Breaking the Silence: And the News Came

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I’m not much of a sharer. I prefer to share my thoughts and imaginations on air, to strangers and friends.

A friend once told me I have a hyperactive imagination. Lol! I’m owning it. I do, so what? A lot of my experiences have been shared through my writing. Some truth, some fiction. You know what they say; truth is stranger than fiction.

I sometimes think my life is too boring. I always long for excitement. Matter of fact I can’t really explain my personality type. I’m the one who will be the first to get ready for an event, but 30 minutes into it; having seen everyone and smiled to jaw aching point, I’m ready to go home and cuddle with a soapy book or movie and a smoothie or tigernut milk. Lol. Soon as I have that, I’m looking for the next exciting outing; and the circle continues.

So here goes the Breaking the Silence series. A diary series of the twenty-something lady. I invite you to step into my imagination with me; I haven’t written in a long while and as such I’m rusty. Coupled with that some of this series will be written in the first person pronoun (which I have difficulty doing but as it is a diary series I have to try) except when Adaeze is narrating. I hope you like, I hope you enjoy, and as usual; lemme know what you think.

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We have a culture of silence, it’s ingrained in us. Just like our culture of respect for elders, fear for authority, there is also a culture of silence. We all want to keep up appearances, and when it’s not particularly about keeping up appearances, it’s about not showing our shame to the whole world. It’s that inate desire not to open ourselves to the world. We are all guilty of this. Lol, just writing this reminds me of a recent happening that involved my ten year old cousin. He had done something extremely incorrigible and my sister commented on the believability of it. She said; if I say this outside, nobody will believe me. And my response was; who asked you? How can you be answering questions not asked?

It might sound hilarious but it is very true of us. We don’t share, regardless of the fact that sharing may help someone. Or maybe it’s about the fact that everyone has their own issues; the person you’re sharing with has greater problems than you do. I overhead someone say; a lot of people’s current situation is such that if you come to them with a problem, by the time they share theirs you will end up trying to solve theirs first. But then; I think that’s the whole essence of sharing. The saying goes; a problem shared is a problem solved. Abi?

Another danger of not sharing is; if it’s an event that involves more than one person, the sharer controls the narrative. There’s this saying that the hunter will continue to triumph in the story of the hunter and the lion until the lion begins telling his own story. History has always been written by the victor because who writes history will always ensure he writes it such that he emerges the conqueror. So when we keep quiet, we allow others other than ourselves to control the narrative. This Adaeze found to be her predicament.

Adaeze was born into a family of four children; she had the privilege (or not) of being born as the spare, lol (for those who don’t know; the spare child is that child not occupying any particular ‘important’ position; there’s the first child- who doubles as the first son or daughter, then there’s the first son or daughter (opposite gender of the first child), then there’s the last child (lastborn). For the ‘royal or dynastic’ families, the second son can be referred to as the spare for the first son, but in Adaeze’s case; she was the third child in a family of four. She had an older brother and sister (Austin and Ngozi respectively), and she had a younger brother- Michael who was the last born. She was named Adaeze not because she was the ‘Ada’ i.e. first daughter in Igbo culture but because she was named after her father’s sister, whose name was Adaeze (Ngozi was named after her paternal grandmother).

Adaeze’s parents had been separated for as long as she could remember. Probably happened almost immediately after Michael’s birth. None of the children knew the cause of the breakup, and it was either all the adults around were not willing to tell what they knew or they truly didn’t know. All four children were raised by their mother who was a business woman petty trader.

Growing up was tough. It was obvious even to the blind that Mr. Chukwuemeka wasn’t supporting his family. He wasn’t catering for his children. It was Mrs. Chukwuemeka (she didn’t change her name because they were not legally divorced) who paid all the bills- rent, school fees, feeding, etc etc. Adaeze’s mom scrimped and saved and managed to put her children through school; ensuring they all had at least a first degree.

Adaeze and her siblings were raised in a home that was a kind-off church extension. Mommy was very involved in their church and the children grew with a love for and personal relationship with God which saw them also involved in the church.

 

**********

 

On that fateful Saturday morning, Adaeze had rolled out of bed thirty minutes earlier. She was an early riser and if she didn’t get to her chores before the sun was up, chances are those chores won’t get done that day. She was loading the washing machine when her mom’s phone rang. Her mom was in her room and had dropped her phone in Adaeze’s room. She picked the phone and went into her mom’s room.

Her natural curiosity had her looking at the phone screen before handing it to her mom. It was James, a cousin on her father’s side. James was the only one on the father’s side of the family who was very friendly with Adaeze’s family. The rest of the family was estranged from them as a result of the separation. As usual in such separation issues; it had to be the fault of the wife.

After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

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A chance at love

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Hey dearies, how have you all been?

I trust you’ve been good. I’ve missed you all, missed writing been battling with some serious writer’s block. but last night, my laptop loved me.

I wrote this short story and just edited this morning. I hope you like, I hope you really like and spare some thought for Bisi as she goes through this difficult time. 

a chance at love, chinma eke's blog

 

‘…. It’s not you, it’s me.’ With those words he shattered her world.

We’ve all heard those words, jokes and memes have been made of those words, but you can never understand those words; their impact until they are said to you. That five letter sentence. Perhaps in analysis it might be that it isn’t quite a correct sentence. But none of that matters when those words are said to you; all that matters at that moment; is that those words signify the end of a journey for you.

Bisi had known Akin for a while, perhaps known off is the correct terminology. They had mutual friends, acquaintances, etc. they were even friendly, said hi pleasantly whenever their paths crossed. So, when on that day they met at his cousins wedding; they said hi, Bisi introduced him to her friend; Funke whom she attended the wedding with and tried to match make them.

A few days later she followed up with Funke to find out if they had been any progress with Akin. Funke said they had spoken a few times but she doesn’t get the vibes Akin was interested. Bisi followed up with Akin, extoling Funke’s virtues to the highest heavens. She and Akin got talking, got to know each other better.

It was on one of such follow up sessions Akin asked her why she was trying to push him to another when she could have him for herself.

Bisi couldn’t believe it; as much as she liked Akin (well, what was there not to like?) there was this little thing of a six months age difference.  Being that they ran in the same circles; everyone had an idea of how old the other was. It was an age difference that didn’t matter in friendship but could matter in a relationship especially if things got serious.

