and son. “Are you ready?” He asked.

“Yes, I am.” She said hesitantly.

Adegbenro stood up and hugged his mum. “Have fun.”

“Thank you.” She said.

“Bye mummy. We would wait up, okay?” Adebola said.

“Okay dear.” Ajoke responded as she waved to her kids and walked out of the house with Enitan behind her.

 

As soon as they stepped out of the house, she turned to look at him. “What were you two talking about?”

“Men stuff.” Enitan smiled.

“Like what?” She said rolling her eyes.

Enitan suddenly burst out into laughter.

Ajoke stopped walking and looked at him in confusion. “What is funny?”

“I love the way you just rolled your eyes. It makes you look sexy.”

“Ahh…” Ajoke said with shock.

“C’mon, let’s go have dinner.” Enitan said holding her hand so she could continue walking.

They got to a white Toyota Corolla and Enitan pressed the unlock button on the remote in his hands. He opened the door for Ajoke when he noticed that she stood before the car and kept looking at it. She was speechless and she looked at him when he signaled for her to go into the car. She eased into the car and Enitan closed the door before jogging to the driver’s side.

“You don’t need to say it. I know what’s on your mind.” Enitan smiled as he started the car.

Ajoke looked at him quietly.

“It’s intentional not to drive to school. So I jump buses like every other student.”

Ajoke nodded.

“Hey, loosen up. This is me; I ain’t hiding any other thing.”

“Really?” Ajoke asked with sarcasm.

“Cross my heart.” Enitan said as he did a sign of the cross on his chest.

In a few minutes, they arrived at a classy restaurant and sat at a table for two. The waiters brought a menu for them and they both ordered a light dinner. They made small talk about school while they awaited their dinner. They were through with their dinner and were sipping their drinks as Ajoke spoke about her expectations of their last year in school.

Enitan smiled as Ajoke spoke.

Ajoke looked behind her. “Why are you smiling?” She said as she turned back to look at him.

“I really do like you a lot.”

“Hellooo, we were talking about school?” Ajoke said with sarcasm.

“Yeah, I know. Ajoke, I have watched you this past years and I can’t deny the way I feel about you. Coming to your house today has opened my eyes to see you in a different light.”

“Where is all this coming from?”

“From my heart.” Enitan said as he held her hands on the table.

“I don’t understand. What did you see in my house and what is all this about?”

“Let me take care of you, Ajoke.”

Ajoke pulled her hands from his grip. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“You are the only one who thinks so.”

“What are you saying? Does this have anything to do with your discussion with Adegbenro? What men stuff did you two talk about?”

“Hey, take it easy.” Enitan said laughing.

“This is not funny, Enitan. Can we leave now?” Ajoke said getting angry.

“Ajoke….” Enitan said stressing her name. “Do I upset you that much?”

Ajoke closed her eyes and exhaled. She was beginning to like him and she actually did not know why she was upset with him.

Enitan stood up and stretched his hand towards her. “Let me take you home.”

Ajoke took his extended hand and they walked out of the restaurant.

 

 

Ajoke was quiet all through the journey home. She looked out of the passenger window and refused to make eye contact with Enitan. Enitan also decided to leave her to her thoughts. He loved her but he could not tell her just yet.

He reminisced on his discussion with her son. Adegbenro had asked him who he was and he had told him he was her course mate and a friend.

Adegbenro had asked him if he was taking her out on a date and he had responded in the affirmative.

“What are your intentions with my mother?”

Enitan had been shocked to hear the word “mother” but he had smiled to conceal his shock.

“I like her a lot and I just want to be friends with her.”

“Don’t mess with my mum. She’s all we’ve got.” Adegbenro had warned him.

He had looked at the young man before him. He loved his confidence and the way he looked out for his mother. There had to be a story behind her having two kids and no husband. He looked round the living room to see if he would see the picture of their father assuming she was a widow but there was none.

 

 

Enitan parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. She was about to open the door when Enitan stopped her and took her hand. She looked at him and was scared of what she saw in his eyes. No, this is not happening again. Enitan kissed her hand and dropped it carefully. “Thanks for the company.” He said.

Ajoke was at a loss for what to say. “Thanks for the dinner.” She said and stepped out of the car.

Her kids were already at the door by the time she got to her door step. They hugged her and welcomed her back. While Ajoke and Adebola walked in, Adegbenro stood at the door and looked at Enitan. Enitan smiled and nodded at him while Adegbenro nodded back; an unspoken agreement between the two. Enitan put the gear in reverse and drove out of Ajoke’s residence.

