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……..

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Second Chances E11

Deola was driving Kunle back to his office. She had shown-up at his office to whisk him off on a surprise lunch date. As was always the case with them, they had talked for so long, and lost track of time. Only when a client had called her with a wardrobe disaster, had they left the restaurant. Deola was going to drop him off, back at his office, and go on to hers.

Her phone rang.

“Sweet, please could you help me answer the phone and tell Madam Clara, I’ll be with her soon. Deola said, concentrating on the traffic.

He picked up her phone. “It isn’t Madam Clara’s number.”

“Who? Either way, please help me answer it.”

“Hello.” He said, answering the call.

“Hello. Ms Adeola Lasisi?” The voice at the other end enquired.

‘This isn’t Deola, she’s driving and asked me to take a message.” Kunle replied, believing it’s a customer. “Whom am I speaking with?” He asked to confirm.

“This is Preye, calling on behalf of Senator Tom Briggs, the senator would like to speak with her.” Senator Briggs assistant said, believing she was speaking with Deola’s assistant.

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“Excuse me?” Kunle asked shocked.

“Yes, I said the senator would like to speak to Miss Adeola Lasisi.” The lady on the phone repeated.

Kunle silently held out the phone to Deola.

“Who is it?” Deola asked, dividing her attention between Kunle and her driving, Kunle wasn’t looking so good, who was it on the phone, she hoped it wasn’t bad news.

“It’s a lady, she said she’s calling on behalf of Senator Tom Briggs?”

“Huh!” Deola almost slammed the brakes in shock. Tom was calling her? “Why?” she asked out loud, immediately signaling to ease out of traffic and park.

“I guess, you have to answer to know.” He handed her the phone when she parked on the road-side.

“He- hello?” She croaked into the phone.

“Hello, Miss Adeola Lasisi?”

“Yes, speaking.”

“Ok, hold on for Senator Briggs.”

Deola heard  some connection static, and a few seconds later, she heard Tom’s voice.

“Hello Deola.”

“Hello Senator.”  She replied calmly, she was very nervous inside, but tried to be calm. Kunle was reclined on the seat, his eyes shut. She could feel the tense vibes emanating from him.

Her heart was beating wildly, she didn’t want to speak with Tom, she didn’t want to know him at this moment. Why was he calling her? To screw-up her life again? And talk about wrong timing, he just had to be calling her at this moment, when she was with Kunle. Would he believe her that this was the first time Tom was calling her after the break-up last year?

“How have you been?” Tom asked after some seconds of silence between them.

“I’m fine.”

He chuckled. “Aren’t you going to ask me how I am?”

“I don’t mean to be rude, but, I don’t really want to know.”

“Wow! That’s harsh.”

Deola shrugged out her response as though Tom could see her.

He exhaled loudly into the phone. “I guess that answers my next question. It would have been; if you’ve missed me, but I have a feeling I don’t want to know the answer to that question. You are okay, right?”

“Yes, yes I am okay.” She said firmly, not wanting Kunle to entertain any doubts as to her responses.

“Okay, enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Thank you, you too.”

She ended the call and realized her hands were shaking badly. She said a quick prayer for calm and for God’s help. She tapped Kunle gently. “K’ She called to him.

“Yeah, you done?” he opened his eyes and sat up.

“Yeah, he said he just called to say hi.” She tried to explain. “This is the first time he’s called in………”

“Deola?” Kunle interrupted her. “No explanations, just, drive.” And he reclined back in the chair with his eyes shut.

Deola had no option than to do as he had requested.

When she pulled into his office parking lot, he calmly got down and walked away. Confused on what to do, she called to him.

“Not now Deola, you have a client to attend to.” He replied and waved her away.

Knowing Kunle, and knowing that was the most she would get from him at that moment, she pulled out of the lot, and drove to her office. He was right, she did have a client to attend to.

***********

“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 haven’t spoken with, or attempted to contact Tom since the break-up, and this is the first time he called. why did he call, why cant he leave me alone? I love Kunle, I want to make a life with him, is that too much to ask?” Deola was almost hysterical.

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

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Second Chances E10

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Simi knocked softly on the door to Deola’s office. She wanted to surprise her, take her unawares, see her unguarded response to her. That would inform her next line of action.