Akin’s question got Bisi thinking. What she knew of him, she liked and would have been content with just being friends if this seed hadn’t been planted. Akin pushed and Bisi who would hitherto have sworn she could never date a younger man began to consider it. history and society was littered with couples where the woman was older.

It was just six months which happened to fall on different years, and Akin had a good head on his shoulders; better than his elders Bisi had had the misfortune of dating. She reminded him of her age, and he didn’t seem to mind (or so she thought). For looking back now, she couldn’t remember his response if any. Perhaps she had just taken his silence for consent.

She thought it through; what were the implications of being with him? No more themed birthday parties; as much as we Nigerians attempt to form enlightenment you can’t have your birthday with your stated year and your husband have his the next year. She thought about the fact that they ran in the same circles and those in their circle knew each other’s age; were they going to be fodder for back talk and gossip? This also meant a future walking on shells. She couldn’t be too opinionated lest it be seen as she showing her age and treating him like a younger brother. Like this literarily meant she was going to have to be super extra submissive!

This also meant a lifetime of always being on her toes beauty and fashion wise. She would never be able to just chill and let nature take its course; like she couldn’t afford to let herself age naturally and she asked herself if she could keep up. Marriages with a much older husband still had husbands trading their wives in for a younger model not to think of one in which the wife was actually older.

However to Bisi, all this paled to the fact that she really liked Akin. Like really liked him, she wasn’t just needy because she wasn’t in a relationship at the time, she really liked him. She had gotten to know him and loved what she knew. Best of all, he didn’t mind (or so she thought), afterall he was the one coming for her.

Against her better judgement, against her sister’s advice she decided to give it a shot. Well; in hindsight, she had about three good months. Three months in which she fell deeper in love with Akin. She glowed, she raved about him, and everyone could tell she was in love. The pessimistic, non-emotional, commitment phobic Bisi actually saw a future with Akin. She told her friends, family and loved ones about him, wanted to show him off to the world, factored him into her plans; was willing to go the long haul; this was it, this was really it.

….. And then the end began.

Akin had always had a demanding job; she had one too so she could understand. It wasn’t the easiest task to get him on the phone; she had to call many times or leave a message and wait for him to get back to her. His reply time became more and more distant, he never initiated any call or contact anymore. She went through a really trying time and he wasn’t there for her, she even got more empathy from the random colleague and neighbor than from her boyfriend. Still she made excuses for him; he was busy. Little did she know that was the beginning of the end.

They limped along with her in ignorant bliss until he suddenly became incommunicado. She one day realised it appeared she was in a relationship with herself. She was literarily the one carrying the relationship and she asked herself; na so I like man reach? It wasn’t pride which stopped her from contacting him, neither was it self-respect. It was concern that if three months into a relationship she had to be the one doing all the running, what kind of future did that hold for them?

To test this she decided she won’t reach out to him, let him do a bit of the running. And just like that her fears were confirmed. She could see his prints on social media, he was ok, communicating with others, just not her. Four days on she broke and called him.

‘Are you ok, is there a problem?’ she asked.

He replied that he would call her back and they would talk as he couldn’t talk where he was.

He called her back four days later, late at night on her birthday. He forgot and had to be reminded by seeing the felicitations on her Facebook that evening.

Like every normal female she had raved about her birthday for weeks preceding that day, but her boyfriend forgot her birthday and had to be reminded on Facebook.

He apologised, but by then she already knew they were not ok. It was probably over. All she wanted was to know why.

He came to her office the next day with a cake, she joined him in his car and barely glanced at it as she mumbled a tense ‘thankyou’. She was very nervous, in the next moments she was going to hear the life changing verdict or reason if you please. But a verdict to her because it was obvious his mind was made up.

‘I know you’re angry with me.” Akin began. “I’ve been thinking, thinking a lot about us. About taking this relationship to the next level and I can’t get past this age thing. The fact that you’re older than me. Is it something we can get past or is it something that will become an issue later in life. If you notice I’ve been withdrawing for a while, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. And well, what do you think about it?’ He asked.

While he spoke, Bisi felt like the bottom of her world had dropped away. This was her deepest fear confirmed. Regardless of the question, it was obvious he had thought it true and felt there was no way forward; hence his withdrawal. She couldn’t speak. She felt like screaming out in pain. She tried to get a grip on herself; she couldn’t afford to break down in tears, she had to go back to work.

‘I have a question.’ She tried to speak through the pain. ‘You knew our ages before we began. If this was going to be an issue why did you bother beginning?’ She asked when she could speak.

For the life of her she can’t remember if he replied or what he replied. She just knew she had to get away.

‘I have to go back to work.’ She mumbled, opening the car door she fled into her office premises.

He called her on her mobile. ‘You forgot your cake.’ He said.

‘Thrash it.’

“Sorry?’

‘Thrash it!’ She repeated. ‘Just like you’ve thrashed our relationship, thrash it.’ She ended the call. The tears were now falling freely as she made her way to the nearest restroom. She spent the next hour weeping her heart out. She wept for her lost love. She wept for a lost dream, she wept for she had dared to dream.

She wept, for age is nothing but a number was the biggest lie of all.

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Miriam’s Tale E7

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Miriam's Tale, Chinma Eke's blog

What was discussed outside, I didn’t know and didn’t care. I was too relieved to have my children back. I busied myself with preparing them for bed, there were sleeping with me that night. I had asked Amaka to see to my mother-in-law and step-children, while my mother made dinner should anyone want some.

The kids were exhausted and promptly fell asleep. I joined the adults in the living room, they were mid-discussion. I came in when my father was telling them they had to leave the next day, that I was just managing to make ends meet and it would be unfair of my in-laws to burden me with their presence. I wanted to scream I wanted them gone immediately, but I was too tired to say anything. My parents left shortly after that and we all went to sleep.

***

The next day I called my boss and told her I was going to be slightly late. I made sure I drove them to the buspark. I paid their fare and waved them off, ensuring they were no last minute hitches that might necessitate them going back to my house. With a relieved sigh I went back to work. Hopefully by the time I returned home my life would be back to normal. Or the normal I had been plunged into since Ken’s death a year ago.