——
The story continues…

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

The Wait – Chapter 16

Three weeks later, Ajoke returned to school for her fourth year. She buried herself in her studies with the intention to forget about Kokumo. This proved difficult as Kokumo continued to credit her bank account monthly. Everything around her brought back a memory of him; her phone, her dresses, her shoes and every tangible item that she owned. Many nights, she hugged her pillow and cried herself to sleep as she mourned the loss of the only true love that she ever had. Her children noticed that she no longer smiled and asked her what the problem was. How would they understand? She thought as she looked at them. When she refused to say anything to them, they asked her why her best friend, Uncle Kokumo, no longer visited. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she stood up abruptly lying that she had a headache and needed to rest. Her kids left her alone and she went into her room and lay down on her bed in tears.

In her second semester, one of her lecturers gave the class a project to work on and paired the students in twos.  She was paired with Enitan and given a tight schedule to deliver on their projects. Ajoke stayed up late many nights reading and researching on their project work. For once, her mind was totally off Kokumo. Enitan also brought his own repertoire of knowledge and they both put their energy into the project. They were asked to do a class presentation and Enitan urged Ajoke to present their findings. Even though she was jittery at first, she put in her best. The lecturer was impressed with Ajoke and Enitan’s project and they were rewarded with the highest score. Ajoke was excited that her sleepless nights had not been in vain. As she put her books into her bag prepared to go home, Enitan walked up to her smiling. “Ajoke, your delivery was fantastic.”

“Thank you.” She replied.

“Can I take you to dinner?”

Ajoke stopped and looked up at him. “Why? For what?”

Enitan shrugged. “Just to say thank you.”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Besides, I did not do this alone. If I remember, we were teamed for the project.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“Enjoy the rest of your evening.” Ajoke said as she slung her bag over her shoulders and walked away.

 

The next day, Ajoke was reading in class when Enitan slid into the seat beside her. Ajoke looked up and frowned. “What do you want?”

Enitan smiled. “Good morning.”

Ajoke nodded. “Morning. How may I help you?”

“C’mon Ajoke, why are you so uptight? I just want to be friends. I’m not going to bite.”

“You know what? I think I should leave now.” Ajoke said packing up her books.

Enitan held her hand trying to stop her from leaving.

“Will you leave me alone? What do you think you are doing?” Ajoke said raising her voice.

Enitan dropped her hand and stood up. “I’m sorry, I will leave.”

As he started walking away, Ajoke felt sorry and called him back. “Enitan.”

He looked back at her.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. Please sit down.”

Enitan smiled. “No, it’s okay. I assumed working together could make us friends. I apologize; my assumptions were wrong.”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“Please go ahead with your reading. I don’t want to be a nuisance.” He said as he walked out of the classroom. For the rest of the semester, Enitan avoided Ajoke.

 

A week to their exams, campus became agog with activities as students began to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while some teamed up to read and burn the midnight candle. Ajoke asked her mother to come over again to stay with the kids, so she could have some time off to read. She stayed up many nights reading but she kept on having difficulty understanding a particular course. The more she read, the more confused she became. She decided to talk to one of her course mates in school the next day.

“Hi Tolani.” Ajoke greeted as she saw her course mate walking towards her.

“Hi Ajoke. How far with your reading? I won’t be surprised if you dust us again this semester.” Tolani sneered.

“Abeg, leave that matter jare.” Ajoke replied smiling. “I need help with Taxation. Anyone handling tutorials on it?”

“Ahn.…ahn, I’m surprised you are asking me.” Tolani looked at her in astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it not your team mate organizing the tutorials?”

“My team mate?” Ajoke asked.

“Yes nau, Enitan. He is the pro in taxation and he has been doing tutorials for the past three days.”

“Oh right!” Ajoke said surprised.

Tolani eyed her. “Everyone knows both of you are first class materials. I’m sure that is why Mr. Subomi teamed you guys together.” She harrumphed.

“Let me go find him.” Ajoke said ignoring Tolani’s comment.

 

Enitan was seated in class in a corner reading. He was so engrossed in his book that he did not notice that Ajoke was standing before him. Ajoke had to announce her presence by clearing her throat.

“Hi Ajoke.” Enitan said looking up with a smile.

He always has a smile on his face; Ajoke thought. “Hi. I guessed I would find you here.” Ajoke said a bit uneasy. She knew after the last encounter with him, he clearly avoided her.

“Please sit down.” He said tapping the seat beside him.

Ajoke sat down with her palms in her laps. “I am sorry about the last incident. It looks like you have been avoiding me.” She said.