“Come in.” Deola called from inside the office without looking up. She was working intently on her laptop. It was the almost end of the month with its attendant paperwork. She had to go over the accounts of the past month, and payroll too. That day was the deadline she’d set for herself, she had to finish with the all paperwork and get back to designing. She had some huge orders, and a very short deadline. Chima and Dayo’s wedding was in a fortnight, and she had another wedding right on its heels, in which she was making the bridesmaids dresses, and a sizeable percentage of the aso-ebi ladies. She couldn’t complain, this meant business was picking up, and she sure could do with some cash inflow. Since cutting off ties with the Senator, the business had been limping from paying for itself. In the first few weeks after she had ended the relationship with Tom, she had been tempted to close down the business. She hadn’t wanted to move forward with anything that had ties to him, but for the thought of her staff, her loyal clients, and the fact that despite that the start-up cash had come from him, she had put in so much into it, so she had resolved to see the business succeed. She couldn’t change the past, but she could work towards a better future.

Simi pushed the door ajar and entered. “Hello Deola.” She greeted.

A combination of having gone hours without eating, and surprise, had Deola seeing a blurry image of Simi, as she stepped into her office. Deola stared disbelievingly at Simi, was she imagining her?

“Hi.” Deola hurried to her feet, hitting her foot against the desk in the process. She barely felt the pain. The surprise was overwhelming. “Please sit.” She gestured towards the chairs opposite her. “Ma, can I get you something to drink?” She remembered her manners, and tradition that required that everyone older than you be accorded utmost respect, especially when they had a certain power over you, such as being your in-laws, or prospective in-laws.

“No, I’m fine thank you.” Simi replied graciously, sitting down.

Deola returned to her seat, and flashed a hurried smile as she struggled for calm. Simi was in her office and she had no idea why. She looked calm, and just kept on smiling at her, hopefully she didn’t come to her spoiling for a fight. “Are you sure you don’t want anything? I have juice, iced tea, water, or I could send out for something.” She offered, attempting to fill the silence.

“I’m fine, really.” She laughed. “You are nervous, and I detect some hope too.”

Deola spread her hands expansively, as though saying; what do you expect.

“But its ok, I’m nervous too. Do you love my brother?” She asked.

Deola automatically answered; “Yes ma.” Before assimilating the question.

“That’s good enough for me.” She reclined in the chair. “You see, when I was young, I used to watch a lot of our local movies, I detested the wicked mother-in-law part, and I promised myself I was going to be a very cool mother-in-law, best friends with my daughter-in-law, bla bla bla. But you know fate has a weird sense of humor; sister-in-law level, I almost failed. Which brings me to the reason I’m here; I owe you an apology, my only excuse is; I wanted the best for my brother, and I forgot I don’t decide what’s best for him. I’m sorry I kicked against your relationship.”

Deola was so overwhelmed by emotions, she could barely speak. “Thank you ma.” She croaked out.

“My brother loves you. He was willing to take on opposition for you. I have a feeling you love him just as much.”

“Yeah.”

“That’s all I need to know.” Simi got up. “Also, I do apologize for barging in on you like this, I wanted to see your unguarded response to me. You passed excellently well.”

“Thank you ma.” Deola also rose to her feet.

“Please call me Simi, I’m not one to stand on the tradition of you being subservient to me. We’re going to be sisters; sisters don’t refer to each other as ‘ma’. You are going to marry Kunle aren’t you?”

“Uhm, I guess, I’m not, he hasn’t asked.” Deola stammered in response.

Simi laughed. “He will ask, Kunle loves you very much.” Simi went around the table and hugged Deola.

The tears which Deola had been holding in rolled silently down her face as she hugged Simi back.

“Take care.” Simi said, disengaging and leaving Deola’s office, she too wiping tears from her eyes.

Deola sank into the chair as her feet couldn’t hold her up any longer. Wow! Double wow! Did that just happen? “Thank you Jesus.” She said out loud, clasping her hands in thanks. A wide smile slowly spread on her face as she went through Simi’s visit in her mind.

She remembered the aso-ebi fabric she had wanted to give to Simi for her brother’s wedding, and ran to her work room to get it. She caught-up with Simi as she was about driving out of the complex and gave her the bag. Simi happily accepted it and promised to attend the wedding.

*********

Later that week.

Deola was driving Kunle back to his office. She had shown-up at his office to whisk him off on a surprise lunch date. As was always the case with them, they had talked for so long, and lost track of time. Only when a client had called her with a wardrobe disaster, had they left the restaurant. Deola was going to drop him off, back at his office, and go on to hers.

Her phone rang.