**********

“Guess who I just ran into?” My sister Susan squealed into the phone. I had to move the phone away from my ear because she was so loud.

“I don’t know.” I replied dryly. I had just forced Daniel and Ada to have a siesta and I wanted to follow suit.

“Guess.” She prompted.

“No Susan, I can’t. I’m tired, your nephew and niece have been running me ragged all day!” it was a Saturday, and the kids hadn’t given me a moment of peace all day.

She laughed. “How are my darlings?” She asked fondly.

“Terrorizing their mother! I almost feel sorry for Amaka if this is what she has to contend with every day.”

She laughed again and I yawned. I was tired out. Doing chores with over-energetic children underfoot was extremely tiring.

“Anyways, guess who I ran into today?”

“Tell me.”

“Emeka!”

“Emeka who?”  I racked my brain for any Emeka I knew and came up empty.

“Emeka your secondary school sweetheart!”

Huh! Who was she talking about? Emeka…. Oh! Emeka! My first boyfriend, I remembered him. He had left for the States to further his studies immediately after secondary school to further his education; he hadn’t been back in the country since then as far as I knew. “Oh, you saw him where?”

“At his parents, he’s back in town.” His parents and mine were neighbors.

“Oh, how nice.”

She chuckled. “He recognized me immediately, well, I did too and he asked of you.”

“That’s natural.” Emeka and I dated in Secondary school, we were also neighbors so it was natural that he ask of me.

‘He’s so fine!” Susan went on as though I hadn’t spoken.

I rolled my eyes despite we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. Everyone was ‘so fine’ for Susan.

“Anyways, I gave him your number.”

“I’m sure.” I mumbled dryly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Susan had also brought him up to speed on the happenings since he’d left town.

‘…And he said he’ll call you. So I just thought to give you a heads-up.”

“You’re so kind.” I replied sarcastically.

“Lol sis! Stop being such a fuddy-duddy, you’re just twenty-nine!”

Where was she going with this? “What does that have to do with anything?” I asked her.

“You sound older and older every time I speak with you. Lighten-up! Ever since….”

I knew what she had been about to say. “Yeah, ever since Ken died, I’ve changed, I know. Susan, Ken’s death opened up my eyes, opened me to reality, you and I know all the truths that have been unraveled with his death, and who knows what else is out there that I’m not yet aware of, so, excuse me if I’m a lot less excited than I was!”

That was a rant, a full blown rant, but I just felt like I needed to let off steam.

“Yeah sis, I know. But I want you to be happy, to live again. I feel your pain, but joining you in the doldrums won’t help you. So, I remain your entertainment. I have a date, which I need to prepare for; I just wanted to tell you Emeka will be calling you, so you aren’t caught unawares.”

“You have a date, who with?”

“Nobert ofcourse!”

“Really Susan, I’m impressed, you’ve been going with Nobert for a while now.” I teased. Susan had short attention span with guys, with most everything except fashion and cosmetics, that’s why she was a successful freelance makeup artist and fashion stylist.

“I like him, I really do.” She giggled.

“Oh my stars! Is my sister in love?” I teased.

She giggled some more. “No Miriam, not yet. I like him a lot but we aren’t there yet.” She said seriously.

“Early days.”

“Yeah, early days. So, I’ve got to run, we’re hanging out with his friends, and I want to look my best.”

“I trust you to knock them out.”

“Later sis. Love you. Give the kids my love.”

“Have fun.” I lay back on the bed and attempted to sleep.

I loved Susan to the heavens and beyond. She was so free-spirited; she brought sunshine into a room by stepping into it. My parents had her when I was seven, according to my mom, she and dad had agreed on two kids, my brother and I and had actually closed the birthing door when Susan happened.

Susan had been such a delightful child we all had spoilt her silly, she was a good selfless person, and very talented too. I doubt there was an art she couldn’t master.

My ringing phone startled me out of my reverie, an unregistered number. I knew instinctively it was Emeka. This was confirmed when I answered the call and heard a familiar male voice say; “Hello

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Second Chances E12

“It is beautiful.” Chima cooed, she was admiring her finished wedding dress, and it really was beautiful, and on time; the wedding was still two weeks away. “Thanks dear, you always get me.” She gave Deola a heartfelt hug, almost crushing her bones.

Deola protested when the hug was getting to tight.

“You look like you needed that.” Chima replied, going back to her dress.

“Huh?”

“Yeah, you look sad.”

“I am not sad.” Deola protested.

“Don’t lie to me.” Chima sat on the nearest sofa and patted the space beside her.

Deola joined her on the sofa.

“So tell me, what is it, why are you looking so gloomy?”

Deola sighed. “So, I surprised Kunle at his office, we went out for lunch, had a very swell time, did I tell you his family has given their blessings?”

“Yes, you did.”

“Good, ok. So, on our way back, I drove because that was part of the date, my surprise, my treat, him- just the pleasure of his company. And his appetite offcourse.”

Chima was nodding as she followed the narration.

“So, on our way back, my phone ran, I asked that he pick on my behalf; I was driving, guess who it was?”

“Who, I can’t guess.”

“Thomas Briggs.”

“THOMAS WHO?”

“Yeah, you heard right.”

“Why was he calling you?”

“He said, just to check up on me. In any case, I couldn’t care less. The problem now is; Kunle. He just went suddenly silent. He hasn’t been himself since that day. It’s been three days since, and conversations are few and far between, stilted. I’m scared Chima, I love Kunle so much, I don’t want to lose him.” Deola cried.

“By God’s grace you won’t. Come here darling.” Chima held out her hands to hug Deola.

Deola avoided her hug, got up and began pacing. “Why won’t Tom and his shadow just let me be, I made a mistake, a huge one, and I’m sorry I did it. I had an affair with a married man, and I’m sorry I did it. I love Kunle, I want to make a life with him, is that too much to ask?”

“No, it isn’t too much to ask.” Kunle replied from the doorway.

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Deola and Simi turned to the door in surprise at the sound of Kunle’s voice. They had been so engrossed they hadn’t heard him come in.

“Hi Kunle.” Chima said in greeting with a weak smile.

“Hi Chima.” Kunle replied, barely glancing a her, his attention on Deola.

Deola was very surprised to see Kunle, considering he had been subtly ignoring her recently, she hadn’t been expecting him.