“Avoiding you? No, I haven’t.” Enitan shrugged. “You came to school for a reason and it looked like your intention was to stick to that reason and avoid any fraternities.”

Ajoke wondered how she was going to ask for help considering that she hadn’t been particularly nice to him.

“So how may I help you? I’m sure you did not come here to talk about our last encounter.” Enitan said turning to face her.

“I need help with Taxation.” Ajoke said avoiding his eyes and glad that he had gone straight to the point.

“Okay. When do you want us to start? Right now?”

“Huh….erm….yeah, if you don’t mind.”

Enitan smiled in his trademark way. “I don’t.”

“Thank you.” Ajoke said.

“You are always welcome.”

After two hours, Ajoke was satisfied that the course which had given her sleepless nights will be a walkover for her during the exams. She thanked Enitan again before leaving him alone to continue his reading.

 

Taxation was the last paper on the exam schedule. Ajoke decided to make Enitan her reading partner and they both sat together in class reading, sharing and comparing notes and handouts. Enitan made sure he continued to refresh Ajoke’s memory on all he had taught her anytime they read together. In three weeks, exams were over and students heaved a sigh of relief.

As Ajoke walked out of the hall after her last paper, she met Enitan sitting on a bench opposite the class. He stood up as she approached him. A smile played broadly on his lips. “How was it?” He asked as she fell in line with him.

“Easier than I imagined.” Ajoke said smiling. “I should say thank you again.”

“Oh come on. How many times will you do that?” He asked as they started walking towards the main gate of the campus.

“Well, I don’t know how I would have written that exam without your help; so better get ready to hear another thank you when the results are out.”

Both of them burst out into laughter.

They got to the gate and stood at the bus-stop waiting for buses that will take them to their different destinations.

“Would you mind giving me your number?”

“Not at all.” Ajoke reeled out her mobile number to Enitan who saved it immediately on his phone.

They stood chatting and laughing at the bus-stop until the buses going towards their destinations arrived.

—–
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 14

Ajoke filled the forms and handed them back to Kokumo two days after. He submitted them and she began to study in preparation for the forthcoming exams. Kokumo made it a duty to call her every morning and night. He also shopped for her children buying them clothes, shoes and toys befitting for their ages.

A week after Ajoke’s visit to the bank, Adunni called Kokumo. She wondered why she hadn’t heard from him and he told her he had been busy with work. “But you have always been busy, Lekan.” She said; calling him by his second name. He had dropped his first name after university and picked up his second name.

“Yeah, I know. I have had a lot on my plate in the last one week but I would make it up to you.”

“Hmm…..” Adunni said. “Are you coming over to my place this weekend or do you want me to come over?” She asked.

“No, no. Don’t come. I will come over.” He said quickly. He did not want to risk Ajoke meeting with Adunni just in case she decided to visit. Even though, she had not mentioned that she would see him that weekend, he preferred to play safe.

**********

Ajoke buried her head in her books for the next few months. She did not want to disappoint Kokumo so she put in extra hours of study staying up very late sometimes to read. Her exam date drew near and she became apprehensive. She hadn’t written an exam in ten years and she feared she may be incapable.

Two days before her exams were to start, Kokumo gave Ajoke a surprise visit at home during the weekend. She had been elated to see him and she introduced him to her children as her best friend. Her kids had laughed saying they did not realize adults also had best friends. During his visit, Ajoke voiced out her concerns about the exams to Kokumo. Kokumo laughed and told her he believed in her and that it did not matter that she hadn’t written an exam in years. He urged her on and Ajoke felt relieved talking to him.

While Ajoke wrote her exams, Kokumo frequented Ajoke’s home with dinner for the kids and Ajoke. On other occasions, he went to Ajoke’s house and prepared their meals. He made it a duty to keep the children engaged, sometimes taking them out while their mother studied. By the time Ajoke was through with her GCE exams, Kokumo had started discussing about the forthcoming Jamb registration. Kokumo purchased the Jamb form in the first quarter of the next year when it was released and Ajoke burnt the midnight candle again taking only a short breather.

 

By August of that year, Ajoke received her admission letter to study Law at the Lagos State University. She was overjoyed. She called Kokumo on her way out of the campus premises informing him about her letter. Kokumo told her it called for a celebration. He told her not to bother with dinner. After work, he drove to Ajoke’s house with dinner for the kids and a gift for Ajoke. The kids were excited seeing him and they thanked him for the dinner. He told the kids he was taking their mother out and that they would be back before their bedtime. The kids gave him the go-ahead. Ajoke smiled as she got dressed in the simple red gown which Kokumo had bought for her as a celebration gift. Even though she did not apply any make-up, she still looked beautiful.