“Sweet, please could you help me answer the phone and tell Madam Clara, I’ll be with her soon. Deola said, concentrating on the traffic.

He picked up her phone. “It isn’t Madam Clara’s number.”

“Who? Either way, please help me answer it.”

“Hello.” He said, answering the call.

“Hello. Ms Adeola Lasisi?” The voice at the other end enquired.

‘This isn’t Deola, she’s driving and asked me to take a message.” Kunle replied, believing it’s a customer. “Whom am I speaking with?” He asked to confirm.

“This is Diana, calling on behalf of Senator Tom Briggs, the senator would like to speak with her.” Senator Briggs assistant said, believing she was speaking with Deola’s assistant.

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Second Chances E9

“She’s against our relationship right?” Deola asked calmly.

“Not really, she’s just….”

“Don’t lie to me Kunle.”

“Yes.” He responded tersely.

“Ok, that’s it, I’m out.” Deola said, detaching herself from Kunle’s embrace.

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“What do you mean by; I’m out?” Kunle asked slowly.

“This relationship, it’s over. I’m done.” She got up and went to stand, leaning against the wall in the corner farthest from him, arms crossed defensively.

“Unacceptable.” Kunle replied.

“Say what?”

“You heard me, that’s unacceptable.” He repeated. “Thing is Deola, I’m happy you used the word relationship, because that’s what this is. You, me, we’re in a relationship. Every relationship, every marriage always has the nay-sayers, there’s even provision for it in all marriage ceremonies. This is our moment of opposition, and we,” He indicated the both of them. “We, would weather the storm together. It is totally unacceptable of you to back out of the relationship.”

Deola started to cry softly.

He sighed and threw up his hands in dismay. What did he say now to get her crying? He got up and went to her, pulling her into his embrace.

“Why can’t you let me go?” She sobbed.

“I can’t D, I love you.”

She pushed him away, or attempted to, because he held fast.

“But your family is against our relationship.”

‘They’ll come around. Mom is already coming around. Simi will too.”

“What do you mean mom is already coming around, your mom knows too, she knows about my past?” Deola cried. “Can’t you see, can’t you see this is a disaster waiting to happen?”

“No D, I can’t see that. We aren’t denying your past, I’m fully aware of everything that happened. Everything Deola, still I love you. In spite of it, and with it, I love you and want to marry you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you Deola, you, not anyone else. Tell me you don’t love me Deola, this is your one last chance. Tell me you don’t love me, and I walk away now, I walk away”

She sobbed some more.

He hugged her closer and pecked her on her fore-head. “We’ll be fine, we’ll be just fine.”

**********

Simisola had barely parked her car before her children jumped out of the car, and ran into her parent’s house. They had been excited all morning since she told them they were going to spend the night at their grandma’s. She needed for them out of the way that night, so she and Ade could have a couple’s night. For over a week since they’d argued over Deola and Kunle, Ade had been cold towards her, and she couldn’t bear it anymore, she needed to bridge the divide and she had a romantic evening planned just to show how sorry she was.

It had taken a visit and a talk with Ade’s sister Rolake for her to really understand the gravity of what she had done. Rolake who lived in Abuja with her family had come to Lagos for a week-long course and had stayed with them for the duration. She had observed the frostiness between Simi and Ade and had asked Simi what it was about. Simi had confided in her, for amongst her in-laws, Rolake was the nicest, and easiest to get along with. Coupled with the fact that she was a Christian indeed, and lived her faith.  According to Rolake, when Ade had wanted to marry her, he’d been met with stiff opposition from his family. They had made some enquiries, and hadn’t liked what they found out. They had been the issue of the questionable untimely death of Simi’s father and her maternal grandfather; it had raised doubts in Ade’s family as to the safety of their brother in marriage with Simi. They was also the issue of Simi’s ‘pregnancy’, his family hadn’t believed she was pregnant, or if she was, that Ade was responsible. According to Rolake, the family had been very against the union, but Ade had defended her solidly, even risking disinheritance.

That revelation had opened Simi’s eyes, and helped her to understand where Ade was coming from when he had warned that she stay out of Kunle and Deola’s relationship. She had been so bitter against Deola, blaming her marital dis-harmony on her, and had sworn she would do all within her power to frustrate the relationship. It had taken a bit of soul searching after Rolake’s visit for her to realize she was the one to be blamed for the dis-harmony and not Deola. She had apologized to Ade, and he had accepted, but remained cold and distant, barely saying more than was needed to her. Hence she felt the need for both of them to have some alone time.