Kunle wasn’t big on surprise visits. Usually he called or sent a message ahead before he visited. According to him; he hated wasted journeys. So, he being here was serious course for concern for her. What was the plan? To catch her in a compromising situation? Did this mean he didn’t trust her?

“Hi Deola.” He said softly, not moving from the doorway.

“Hi K” She replied warily. She wasn’t sure as to the reason for this visit. Matter of fact, she had a sneaky suspicion she might not like it.

“How have you been?”

Chima’s gaze was swinging from Deola to Kunle, they were both oblivious of the fact that she was present.

Deola shrugged her response, as though to say; ‘so so’.

Kunle came into the room and leant on the wall beside Deola, they were both now facing Chima, but neither of them paid her any heed.

“You know that day, when I took the call from Tom Briggs, I was angry and jealous as hell.” He paused, as though waiting for that to sink in. “My mind conjured up various scenarios, I didn’t even want to listen to your explanations.”

Deola sighed sadly in response, tears welling up in her eyes. This was it, she could feel it. Kunle was going to break-up with her, and who would blame him; she came with too much baggage. It hurt, so very much. She felt like her heart was breaking into a million pieces, she had thought she loved Tom, but what she had felt for him paled when compared with what she felt for Kunle, she loved him so, and didn’t know how she was going to survive being without him,

“I love you D, I want to be the only man in your life, to be the only man you know. Not realistic, right?” He shrugged. “I love you, and I want you to be my wife, the mother of my children, my best friend. Sorry Chima, but I’m about to usurp you.”

Chima smiled through tears, and waved him on to carry on.

He leaned off the wall, and stood in front of her, wiping away the tears trickling down her cheeks. “I don’t care if there are a million Tom Briggs, or my family refuses from now till eternity, I love you, I want to marry you. Marry me Deola?” He went down on a knee and produced a ring box out of his suit pocket.

It was all happening so very fast for Deola, one minute she’d been certain he was going to end the relationship, the next Kunle was on a knee, asking her to marry him with the most beautiful ring she had seen!

“Yes!” She screamed, laughing and crying at the same time. She was going to marry Kunle!

He slid the ring on her finger, it was her perfect size, she couldn’t believe this day was here, she had given up on falling in love when the scandal broke and she ended the relationship with Tom, she had given up on marriage, believing she would forever be tainted with the scandal of her past and no one would want her, but God had given her a second chance at love through Kunle, and she was taking it.

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 Here ends Deola and Kunle’s story: Second Chances, a sequel to Motive, one of the first series published on this blog. I hope you enjoyed it, I would love to hear from you.

Shout-out to faithful blog visitor Gift and her ‘pearl’!!!! They got married last Saturday, the 25th of April 2015, here’s wishing them a happy married life, with God’s blessings.

April is almost over, hello May……..

Second Chances E5

………They made small talk through the meal, Simi and Kunle’s mom asking her more questions in an attempt to know her better.

“I thought its prospective husbands that are grilled this way, all these questions remind me of when I came to marry Simi. You all asked so many questions and I’m sure turned over every stone in my family before you allowed me to marry her.” They all laughed.

“Yes o, that’s how it’s done. It’s normal. We’ll investigate her family, and they in turn will investigate us.” Mrs. Philips replied.

And the delicious food turned to sawdust in Deola’s mouth. She didn’t want anyone looking too closely at her.

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The rest of the afternoon passed pleasantly, they finished the meal and returned to the sitting room where Kunle’s mom regaled them with tales of Simi and Kunle’s antics.

Ade and Simi left soon after to pick their kids who had gone for a birthday party. Simi whispered to Kunle as he saw them out that she liked Deola.

Kunle returned to the living room and heard the tail end of Deola inviting his mother to her brother Dayo and Chima’s wedding, and his mother accepting to attend. He couldn’t be happier, things were going so well, his family loved Deola; he could tell, and Deola liked them to. He knew her, had seen her pretend to be pleasant to people, and he knew she wasn’t faking it now. They left in the early evening; he dropped her off at her home, and went on to his while she recounted her afternoon to her mother.

That night, they all went to bed happy; Kunle, Deola, and their mothers.

**********

Simisola Ade-Johnson was a career banker on a two-week leave. She loved working, and she loved her job. She found that unlike most people, when she was on leave she was bored listless. She had capable domestic help, and a loving but equally busy husband who was rarely home. So she had very little to occupy her when on leave. She and he husband; an engineer had planned to synchronize their leave but an emergency on a site that needed his expertise had necessitated Ade being called into work, and she was home alone and bored. She would gladly have foregone her leave days, but company policy was that all staff had to complete their annual leave days.

So, on the Monday after lunch at her mom’s with Kunle and Deola, after the kids had gone to school, and her maid had gone for her vocational training, she was bored, there wasn’t anything she found interesting on TV, so she decided to find out more about her soon-to-be, she expected sister in-law.

She entered the website address Deola gave her; she was impressed with what she saw on her official website. It was obvious Deola had talent, and she was a rarity too, a designer who could actually sew, and was actively involved in the creative process.

She googled her, hoping to find reviews of her designs on other websites. She was shocked at the hits she had. There had to be a mistake, she refined her search. Same; articles on Deola Lasisi and a married senator kidnapping saga. This couldn’t be. But the pictures she saw were of the Deola she had lunch with the day before. The same Deola had been a suspect in the kidnapping of her lover, a very married Senator Tom Briggs.

She couldn’t believe it! This was the same woman Kunle wanted to marry? No way. She was about to call her friend Lola, a gossip blogger to get more information when her doorbell rang. She hurried to the door, wandering who it was and was pleasantly surprised to find it was her husband.

She opened the door and hugged him, very excited that he was home.

“Welcome honey, what’s up, you’re home early.”

“Yeah, we made remarkable breakthrough on-site this morning, so I left the site engineer in charge, and came home to you, my dear.” He replied.

“That’s very good news. Come in and sit, let me get you something cold to drink.”

He sat down, while she went into the kitchen to get him so juice.

“Honey you won’t believe what I just found out.” She said as she returned to the living room with two glasses of juice on a tray.

“What is it?” Ade replied wearily.

“Apparently, Deola has this scandal involving her and one married senator who was kidnapped recently, she was his mistress,……”

“Senator Tom Briggs?” Ade asked.