 

Kokumo drove into town and took her to a bar where they were served finger food and mocktails. They made small talk over their meal after which Kokumo raised his glass and gave a toast to her future.

“I really can’t thank you enough, Kokumo. You have been more than a friend.”

Kokumo laughed. “Have you told your parents?”

Ajoke’s smile faded. “No, I haven’t. I will tell them at the right time.”

Kokumo held her hand on the table and looked at her straight in the face. “You are yet to forgive them.”

Ajoke removed her hand from Kokumo’s. “Let’s not spoil the night, please. I came to have fun with you, not to discuss about my relationship with them.”

Kokumo shrugged. “Okay. We would revisit this discussion some other time.”

Ajoke nodded and her demeanor changed as she started talking about her kids and their antics.

 

After dinner, Kokumo took Ajoke home. The kids were still awake and they asked their mum if she enjoyed her dinner. She responded in the affirmative as she looked at Kokumo lovingly. She asked Kokumo to wait so she could take her kids to bed. Kokumo nodded and sat in the living room. After Ajoke had put her kids to bed, she came back to the living room and sat beside Kokumo.

“Thank you for the dinner and the dress.” She said as she looked at him. “Thank you for everything. For believing in me.”

Kokumo rubbed his thumb on her cheeks. “Thank you for allowing me.”

Ajoke hugged Kokumo as she spoke; “You don’t know the extent of what you have done for me, Kokumo.” She said sighing.

“I may not know the extent but I have an idea.”

Ajoke eased away from Kokumo as she planted a kiss on his lips. Desire rose in Kokumo and he held Ajoke as she was about pulling away from him. He kissed her passionately and she responded. “You don’t know the extent of my love for you.” Kokumo whispered as he breathed into her neck. He eased back and cradled her face in his hands. Ajoke closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Kokumo closed the space between them again intent on making her forget her sorrows. He took her lips in his and both of them kissed with wild desire.

Kokumo stood up and lifted Ajoke from her feet as he nodded towards the rooms. Ajoke pointed towards the direction of her room. Kokumo walked towards the room, opened the door and locked it behind with Ajoke still in his arms. He dropped her gently on the bed as he teased her sensitive spots with kisses and undressed her. Ajoke shivered as a cold chill ran down her spine. She hurriedly undressed Kokumo and like a ravaging storm, they danced to the rhythm of their bodies delighting in the pleasure of the moment.

 

Ajoke woke up at about midnight and looked at Kokumo sleeping peacefully. There was a smile on his face. She sat at the edge of her bed and wondered. “What exactly am I doing with Kokumo? I have betrayed Adejoro again and I can’t seem to tear myself away from this temptation.” She sighed as she thought about how her life had panned out. She wouldn’t be in this mess if her parents hadn’t turned her life into a pawn on a chess board. She knew she should stay away from Kokumo but the more she thought about it, the more her heart broke. He was yet to mention having a girlfriend but she knew he had one. He had once ignored a call in her presence. A lady’s image had appeared on his phone while it rang. Even though, she had urged him to pick up the call, he had refused, saying he would call her later. For how long could they continue with this? She thought.

Kokumo opened his eyes and saw Ajoke staring at him. She almost felt as if he knew she watched him as he slept. He smiled as he pulled her down to lie beside him. He hugged her close as he kissed her cheeks. Ajoke tilted her head to look at him. “What exactly are we doing? Where are we going with this?”

Kokumo raised himself up and sighed. “I wish I knew Ajoke. I just want to be with you but sincerely I know it is not possible.”

“Why is it impossible?”

“You are still married, Ajoke. Don’t forget that.”

“You know I really hate it when you rub that in my face.” Ajoke said getting upset. “Married to who, please? A man who has abandoned me and my children?”

Kokumo pulled her closer to himself and held her. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I am just stating a fact. I know I am selfish for wanting you so badly but I can’t help it.”

“Do you realize how much I also want you?”

“I won’t deceive you Ajoke. We both long for each other but the circumstances in which we find ourselves is beyond our control. Let’s enjoy the moments and leave things as they are.” He said as he kissed her head.

“Okay.” Ajoke said resigning.

“School starts in a few weeks, right?”

“Yes. I should have started my search for a maid.”

“A live-in?”

Ajoke shook her head. “No, I don’t want a live-in.”

Kokumo and Ajoke talked about so many issues till the early hours of the morning when Kokumo got dressed and left at about 4.30a.m.

——
The story continues…

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Omoshalewa – Episode 8

The next day, Tunde called Shalewa while she was in the office. She decided to pick up his call this time.

