Funke walked into her daughter’s room and saw her lying on the bed. Her eyes were red and puffy and she sniffed loudly. Funke immediately sat on the bed as she pulled her daughter into a hug. She rocked her daughter back and forth like a baby. When Shalewa’s sobs subsided, Funke placed her hands on her daughter’s cheeks and looked straight into her eyes. “You love Akin?”
Shalewa dropped her gaze.
Funke smiled. “You always did. I remember when you came crying to me not to allow his parents send him abroad.”
Shalewa smiled despite her tears.
“I realized you were in love and it is obvious he loves you too.”
Shalewa looked at her mum, tears filling her eyes again. “Then why does daddy want me to get married to Tunde at all cost?”
“He asked me to find out from you what Akin’s intentions are.”
Shalewa looked at her mum confused. “I don’t understand. His intentions?”
“Yes. Both of you are in love with each other. What are his plans?”
Shalewa’s face lighted up immediately. “He is waiting for me to make a decision.”
“I think you should.” Funke said as she stood up from the bed.
As Funke walked towards the door, Shalewa called her. “Mum?”
Her mother looked back at her.
“Thank you.” Shalewa said.
“You are welcome darling.”
The next day, Shalewa walked into Tunde’s office at a few minutes to 1.00pm. The office was tastefully furnished and it was obvious that Tunde had a good eye for aesthetics. A lady was seated behind a glass table typing away on her laptop. She looked up as the sliding doors opened. Shalewa had not called to book an appointment but Tunde’s personal assistant recognized her immediately.
“Good afternoon ma.” The lady said as she stood up from her seat.
Shalewa smiled. “Good afternoon. I will like to see Tunde. I don’t have an appointment.”
The lady returned the smile. “I will let him know you are here. Please seat down ma.” She said as she walked out of the main office.
Shalewa picked up a finance magazine from the centre table and flipped through the pages. “Please come in, ma.” The lady said walking back into the main office a few minutes later. She led Shalewa in and tapped on a door. The name plate on the door read; “Tunde Richards – Barristers and Solicitors.” Shalewa smiled as she looked at the plate.
Tunde stood up from his desk as Shalewa walked in. He took her in his arms and planted a kiss on her lips. “You did not tell me you were coming.” He said with a curious look.
Shalewa shrugged. “I just decided to come here at the last minute. I initially thought about meeting you at home but I wasn’t sure what time you would get home.” Shalewa looked round his office. “You have a nice place here.” She said admiring the expansive office. A floor to ceiling bookshelf lay on the right while a comfortable sitting area with leather sofas lay to the left of the office.
“Thank you.” Tunde said. “Please feel free.” He pointed towards the refrigerator beside the sitting area in his office.
“I’m fine.” Shalewa said. “I just had an early lunch.”
“So to what do I owe this visit?” He asked as he led her towards the sitting area. He sat down while Shalewa took the cue.
“I came so we could have a heart-to-heart talk.” Shalewa said; her tone serious.
“Okay. What is this about?” Tunde asked; sitting up.
“It’s about the wedding.”
“Yes. I am calling it off.”
“You are what?” Tunde shouted.
“You are raising your voice, Tunde.” Shalewa said calmly.
Tunde took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Why Shalewa?”
Shalewa was quiet as she looked at Tunde. Even though his eyes were closed, she could see he was hurting. She reckoned it would not be easy but there was no way to make it less painful.
Tunde opened his eyes and looked at Shalewa straight in the face. “Are you calling it quits because of Akin?”
There was no point lying; Shalewa nodded her head.
“You never loved me?” Tunde asked.
Shalewa blew air out of her mouth. “I said it so many times that I got tired of saying it. I’m sorry Tunde. I wish we did not have to go this far.”
Tunde looked at her and smiled sadly. “I wish I did not have to be so in love.”
Shalewa stood and walked to where he was seated. She sat beside him and removed the engagement ring from her finger, placing it in his palm. “Someone else would need this. Someone who would relish in your love and return it wholeheartedly.”
Tunde caressed her face with his thumb. “Shalewa!” He said as he stressed her name. “How can I ever forget you?”
“Please don’t make this more difficult.” Shalewa said as she looked away.
Tunde turned her face towards him and planted a gentle kiss on her lips. Shalewa stood up abruptly. “I would take my leave now.”
Tunde looked up at her and nodded.
“Thank you, Tunde.”
Even though he is heartbroken, he still managed to smile back a response.
Shalewa picked up her handbag from the couch where she was seated initially and walked out of Tunde’s office.
Tunde watched Shalewa till she walked out of his office. As the door closed behind her, he took a deep breath, laid his head on the couch and used his hands to cover his face. The pain he felt was unbearable.
“Oh Shalewa!” He soliloquized. “God knows I love you so much.”
As Shalewa eased into her car, she took a tissue out of the box on the passenger seat to dab her eyes. She reckoned Tunde loved her but there was no point getting married to him out of pity. Her heart belonged to Akin and she did not want to regret marrying Tunde later on.
She dropped the car visor in front of her and took a look at herself in the mirror before driving out of the car park. She was almost in her office when her phone rang. She took a look at her music screen on her dashboard and saw that it was Akin calling. She smiled as she tapped a button on the screen to receive the call.
“Shally babe.” Akin said; his voice filling her air-conditioned car.
“Hey baby.” Shalewa replied.
“Can I pick you up for lunch today?”
“Nah, not today. I had an early lunch.”
“Without me?” Akin asked.
“I’m sorry darling. I had some personal errands to run so I decided to do an early one.”
Akin was quiet.
“Hey, we can do dinner.” Shalewa said.
“That means you would get home a little late. Are you sure your parents won’t begin to complain about it soon?
Shalewa laughed heartily. “They have already.”
“Wow. They did?” Akin asked.
“Yeah, yesterday. But let’s do dinner, pleaseeee.”
“Dinner it is then.”
Four hours later, Akin and Shalewa were seated at a corner in their favourite restaurant. Their order for finger foods was taken and they continued to chat away while they awaited their order. Akin was talking about his day with a troublesome client and Shalewa was laughing hard as Akin gesticulated.
Suddenly Akin stopped talking; his face serious. Shalewa was still laughing and did not notice. She was about to raise her left hand to her face when Akin stopped her hand mid-air. “What happened?” Akin asked.
Shalewa looked at him still smiling. “Happened? You are killing me with laughter here, Akin.”
“That’s not what I meant.” Akin said.
Shalewa looked at him confused.
“Your engagement ring?”
“I gave it back to the owner.”
“Yes. I did some hours ago. That was the personal stuff I needed to attend to earlier on.”
“So? Are you free now?” Akin asked; giving her a curious look.
“Yes, free to date again.”
Shalewa laughed. “Definitely.”
Akin smiled as he stretched out his hand to her. “Hi, I am Akin Savage. Do you remember me?”
Shalewa took his hand as she continued laughing. “Yes, I remember you.”
“We fell in love fifteen years ago. Can we continue from where we stopped?”
As Shalewa laughed heartily, Akin closed the space between them and kissed her passionately. Shalewa returned his kiss holding on to him.
“Hey, get a room!” Someone shouted from a corner of the restaurant.
Akin looked in the direction of the voice and shouted back. “We ain’t getting a room. We are getting married.”
Shalewa looked at Akin and slapped him on his arm. “Not without a proposal.”
They both burst out into laughter as Akin planted another kiss on her lips.
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