“Yeah, I think, that’s him.” She pouted. “How come you know this things, and I don’t? I thought gossip was meant to be a women thing?”

“I don’t know about the gossip aspect, I just remember the senator was kidnapped sometime last year, and his mistress was a suspect. What does Deola have to do with all that?”

“Deola is that mistress!”

“Wow! Small world!”

“Small world indeed. I need to call Kunle and alert him to this fact and mama as well.”

“I don’t think you should do that.” Ade dropped the now empty glass on a side stool and turned to face his wife.

“Why? Kunle needs to know who he……”

“Do you honestly think Kunle doesn’t know? What the line of business he’s into?”

“Obviously he doesn’t or he won’t be serious about her. He won’t have introduced her to us, I mean, that’s an insult to mama, introducing such a woman to her.”

“I think you should stay out of Kunle’s business. He’s a grown man.”

‘He‘s also my brother, my only brother. I cannot fold my arms and watch him make a mistake.”

“Stay out of his business Simi.” Ade warned. “I forbid you to discuss this with him or mama.”

“But honey…….”

“Simi!” Ade warned sharply.

**********

Simi struggled with her husband’s warning that she was to stay out of Kunle and Deola’s relationship.  How could he expect her to sit back, do nothing, while her brother made a huge mistake?

She cringed as she drove into her parents’ compound later in the week; she had gone grocery shopping and picked up a few items for her mom. To think that Deola had fooled her as well, she had come across so innocent and nice, whereas the reality was different.

Anyway, her husband had made her promise, so she wasn’t going to say anything to her mom. But she believed her mom would find out herself sooner or later. This things had a way of coming out. A bad reputation couldn’t be covered.

*****

“Good evening mom.” She greeted her mom on entering the house going on her knees.

“Simisola, bawo ni?” Tinuke Phillips replied asking how Simi was doing in Yoruba.

“I’m fine ma.” Simi replied in English, rising to sit beside her mom on the sofa.

“Your husband and children, nko?”

“They are fine ma.”

Her mom’s maid; Alero came into the living room to greet Simi, and Simi gave her her car key asking her to get the groceries she bought from the car. She joined her mom in the movie she was watching on Africa Magic Yoruba. They were watching and discussing the movie, when her Mrs Philips pointed out that a fabric one of the actors was wearing in the movie was similar to the one Deola sent to her as the aso-ebi for her brother’s wedding.

Her mom came out with the fabric in a bag. “You won’t believe she didn’t measure me, she sent a finished iro and buba to me, and it’s my perfect size. Would you be free to attend the wedding with me, its next month?”

Simi had truly meant to keep the promise she made her husband, but if her mother and Deola were getting so familiar for her to plan on attending Deola’s brother’s wedding, she just had to speak up. She owed it to her family to tell what she knew.

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Second Chances E3

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Deola was woken to the sweet aroma of food, she could smell fried eggs, she could also smell coffee. Was she dreaming it? She opened her eyes to see her mom smiling to her on her bedside, with a tray beside.

Deola smiled widely. “Good morning mom.” She greeted as she sat-up to examine the contents of the tray. True to her nose, they was fried eggs, lots of it, some bread and two cups of coffee.

Hmmm! Her mom was up to something. Breakfast in bed was her tool to disarm, or when she just wanted to soften a person up. She guessed breakfast was about Kunle. For his sake and for the sake of their working relationship she hoped he hadn’t told her mom anything that would lead to her mom pressuring her.

“I need to use the bathroom.” Deola eased of the bed and went into the bathroom.

Five minutes later, she exited the bathroom, her mom was still on the bed, she smiled, her mom really had something on her mind.

“How are you this morning mom?” She asked sitting beside her and reaching for the cup of coffee.

“I’m very well, and you?”

“I’m good. It’s a beautiful day, it’s not every day you bring me breakfast in bed. Today’s gonna be a good day.” She helped herself to some bread and egg, waiting for her mom to get on with her reason for waking her with breakfast.

However, Mrs Lasisi wasn’t in a hurry to disclose, she made small talk with Deola as they ate together. They talked about Chima and Dayo’s upcoming wedding, and some other upcoming family events.

They were done eating and neither of them had mentioned Kunle or the previous night, and Deola’s curiosity was at its peak.

After they had eaten, Deola cleared the dishes, and prepared for work.

Her mom wasn’t in the house when she was about leaving, she heard her voice from the backyard. She was probably at her vegetable garden, since her mother retired, she became an enthusiastic gardener. She grew vegetables and flowers in her garden.

Deola went to the backyard, and true to her suspicion her mom was weeding. “Mommy.” She called her to draw her attention.

Mrs Lasisi straightened and smiled at Deola. “Are you leaving?”

“Yes mom.”

“Ok. Have a blessed day. You’ll call Kunle baa?”

Deola smiled. Her mom knew how to achieve an ambush. “Yes I will mom.”

“Ok. Enjoy your day.” Mrs Lasisi waved her off.

Deola walked off, an extra spring in her step. She had already decided to speak with Kunle, explain to him why they couldn’t have a relationship.

**********

Deola’s phone rang as she arrived at her shop. It was either Chima or Kunle, it was their ringtone. She parked her car before picking the call, it was Chima.

“Hello…..”

“Please tell me you’re at the shop, ‘cos I’m almost there.” Chima sounded frantic.

“Yea, I just arrived, what’s up?”

“I’ll be with you in a moment.”  Chima ended the call abruptly.

Deola smiled, shaking her head. There was always a crisis with Chima, she was always excited.

Entering her shop, she exchanged pleasantries with her staff and clients.

She dropped her handbag in her office, said a quick word of prayer and went back out to the showroom to attend to the clients.

*********

Chima breezed in a few minutes later, true to her words, she had been close. She ran past the showroom into Deola’s office, causing Deola to follow.

“I need to talk with you.” Chima began immediately.

“Okay……”

“Where do you draw the line on profitability?” Chima asked.

“I don’t understand?” Deola was perplexed. Was it business that had Chima running harried?

“Like, are there people you shouldn’t make profit off?”

“I guess, what’s this about?”