“Hi Shalewa, what’s going on? I was worried sick yesterday when you did not pick up your calls.” Tunde said.

“I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong.” She said then paused. “In actual fact, there is.”

“Oh my! What’s wrong?” Tunde asked with concern.

“We need to talk.”

“Dinner at 7?” Tunde asked.

Shalewa quickly scanned through her calendar. “Fine. Pick me up, I’ll send the driver home.”

“Okay then. See you at 7.” Tunde said.

Shalewa cut the call and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes as she mentally calculated how to break the news to Tunde. She could not continue to live this lie.

At 7.00pm, Tunde drove into the office premises where Shalewa’s office was situated. As he parked his car, he dialed her number from his phone which was attached to a cell phone holder on the dashboard. She picked up on the first ring and responded that she would be with him in five minutes.

About three minutes later, Shalewa walked out of the office complex. She was wearing a grey pant suit and Tunde smiled as he saw her. She is beautiful; he said to no one. He quickly took out a mouth spray from his glove box and freshened his breath.

As Shalewa eased into the car, Tunde planted a kiss on her cheeks. He engaged the gear and drove out of the car park. “So what’s wrong?” He said looking at her.

“Hey, I just got here. Can we talk over dinner?”

Tunde shrugged as he stretched his hand to hold hers. He noticed she was not receptive to his gesture but he refused to comment.

They arrived at their destination in fifteen minutes. They took a seat at a table for two and placed their orders. Tunde tried to make light conversations with Shalewa but she seemed distracted.

Their orders arrived and they began to eat. Tunde was almost done with his meal when he spoke up. “Shalewa, why are you keeping me in suspense? What’s the problem?”

Shalewa dropped her fork and looked at him. “Well, I had no intention of spoiling your dinner; that’s why I decided to hold on till you were done.”

“I’m all ears.” He said; looking at his plate as he tried to cut a piece of chicken.

“I need a break.”

Tunde put the piece of chicken in his mouth as he nodded, looking up at Shalewa. “A break? Why don’t you discuss with your dad. He may give you some time off.”

“That’s not what I mean, Tunde. I wasn’t referring to work. I mean a break from this relationship.”

Tunde’s eyes widened. He dropped his cutlery gently and took a sip of his drink. “A break from me?”

“Well, if you would rather put it that way.”

“Our wedding is in a few weeks.”

“I am aware of that. The more reason why I need a break.” Shalewa said as she looked at him straight-faced.

“But…but Shalewa, what went wrong?”

“I just need to sort out my feelings.”

“I thought we were past this.”

“No, we weren’t. We never were.”

Tunde was confused. “But you agreed to marry me?”

“To satisfy you and my dad. Have you forgotten so soon?”

Tunde pushed his half-eaten plate of chicken aside and held Shalewa’s hands on the table. “Please don’t do this to us. I love you.”

Shalewa pulled her hands from his grip. “Tunde, don’t make this more difficult than it already is. I can’t continue to live a lie.

Tunde took a deep breath.

“I would like to go home now. I can call a cab if you don’t mind.”

“I brought you here; the least I can do is drop you at home.” Tunde said as he stood up and signaled to the waiter to bring the bill. The waiter arrived with the bill and Tunde took out some notes from his wallet and slid it into the bill pouch.

Once the waiter turned away, Shalewa stood up, picked up her handbag and walked ahead while Tunde sauntered behind her.

********

Five days later, Tunde walked into Shalewa’s office to have a business meeting with her father. As the elevator doors opened, he saw Shalewa and a guy laughing in front of the elevator. He was surprised at the ease with which Shalewa chatted with him and he noticed there was a sparkle in her eyes.

“Hi Shalewa.” He said; trying to catch her attention.

Shalewa looked at him and the smile on her face faded. “Hi Tunde.”

Tunde waited expecting an introduction. When he noticed Shalewa was not going to do the honours, he decided to go ahead. “Hi.” He said as he stretched out his hand. “I’m Tunde, Shalewa’s fiancé.”

“Akin.” He said as he smiled and accepted Tunde’s hand shake. “So I get to meet you Tunde. You are the one who swept my best friend off her feet.”

Shalewa eyed Akin.

“So where are you guys off too?” Tunde asked; ignoring Akin’s comments and looking at Shalewa.

“Lunch.” Shalewa said as she looked at Akin. “Are we still going, Akin?”

“Of course.” Akin replied. “Bye Tunde. It’s a pleasure meeting you.” He continued as he did a mock bow.