She got her children’s overnight bag out of the car boot and followed the sound of their excited chatter into her mother’s bedroom.

“Good afternoon mom.” She greeted going on her knees as is customary.

“My daughter, how are you?” Mrs Tinu Phillips replied, her voice muffled as the children were all over her, competing for who would give grandma the closest hug.

“I’m fine mom.” She sat beside her mom on the bed and summoned her sternest voice.  “Kids, let grandma breathe.” She warned.

Reluctantly, they disentangled themselves from their grandma, and allowed her to sit up. They promptly sat beside her, one on each side of her.

“You kids go put your things away in your room, let grandma and I talk.”

“Okay.” They chorused, and happily ran to do their mother’s bidding.

“It’s amazing the kind of energy this children have. They never tire.” Simi said, as the kids ran out.

“That’s kids for you. You were once like them.” Her mother replied laughing softly.

“Who, me? Impossible. I must have been a cool kid, very well behaved.” Simi replied smiling.

“Yes, indeed.” Her mom replied, and they both laughed.

“Ok mommy, I have to run. Ade would be returning soon, and they are still a million things to do.” Simi said, glancing at her wristwatch.

“Ok. You just take it easy.” Tinu advised. Simi had briefed her on her plans for the evening when she had called that morning to confirm if she could bring the kids over for the night. She had also informed her mom of her decision not to oppose Deola and Kunle’s relationship anymore, but rather to pray for them.

Her mom had echoed the same sentiments, for she had prayed about it and was convinced the best they could do for Kunle was to support his choice and uphold them in prayers.

Simi left her mother’s house soon after that, after warning her children to be good for grandma. A warning she knew they wouldn’t heed. As they used to say when she was a child; the warning had probably entered one ear, and flown out of the other. Simi laughed out loud, as she drove out of her family compound, they were a few things she had to pick-up before heading home, but first she had to see Deola. She hoped she would be in her shop, since she hadn’t called her to confirm. It was a spur of the moment decision, but the right decision nonetheless.

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Second Chances E8

Ade and Simi were returning home from Ade’s colleague’s wedding, Ade was driving. It had been a beautiful wedding, and as women are known to, Simi was analyzing the wedding piece-by-piece.

“I don’t know why people fuss over the wedding ceremony. If the couple knew the work ahead of them, they would save their energy for the marriage, and not expend it on a wedding ceremony.

Simi laughed. “Spoken like a man.” She said.

“Yeah, us men aren’t concerned about our wedding being the talk of the town, or being feautured in, what’s that website again?”

“Bellnaija.”

“Yeah, and all those other things you ladies care about. It’s the marriage that matters, not the ceremony.”

“True, but the wedding ceremony is the foundation.”

He shrugged. “Speaking of weddings, how far with Kunle and Deola? When is theirs coming up?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know if there’s going to be a wedding. When I told mommy…..”

“You did what?’ Ade angrily cut her off. “You told your mom when I clearly told you to stay out of it?

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Simi was surprised at the anger emanating from Ade. Really, what was his own in this whole issue? Kunle was her brother, her only brother, and she couldn’t be expected to sit back and do or say nothing, while that woman sinks her fangs into him.

“I’m sure you didn’t really expect me to just let it slide, mama deserved to know who she was getting for a daughter in-law.” She replied.

“To what end, what’s the benefit? You’ll just end up stirring up trouble and if Kunle insists on marrying her, he’ll be met with stiff opposition from the home front, and if he insists….. Seriously Simi, have you think of what this could do to your family?”

“I’m trying to keep that woman away from destroying my family. Her kind come with bad luck.”

“Her kind, what kind is that?”

“Why are you so defensive of Deola, is there something else going on I should know about?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I just want Kunle to make his own choices devoid of any pressures.”

‘I don’t believe you, I’m beginning to think there’s more to this whole thing. Did you have an affair with her, is she blackmailing you, asking that you support her or she will tell?”  Simi accused.

‘Don’t be ridiculous Simi. That day at mama’s house was the first time I met her.” Ade replied defensively.

“I’m not being ridiculous; I know her kind, manipulative women. If she has anything on you, you need to tell me so we can…….”

“You mean manipulative like the way you manipulated me into marrying?” Lying that you were pregnant and conveniently miscarrying after the wedding?”