“Ok, Dayo and I chose our wedding rings, we chose from a selection online, from my dealer, and Dayo immediately transferred the cost to my account, but, when I was finalizing my orders for shipping, my dealer informed me he was giving me the rings for free. The wedding rings.”

“Okay, that’s good news, isn’t it?”

“The thing is, Dayo has refused for me to return the money, he insists it’s his duty to buy our wedding rings, and I agree. However, we aren’t paying for the rings, so what’s the money he transferred to my account for? I mean, I made mega profit from the engagement ring ‘cos when he bought it I didn’t know it was for me, and now again, this one?”

Hmmm. This was a dicey one.

“….And D insists that if I return the money, he’ll have to buy the rings elsewhere, I love my ring already. We’ve had it engraved with our names and, and…..” Chima went on, wringing her hands.

“Calm down Chima.” Deola led Chima to sit; it was clear there was more to this than the rings. “Are you ok?”

“No I’m not ok. I’m freaking out here. If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Dayo is so high-handed, he keeps saying I’m too emotional, he keeps treating me like a child, he’s too, too rigid.”

Deola smiled. “I remember the words you used a few months ago were ‘principled’.”

“That was then, this is now, he’s so….. authoritarian.”

Deola laughed. “Is he really, or do you just think so?”

“Ok, that’s not totally true, it’s just, he’s so frustrating. Last night, I would gladly have moved to another continent to escape him, I tried your number countless times it was switched off, where were you?” she accused.

“She was hiding away from me.” Kunle replied from the doorway.

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Second Chances E2

……….“You are beautiful.” Kunle murmured.

She blushed beneath her dark skin and took a nervous sip of water.

She cleared her throat, and made to continue, but he stopped her by speaking first.

“I want you to be this passionate when you talk about me. I want to be more than just a business associate, I want more.”

“You are already more than a business associate, we are friends.” She replied, increasingly getting uncomfortable at the line of discussion.

“Yes, but I want to be more than friends. I love you Deola, and I want to be with you, I want us to get married, it’s been months now since you asked for time and everyday it’s been torture. I……”

“Are you okay?” Deola snapped at Kunle, suddenly angry, why was Kunle putting her on the spot like this?  “Like, really Kunle can’t you see what a relationship with me would do to you?

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“Really Deola, do you think the world is standing still waiting for you to miss-step? You were last years’ news, we’ve all moved on, you should as well.”

In Deola’s heart, she knew Kunle’s words hadn’t been meant as cruel, and were to cause her to move on, emotionally. But hearing herself being referred to as last years’ news just infuriated her more.

She got up, grabbed her bag and walked out of the restaurant.

When Deola walked out on him, Kunle was immobilized for a few seconds. What was happening here? How did what he’d meant as a proposal go this bad?

What had he said that had her running away?

He got up and went after her. She wasn’t outside, and he drove them to the restaurant so she wasn’t with her car. Which meant she had taken a cab. He looked at the taxi stand beside the restaurant and felt like screaming in frustration.

He quickly dialed her number, hoping she would answer her call. It rang out, she didn’t pick, he redialed, same thing. On the third dial, he got a switched off response. His frustrations increased. He ran to the car park and got into his car. Kunle took a moment to calm himself. He was an advocate of safe driving, and knew it won’t do him any good to get on the road in his present mood. It was early evening; the evening rush. Besides, it was unwise to take on Lagos roads in an unclear state of mind.

He drove to Deola’s shop first, thinking she was going to pick up her car before heading home. It was locked, and no one was in her car. He beckoned on one of the security men and enquired if she had returned to the building. The guard denied seeing her that evening, and said he was sure no one was in her shop.

He tried her number again, still switched off. He drove to her house.

The gate-man hailed him immediately he stopped, and asked if he should open the gate for him to drive in. he declined and asked if Deola was back. The gate-man affirmed that she just got back.

Kunle parked his car outside and walked in. Their front door was ajar and he pushed it open. Mrs Lasisi came into the sitting room to see who it was who came in.

“Good evening ma.” He greeted her prostrating as Yoruba culture dictates.

“Kunle how are you?” She responded, her eyes questioning. Deola had come home a few minutes ago distraught, and all her enquiries had been met with a stoic; “I’m fine.” And now here was Kunle on her heals, looking troubled.

“Ma, is Deola in?’ He enquired politely.

“Yes she is, and I’m sure you know she’s in. what’s going on, what’s the problem?”

“I would like to talk to her, there’s been, I think a misunderstanding.”

Deola’s mom sighed, and sat in her favorite chair in front of the TV. Children of this generation and their drama! She waved him in. “She won’t talk to me, maybe she would talk to you.“

“Thank you ma.” He hurried to Deola’s room. The door was locked. He knocked, no response. Deola’s mom heard him knocking and she guessed Deola must have locked the door. She laughed, amused by the drama. She joined Kunle at Deola’s door and called to Deola.

Deola replied her from the other side. “Mommy I’m fine, I just want to sleep. We’ll talk in the morning.”

Her mom knew when Deola was in such a mood she won’t listen to reason, so she beckoned on Kunle to follow her. In the living room, she turned to him and said: “My dear, I don’t know what the problem is, but I will find out. Go, I’ll try to ensure she talks to you tomorrow.”

Kunle hesitated. He didn’t want to leave things between himself and Deola the way it was. A night was a very long time, and he had scheduled early morning meetings. Which meant the earliest he would see Deola was midday tomorrow, if she agreed to see him.

Mrs Lasisi sensed his hesitation, and asked: “Is it something you would like to talk about?”

He was tempted, so very tempted to discuss it with Deola’s mom, to seek counsel if he was being too forward, asking wrongly or wrong in asking. He loved Deola and while she was with Senator Briggs, he had ignored his feelings for her, but when the scandal broke and Deola ended the relationship, he had felt renewed hope and waited all this mnths for Deola to begin living again. To open her eyes and heart to him. But he knew Deola, discussing her with her mother would only infuriate her further. “I have to discuss it with Deola first.” He replied.

“Ok. I’ll talk to her.” Her mom promised.

He thanked her and left with a heavy heart.

*********

Deola sighed in relief and sadness when she heard Kunle leave. On one hand she was relieved he was gone, she hadn’t want to speak with him tonight, lest she say something that would destroy their professional and personal relationship.