Tunde watched as Shalewa and Akin stepped into the elevator. The elevator doors closed and Tunde stood transfixed to the spot. Akin, Shalewa’s best friend? How come I have never heard about him? Was he the reason Shalewa had asked for a break? She looked so happy chatting with him and there was a sparkle in her eyes when she looked at him. I have to find out who this new best friend is.

As Shalewa eased into Akin’s car, she looked at him in anger. “What was that for?”

Akin faked ignorance. “What? I don’t understand.”

“Oh come off it, Akin. You know what I am talking about; the charade with Tunde.”

“Oh that.” Akin said laughing. “Did I say something wrong there?”

“Akin?”

“Yes, Shally babe.” Akin said as he leaned forward and planted a kiss on her cheeks. “You are still engaged to him. Don’t forget that and as far as I know” – He said tapping his fingers on his nose – “Your wedding is in a few weeks.”

“Please don’t remind me.”

“So can I drive off now or are we having Tunde for lunch?”

Shalewa gave him a scornful look as Akin burst out laughing.

******

Later that evening, Mr. Samuel was seated in the living room with his wife watching the evening news. There was a glass of juice on the side stool beside each of them. Shalewa walked in at about 9.30pm. She knelt down to greet her parents and headed straight for her room.

“Shalewa, please sit down.” Her father said.

Shalewa walked back and took a seat opposite her parents.

Bayo retrieved the remote control from the side stool and switched off the TV. He looked at Shalewa; his face grim. “Your mum and I felt it was important we spoke to you this night.”

Funke nodded.

“You usually don’t come in this late and we have been wondering what has changed. Of recent, you have been coming in later than usual. And I know you have been leaving the office same time as you usually did. Is there something we should know?”

“Nothing dad.” Shalewa answered as she looked straight at her dad.

Mr. Samuel nodded. “Tunde came for a business meeting today and he was asking about Akin. He was wondering how come you suddenly had a best friend he wasn’t aware of. I had to explain the friendship between you and Akin. He also said you asked for a break some days ago. Is that right, Shalewa?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Okay, so I am assuming this break is for a few days, then you can go back to your wedding preparations.”

“No dad. It is not for a few days. I am breaking up with Tunde.” She said; the muscles of her face taut as she refused to break eye contact with her father.

“I want to assume that because you are tired and stressed, you are probably not thinking right. So I would let you go to bed now, then we can talk about this tomorrow.” Bayo said.

“There is nothing to talk about, dad. I am not getting married to Tunde.”

“Will you shut up your mouth there?” Bayo said getting angry.

Funke patted her husband’s hands. “Please darling, not this way.” She pleaded.

“What do you mean? Did you hear what your daughter is spewing out of her mouth?” He said; looking at his wife in irritation.

“Shalewa, you can go to bed. We would talk about this tomorrow when everyone is calmer.” Funke said to her daughter.

“Good night mum, good night dad.”

“Good night Shalewa.” Funke said as Bayo ignored his daughter.

After Shalewa left the living room, Funke looked at her husband. “Darling, I think we need to be careful with the way we handle this matter.”

Bayo looked at his wife, shock clearly written on his face. “You can’t be serious. Are you also in support of her behaviour?

“I am not. I just feel we should tread carefully.”

“What exactly are you saying Funke?” Bayo asked infuriated.

“What I am saying is this. Haven’t you noticed that she seems happier than she was before? Since Akin’s arrival, her behaviour has changed. She has dropped the look of gloom that was always on her face and she is back to how she was before we forced this relationship with Tunde on her.” Funke said; trying to make her husband understand.

“Are you saying she is in love with Akin?” Bayo looked at his wife perplexed.

Funke sighed. “I am saying she never stopped loving him.”

Bayo laughed. “You can’t be serious Funke. What do you mean she never stopped loving him? They were friends as kids and they have both moved on.”

“They were not just friends fifteen years ago, Bayo. They loved each other and they obviously never stopped.”

“What are you saying? They were kids. What did they know about love?”

“Well, they knew enough to keep them in love with each other fifteen years after.”

Bayo was surprised. “But how do you know they loved each other?”

Funke smiled as she placed her hand on her husband’s. “Do you remember when Akin’s parents told us they were moving their son out of the country to continue his education?”

Bayo nodded. “Yes, I do.”

“Your daughter was heartbroken. She cried out to me and asked that I tell Akin’s parents not to send him away. She thought Akin’s parents were intentionally trying to separate them.”

Bayo’s eyes grew big as his jaw dropped.

“Yes darling.” Funke nodded. “That was when I realized all their time together wasn’t for a lack of siblings. It was because they loved each other. I guess her heart had always been with Akin.”