Simi stared at Ade open-mouthed, mid speech. She couldn’t believe this was the man she’d been married to for years. Ade had never confronted her on the issue of the pre-wedding pregnancy and she had believed he didn’t know had thought he had believed her story. She was so shamed, and her dislike for Deola burned into hatred. Deola was he reason her husband had just referred to her as manipulative. Simi sat staring straight ahead, fighting tears. Deola was yet to be married into the family, and she was already causing dis-harmony? In that moment of hurt, Simi vowed to fight Kunle’s marriage to Deola.

**********

Deola smiled tiredly as Kunle as he entered her workroom. She was bent over Chima’s dress, measuring, cutting and pinning. She was making Chima’s dress herself, she needed to get it right, she couldn’t afford for Chima to get back into the bridezilla mode.

“Hey K, how are you?” She welcomed him, her smile brightening. He looked her over from the top of her pony-tailed hair to her short and tank top, and her flat sandals. He almost laughed out loud. She was dressed exactly as he’d imagined she’d be. He had taken off his jacket and removed his tie at his car before coming in. he had known she would be very dressed down and didn’t want t look to dressed up. He hoped they could grab dinner together later on.

“Hey beautiful.” He enveloped her in a hug and kissed her on her forehead. “How are you?”

“I’m good, better now you’re here. How are you, how was your day?”

She let him gently pull her to a couch in the side of the room. They sat, with her still in his embrace.

“My day was good, I got a new client today.”

“That’s good, congratulations.” She hugged him closer.

“Thank love.”

“Anyone I know?”

“Yeah, Flourish Pharmaceuticals.”

“O, that’s a good one.”

“Yea, they’re rolling out a new drug, they want the full works.”

“That’s very good news.”

“Yeah. How was your day?”

“It went well, Chima’s dress is almost done, I also got a new client, a client brought in her cousin.”

“That’s nice, we both had new clients today.”

“Yes. K, I want to send Sister Simi too Chima and Dayo’s asoebi, I don’t know if I should make Iro and Buba, or I should request for her measurements, or I should just send her the fabric for her to make with her designer. What do you think?” Simi asked excitedly. She got up and ran to her office, she returned a while later with a plastic bag with the asoebi fabric in it.

While she was gone, Kunle thought of how best to tell Deola he wasn’t sure about sending Simi the fabric.

“I have it here already,” Deola continued, oblivious to Kunle’s inner struggle. “But I don’t know where to send it to, and in what form to send it. Are you ok?” She asked, he was looking troubled.

“Yeah I’m fine.” He cleared his throat. “Why don’t you chill on the fabric, let me ask her first.”

“No, I was thinking, why don’t I call her up myself.”

“The thing is, Deola……..”

“Oh my!” Deola was beginning to have a rotten suspicion Kunle was holding out on her. “Is there a problem?”

“No, not really.”

“Not really.” She perched on the edge of her work table. “Tell me.” She invited calmly.

He sighed deep and loud. “Simi probably won’t be attending the wedding.”

‘Why?”

“She’s having, she’s not, ……”

“She’s against our relationship right?” Deola asked calmly.

“Not really, she’s just….”

“Don’t lie to me Kunle.”

“Yes.” He responded tersely.

“Ok, that’s it, I’m out.”

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Second Chances E7

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Immediately Kunle arrived at his mom’s, she ushered him to an already set dining table. He dutifully sat and ate; no sense in him declining on account of him wanting a lighter meal, he knew his mother; she would insist on making him whatever he wanted.

So he ate the meal without fuss, all the while curious as to the reason his mom summoned him that evening. She made small talk while he ate, bringing him up to speed on recent family happenings, their cousin who had gotten married to recently and was having marital issues.

When he had finished eating, they moved to the living room.

“You see my son, when it comes to marriage, there’s no perfect person, however; they are some people you should just avoid. There are some people that are not eligible, rara.” She continued, when they had settled in the living room, both of them seating on the two-seater couch.

Her words settled at the bottom of Kunle’s stomach like lead bombs. Like really, where was this talk leading to?

“Your generation is lucky; there are many means of finding out about a supposed spouse and their family. With the internet and other means of communication and information dissemination, it is very easy to do the background check-ups.”

Kunle cleared his throat uncomfortably.

“Are you ok, would you like some water?” She asked concerned.

“I’m fine ma.” He replied.

‘Are you sure?”

“Yes ma. I should get going.” He made to stand up.

“Ok dear. I need to ask you, how serious is it between you and Deola?”