On the other hand, she was sad he was gone. Truth be told, she loved Kunle, and were she a different person, with a different history, she would gladly be with him. But she was bound by the mistakes she had made, she had stupidly gone into a relationship with an un-suitable person thinking she was in love.  Now there was scandal attached to her name and she loved Kunle too much to drag him into her scandal. For if the press were to get a whiff of a relationship between herself and Kunle, it was going to be scandal all over again.

She hurt emotionally. She was so sad she couldn’t even shed tears. Whoever said the evil man does lives after him got it wrong, she was living with the repercussions of her transgression. What she wouldn’t give to erase the last few years! To start afresh, with the wisdom not to get involved with a married man.

She thought of calling Chima, but decided against it. Chima was sure to rush to her side, neglecting her fiancé, which wasn’t what Deola wanted. No sense in others being unhappy because of her own foolishness.

She got up off the bed to undress and prepare for bed, although she knew sleep would evade her. She heard her mom’s footsteps stop in front of her door. She froze, not wanting to make any sound and alert her mother to the fact that she was awake. A few seconds later, her mom walked on to her own room and Deola sighed in relief. She wasn’t emotionally prepared for her mom’s inquisition. She just wanted to be left alone to mourn her lost opportunities in peace. Hopefully, tomorrow would be a better day.

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Twists and Turns E12

Ify was having an attack of guilt. She had been restless all morning. Mark had gone for a meeting, but she hadn’t been able to settle. Their plans were falling into place, but the pleasure she had expected to feel wasn’t there. Ada had always been a true friend to her, and more so recently. Left to Ify, she would have left Ada alone in peace, but Mark thought differently.

Really, what did they stand to gain from destroying her? Practically nothing. Their kids were in Ada’s care, and she had accepted them as hers. Why couldn’t Mark just accept Ada. This new bid to bring Ada down was beginning to leave a sour taste in her mouth.

With a heavy heart, she picked her phone from her dresser to place a call to Ada. 

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In the end, calling Ada didn’t  helped Ify, she had heard and sensed the difference in Ada over the phone. She had lost her nerve, for really; what would she say to Ada? Oh Ada! FYI, my husband is up to a plan, I don’t know what it is yet, my renewed friendship and Ike’s reappearance is part of the plan, but I really don’t know what the plan is. Perhaps she could also throw in some good old advice for Ada to be careful and not to let her guard down.

Ify began to pace around the room. She had a bad feeling about this present plan. When her late father-in-law had wanted to marry Ada, and Mark had opposed it, and used Ify to attempt to discredit Ada; Ify had gone along with the plan in-order to endear herself to Mark and prove her loyalty. But this was years after, Mark’s father was dead. His will had been very fair, naming Mark as the chairman of the board of GO, and willing all that should accrue to him as the first son to him as tradition dictated. The only place Ada’s name had featured in the will was a clause declaring that all assets and properties given to Ada and in her name were to remain hers and not treated as part of his. Only her children had been named in the will. Ada’s children; Mark’s step-siblings.

Did Mark see them as his siblings? Ify very much doubted that. If he did he won’t be trying to destroy their mother. Ify was scared for Ada. She wished there was a way she could warn her. Ada had always been extremely good to her, always ready to help.

Ify began to straighten the bedroom. She wasn’t much of a house chores person but she always made their bed and made sure; as much as she could, that she was in the room when the maid cleaned. She didn’t trust any maid around her husband and in her personal space. Mark was usually a tidy person, but this morning, while searching for some papers, he had gone through the room like a hurricane.

She noticed his laptop, he must have forgotten it in his rush to go out. She picked it up and was about to set it aside on the dresser table when a thought occurred to her. Mark believed in writing stuff down, so chances were he had a type-written plan on Ada. Ify powered on the laptop. Password; oops! She didn’t know his password. When they were courting and were all lovey-dovey it had been SenatorMark, she was sure he must have changed it, but she tried I though. Wrong password! Whew!  What could he have changed it to. Mark believed in symbolisms, and in hiding stuff in plain sight. He believed the more obvious your password, the more difficult. She tried a combination of her kids name; wrong. She tried his and hers; wrong. Almost giving up, she remembered why he had used Senator Mark as his password years ago; he had been running for Senator and said using it as his password, that for every-time he uses the password, he’s spurred towards making his dream a reality. GovernorMark She tried that and the system unlocked. Ify jumped up in glee and did a little jiggy dance.

Hmmm! So many files to go through! She began scanning the titles of the desktop files, searching for something that might point to Ada. She saw a file titled Will, probably the late GO’s will. On second thought, Mark should have a will drafted, for one couldn’t be too sure. So she went back and opened it. Not wanting to get carried away, she barely glanced at it, minimizing it and continuing her search. Nothing looked remotely suspicious. She decided to search for Ada George on the system. She struck gold. Opening it, she was shocked as she read through. Mark planned on using Ike to get Ada to sign over her children’s shares in GO, to be in his control. And to bring in Ada’s company as part of GO to be owned by GO with him as Chairman of the board. Haba! She screamed out loud. What had Ada ever done to deserve such treatment? Ify was about to call Ada when she decided to wait, she should check if there was more.

She found nothing else, and went back to Mark’s will. The first document had stirred compassion for Ada, the second made her cry for herself. What? There wasn’t a single place where she was mentioned in Mark’s will! How? What did that mean? Mark named his brother as guardian to his children and executor of his will at his death! How could he do this to her? Did that mean he didn’t believe she could survive him? Nothing, her name wasn’t even mentioned in passing!

Silent tears rolled down her face. Her heart broke into a thousand pieces. What did this mean for Mark and herself? That he didn’t love her, or he wasn’t with her for the long haul, or all that mattered to him were his children? She couldn’t even process the overwhelming information.

She wept. Her tears falling on the laptop but she didn’t care. She peered into the screen time and time again hoping to see something different.

She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t hear the room door open. She heard Mark ask; “What are you doing, going through my laptop?”

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Lara’s Tale The concluding Episode

“….. Will you marry me?” Smith asks again.
“Ehm, Smith I need to think about it, this isn’t a decision to make lightly.”
“Fair enough.” He closed the ring box. “You’ll let me know when you’ve thought about it?”
“Yes, I will. Ehm, goodnight.” She opens the car door, steps a foot out of the car, she stops for some seconds, turns back to him, “Yes I will marry you.”
They both break out in wide smiles, Smith makes a whooping sound of joy, he exits the car, turns over to her side and lifts her out of the car in a bone crushing hug.
“Thank you God, thank you Lara, let’s go tell our daughter.”
They walk into the house to tell Ireti the good news.