Bayo let out his breath.

“Akin’s arrival has changed her completely. She is happier and you can’t miss the glint in her eyes anytime she sees him.”

Bayo rubbed his temples. “Has he said anything to her? I mean, has he proposed to her?”

“I don’t think so. With another man’s ring on her finger, I doubt it.”

“Will you talk to her then? She should let you know what Akin’s intentions are. Her wedding is supposed to be in a few weeks.” Bayo breathed hard. “I never imagined I would have to do this.” – He looked at his wife as he continued – “Cancelling the wedding of my only daughter.”

“I know you long for her happiness, you don’t have a choice.”

——-

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Omoshalewa – Episode 6

The next day, one of the major soft-sell magazines in the country had the blazing headlines; “Billionaire Samuel’s daughter rejects engagement proposal from business magnate.” Bayo was furious when he saw the magazine. He brought the magazine home and dumped it in front of Funke. “What is the meaning of this?”

Funke looked at him wondering what had gotten him so upset. She picked up the magazine and saw the caption. “Oh my goodness!” She lamented.

“She can’t continue doing this. This has to stop. Let her know that I give her 3 months to make up her mind or else…..” Bayo said in anger as he allowed his sentence to trail off.

Funke asked her husband to sit down in a bid to calm him down. “Please seat down, Olowo ori mi (my crown).”

Bayo sat down still upset. Funke scooted close to him and took his hands in hers. “I know you love Shalewa so much and you want the best for her but don’t you think, we should give her a chance to decide who she wants to get married to.”

Bayo looked at his wife, shock written all over his face. “Funke, you did not just say that, did you?”

Funke gesticulated as she tried to explain. “She says she is not in love with Tunde and that we are forcing her to get married to him against her will.”

“Okay? So tell me. Who is she in love with?” Bayo said as he stood up and put his hands on his waist. “I want to know.”

Funke was quiet and unable to look at her husband’s face.

“I thought as much.” He said. “She is only in love with herself.”

“But you know that is not true.” She said looking up. “She has had relationships in the past but they were all after wealth.”

“And Tunde?” Bayo asked as he searched his wife’s face for an answer.

Funke stood up with a deep sigh.

“Go and talk to her.” Bayo said with finality as he pointed towards the bedrooms.

******

Funke tapped the door to her daughter’s bedroom once and let herself in. Shalewa was already in her night wear and about to get into bed. She smiled as her mum walked in. “Hello mum.”

“Omoshalewa, why are you doing this to me?”

Shalewa looked at her mum with a confused look. “I don’t understand what you are saying.”

“I am tired of this back and forth between you and your dad. Did you see the headlines of that wretched soft-sell magazine?”

Shalewa sighed. “Yes mum, I did. I wonder who is feeding those lousy reporters with tales about me.”

“That is not the point right now, Shalewa.”

“I have heard you mum. I will do what you and dad want. I will accept Tunde’s proposal.”

Funke was shocked. “You will?”

“Isn’t that what both of you want?”

“It is not about what we want. It is about your happiness. That is what your father and I are after.”

“I know mum. I know.”

Funke hugged her daughter. “I know you will be happy with Tunde and make us proud grandparents.”

Shalewa rolled her eyes behind her mum’s back as she left her hands hanging by her side.

Funke stood up from her daughter’s bed excited. “Your father will be happy to hear this.” She said as she kissed her daughter on the forehead.

 

Preparations began in earnest for an introduction of the two families. Two weeks later, Tunde’s grandmother and a few of his family members were welcomed in the home of the Samuel’s. A date was fixed for the engagement four weeks away. The engagement ceremony was done with pomp and pageantry. The pictures of the couple and their families were splayed in newspapers and soft-sell magazines for weeks; each one in a bid to outdo the other with details of the ceremony. It became the most talked about engagement party of the year and no expense was spared.

Shalewa, even though looking beautiful and expensively adorned; knew that she was getting married to fulfill her parents desire. Friends and family congratulated her and told her she was very lucky to have a handsome young man. She smiled back a response to each one refusing to utter words.

Bayo Samuel informed his family that the wedding ceremony of his only daughter would be a destination wedding. He asked Shalewa to pick a destination of her choice and began to make preparations towards it. It was agreed that the wedding would hold six weeks after the engagement.

*******

Three weeks to the wedding, Shalewa went to her neighbourhood shopping mall one evening to get some groceries. As she walked down the aisle of the departmental store, she noticed someone staring at her. She was used to stares especially from admirers by now and with her recent highly publicized engagement, she knew her popularity had been moved one notch up.

“Hi, you are Shalewa Samuel, right?” She heard someone behind her ask. Of course, I am. Who does not know me in town? She looked up to give a nasty answer and suddenly gasped; her hand flying to her mouth.

“Akin Savage?” She asked; not believing her eyes. He nodded and they both embraced each other in a tight hug refusing to let go.

“Where have you been? I waited for your letters but got none.” Shalewa asked.

Akin took a step back, held Shalewa at arm’s length as he admired her.

I did not know what to think. I assumed you forgot about me.” Shalewa said pouting her lips in mock anger.

“How could I forget about you, Shalewa? I thought about you day and night.” Akin said.

“I asked my parents if they could reach you but they were also at a loss and could not give me an answer. I was heartbroken, Akin.”

Akin held Shalewa’s hand and kissed it. “I know, my love. I was too. Let us go to a café so we can talk.”

Akin walked out of the departmental store with Shalewa’s hands in his. There was a café in the shopping mall and they took a table for two in a private corner. A waiter took their orders and returned shortly with two glasses of chapman.

Akin smiled as he looked at Shalewa. “You are still as beautiful as you were fifteen years ago.”

Shalewa blushed as she hit Akin on his arms playfully. “C’mon, you have not changed. Still teasing me like you used to then.”

Akin sighed as he held her hands on the table. “Shally babe, I never forgot about you.”

Shalewa smiled as she remembered the name Akin called her when they were younger. No one had called her that in the last fifteen years.

Akin continued. “How could I? You were my first love.” He caressed her hands with his fingers as he looked into her eyes. “I wrote maybe a thousand letters but they were never delivered. Do you remember that my parents and I left for the U.S together?”

Shalewa nodded as she listened intently.

“They wanted to help me settle down before returning to Nigeria. According to my mum, on their return six months after, your family had moved out of the neighbourhood and left no forwarding address. I asked my mum to do everything she could to help me find you but all her efforts were futile. Two years after, my parents relocated to the U.S.  I only come to Nigeria on visits. So what have you been doing with yourself the last fifteen years?” Akin asked.

Shalewa shrugged. “We moved out of the neighbourhood. My dad’s businesses started doing very well and he made sure he sent me to a good university. I concluded my postgraduate program a few months back.” She said smiling.

“Wow, congratulations! You definitely did well for yourself. So, you married now?” Akin asked looking at her fingers.

Shalewa’s smile faded immediately. “Engaged. The wedding is in a few weeks.”

“You don’t sound excited.”

“I’m not.”

“Why? You love him, don’t you?”

Shalewa took a deep breath. “No, I don’t.”

Akin was surprised. “So why are you getting married to him?”

“Because I have been unlucky with men. Every guy in my past has been after dad’s wealth. Tunde has proved not to be one of such and dad feels he should marry me off before I lose him.”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“What about you?” Shalewa asked. “Are you married now?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say I have been unlucky. I have had my fair share of ladies but none has been able to strike the right chord in my heart.”

“Why? Have you been so hard on yourself?”

“I don’t think so. I just haven’t been able to get you out of my mind even after fifteen years.”

Shalewa blushed as she looked away. “Akin, it is complicated.” She said sighing.

“I don’t understand. What is complicated?”

Shalewa looked at him. “You know, I never forgot about you as well. I kept on hoping this day would come. I even went as far as searching for you on Facebook but the search was always fruitless.”

Akin caressed Shalewa’s face with his fingers. “I’m sorry you went through all that. I don’t do social media. Never been a fan of any of the platforms. So, you getting married to him?” Akin looked at her curiously.

“I don’t love him. I never had but no one seems to understand. They all say I would grow in love for him but I haven’t been able to. Akin, you were my first love. We were young but I loved you and sincerely, I think I still do.”

“You think? That means you aren’t sure.” Akin teased.

“Oh, come off it, Akin.” Shalewa hit him playfully.

“I love you Shalewa. I have always done and will do forever”.

“So what do we do?”

Akin answered getting serious. “I think we should just take this one day at a time. First, I would like to see your parents again. I have missed them.” He said smiling. “Just maybe, we would be able to tell them about the future we discussed together many years ago.”

Shalewa raised her eyebrows. “No, not today.”

Akin burst out into laughter as he pointed in her direction. “I got you there.”

“Oh Akin, will you ever be serious for once?”

“Nope, remember that was one of the reasons you fell in love with me fifteen years ago?”

Akin signaled to the waiter, paid the bill and dropped a generous tip. Shalewa stood up as Akin put his hand on the small of her back. They walked out of the café together smiling.

——-

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