Three months later they get married.
Remember; a true love story never ends.

~
Next week a new story series begins titled MOTIVE, here is a sneak preview on it.
In the preparation for a critical election, a high profile senator, who is also the president first cousin disappears from a hotel room in lagos. No ransom note, no evidence of a forced abduction, nothing to prove he is dead or alive.
There are a lot of suspects: his wife whom he has been cheating on and she suspects he might have plans to leave her. His mistress of five years, a celebrity designer who spent the night with him and he disappears the morning after. His political opponent with which he was locked in a critical election battle. Or perhaps it was a random kidnapping.

Lara’s Tale Episode Ten

The doorbell tinged.
“Ireti!” Lara yelled from her bedroom. “I think he’s here. Confirm before you open the door.”
Ireti walked excited to the door, she peeped through the peephole and confirmed it was Smith before opening the door.
“Hello Pastor.” She greeted him with a wide smile.
“Hello sunshine, you look as good as always.”
She blushed under her dark skin and looked self consciously at her jeans short and pink tee-shirt. “You think so?”
“Sure.” They both turned as they heard Lara approaching. Smith whistled appreciatively. Lara wore similar shorts and tee-shirt, she wore flat sandals while Ireti wore Tennis shoes. “I think we need armed escorts. You both look….”
Both ladies laughed.
“You look good yourself.” Lara said.
“Thanks dear.”
“So, where are we going?”
“Soon you will find out. Shall we?” He gestured towards the door to usher them out.
“Sure.” They all walk out and Lara locks the door behind them.

Titi walked into the church restroom, two ladies were walking out and stopped to exchange pleasantries.
“Sister Titi, how are you?” One of the ladies said.
“I’m good Mama, and you?”
“We bless God.”
“How are the wedding preparations coming on?” The other lady asked.
“Very well Ma. All is set.”
“Thank God. Two weeks to go.”
“Yes Ma.”
“God is in control. You are here for your counseling?” The first asked.
“Yes Ma.”
“Ok. God be with you.”
The ladies parted, Titi into the restroom, the other ladies walked towards the car park.
“Mama there’s this story I’ve heard but not confirmed yet.”
“Sister Peju! Story? You should know better than to indulge in gossip.”
“Mama this one isn’t gossip. I heard brother Ik and Sister Titi are already living together.”
“Yes, there are legally married, by a court of law.”
“Oh! Ok! I would have said. I know the church can’t be a party to such. I also heard…”
“Sister Peju!”
“Mama this one is about Pastor Smith and that other lady, sister Titi’s friend.”
“And what about them?”
“I heard they are seeing each other.”
“So?”
“Mama she is an unwed single mother.”
“So?”
“Pastor Smith shouldn’t be with the likes of her when our daughters fresh and pure are still available. I know you are close to him. My Bimpe, I can vouch for her purity, she is….”
“Sister Peju! Haba! What are you doing?”
“Mama I’m just trying to…”
“Say no more. I’m not interested in anything that has to do with hearsay or your suggestions for Pastor Smith.”
“Yes ma.”
They stopped beside a car.
“The driver isn’t here?” Mama asked looking around. She spotted the driver jogging towards them. “There he is.”
The driver got to the car, unlocked it, they got in and drove off.

“So it seems Olu calling Ik is all innocent?” Chichi asked.
“It seems.” Titi replied.
“I think you should relax and trust Ik.” Lara said.
“I think so too, because that’s what has always pissed him off, that you don’t trust and confide in him.” Chichi added.
“I try. I’ve been solving my issues on my own for as long as I can remember. You know how long it took me to let you girls in.” Titi replied pensively.
“Yeah, you have to start somewhere.” Chichi said.
“I’m trying.”
“Let’s talk about something more pleasant, Femi finally left.” Chichi twiddled her fingers gleefully.
“Back to his oyinbo wife.” Titi jested.
“African American. She is African American.” Lara said seriously.
“All join! Anyways, he’s gone, and a little bird tells me you and Pastor Smith will soon be doing the wedding march.”
“Ha ha! We need to survive this saturday and Titi’s wedding first.”
“Seriously, I don’t know how the plans just snowballed. I just wanted a small intimate ceremony, now with both parents input its looking like a circus!” Titi exhaled.
“You’ve not seen anything. That’s going to be the case for most parties throughout your married life.” Chichi chuckled.
“Two days to go, no more inputs. Hopefully.” Lara said.
“Hopefully.” Titi affirmed. ‘I almost forgot, let me tell you ladies what happened on sunday after service. Some ladies in the church want to match make Lara’s Smith with their daughters!”.

The wedding ceremony was so beautiful, and hitch free. The bride glowed in a simple ivory mermaid gown and the groom looked dapper. Titi’s father walked her down the aisle and handed her to the officiating minister. Lara was her maid of honor and despite that she was showing a little Chichi was a bridesmaid. She and Titi’s sister were the only bridesmaids, and off course Ireti was a flower girl, the ring bearer, Ik’s nephew almost dropped the ring while playing with the little bride at the alter. The pastor led them to exchange their vows and they were pronounced husband and wife. After the church service, the wedding party moved on to the reception venue where it was fun all through. It was a beautiful fusion of an Igbo and a Yoruba wedding. At the reception, Ik suprised Titi with a two weeks honeymoon vacation in the Seychelles Islands, and they happily left for the airport after the reception.
Smith drove Lara and Ireti home after the reception. When they got to the house, Ireti alighted and went in.
“So, school holidays are around the corner, and I was thinking we could all take a vacation. You, Ireti and I, go to Accra, see my family.” Smith said.
“Wow! That’s so… Sweet of you. See your family?” Lara asked.
“Yes, they want to meet you.”
“I didn’t know you had told your family about me.”
“I have, and I’ve been waiting to ask you; will you marry me? You and Ireti?”
“Smith, don’t you think its too soon. I mean, we just met….”
“I’m a grown man Lara, and I know what I want, and I want you and Ireti. Will you marry me?”