And she finally got to the crux of the matter! Kunle thought to himself, when she began with all the talk about marriage, he had suspected this was where they were headed. He had a niggling suspicion there was a lot more to that question, than mere curiosity. Ever since he had brought Deola to lunch at her place, she had concluded they were a done deal, so for her to be asking this question? He couldn’t even allow himself to guess.

“It’s pretty serious ma, I love Deola, and I want to marry her.” He decided there was no point beating around the bush.

“How well do you know Deola?” She asked after a few seconds of silence greeted his admission.

“I know Deola very well. I know all there is to know about her. Ma is there something going on here, is there something you want to say?”

“My dear, that day I met Deola, I liked her, very much.” She took his hands in hers. “She seemed like a nice girl. However, I found out come things about her that negate all that. Which was why I asked you how well you knew her, because if you knew her well, you’ll know you cannot marry her.”

Kunle closed his eyes in pain. The moment he had dreaded had arrived; his mom had found out about Deola’s past and was obviously unimpressed at it. ‘What do you know and how did you find out?” He asked, struggling for calm.

“You see, thanks to the internet, getting information is now very easy.”

Kunle rolled his eyes; his mom was lecturing him on the workings of the internet? His mom who wasn’t internet savvy? Wait a moment, which meant she probably hadn’t gotten the information herself. Simi!!!

“What did Simi tell you?” Kunle was always a direct speaking kind of guy, and didn’t believe in wasting a moment circumnavigating an issue.

“Simi said she found out the girl has an un-savory past.”

“Yea, I know. I was there through it all. And I love her in spite of all that.”

“How can you love a woman like that? I hope you’re in your right senses? The wife of your youth shouldn’t be a discarded mistress who runs after…”

“Mother!!!!!” Kunle warned, rising to his feet.

“Yes my son. You have to understand that these things have far reaching consequences, how can you trust such a woman? How can you trust that your children are yours? A woman who would sleep with a married man for money is not a good……”

“Mother! Really? I expected better from you. Deola made a mistake, which she has since regretted. I expect you as a Christian to be more forgiving.”

Wo, my dear, even religion is with me on this one. Our faith frowns greatly on adultery.”

“And it also teaches us that no sin is unforgiveable, there’s no one who can’t repent, and no sin is unforgiveable.”

‘In a world of many women, women of virtue, women without scandal and stigma attached to their name, must it be her?”

‘Yes mom, it has to be her. I love Deola very much, and I will marry her, with or without your support. Although I would prefer to do it with your support.”

“I am your mother; I know what’s best for you.”

‘I am your son mom, an adult. I can’t claim to be as wise as you are, I can’t claim to know it all, but I do know I love Deola, and she’s the only woman I want to and will marry scandal and all.”

“Kunle!”

“Yes mom. I know the whole story, I know that story beyond whatever you and Simi know. I’m not crazy; I’m also not under the influence of anything. I love her mom; she made a mistake which she totally regrets. Deola is a very good person, you loved her the first time you met her, and you were very supportive before you heard about the scandal.” He crouched beside her. “That Deola you met that day, that is the real person, she wasn’t pretending. Forget everything you’ve heard about her, accept Deola as the woman I love, the woman I will marry. Give her a chance mom, please I beg you.”

Tinu Philips looked away and refused to meet her son’s imploring gaze. Everything he had said appealed to her to reconsider, but the odds against Deola were great also. She didn’t want a home wrecker for a daughter in-law. Karma was another thing, when Karma came calling, she didn’t want her son to be caught in the cross-fire.

What was she thinking, she was a Christian, and it wasn’t her duty to judge. It wasn’t her duty to prescribe who gets punished and what would be the measure of the person’s punishment. Kunle seemed very convinced that Deola was a changed person, and the Bible teaches that if we confess and forsake our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us.

Everything human and maternal in her was screaming that she forbid Kunle from marrying Deola, but the Christ in her urged her to give the issue more thought, to pray about it. She sighed deeply and pulled Kunle up to seat beside her.

“Why her?” She asked after a long while of silence.

“I have no idea mom, I tried to fight it, I really did. Deola also lives in fear of this reaction from you. She wanted to spare me this; she was very reluctant to even consider this relationship. I might not know why her, but I know she is a good person who has never tried to hurt anybody. I know that sounds so clichéd, but please mom, give her a chance, get to know her.”

Tinu wiped the tears running down her face. “We should pray about this, ask God for direction.”

“Thank you mom, thank you.” He hugged her.

“That’s not a go ahead.” She warned mildly.

‘I know.” He smiled. “Thank you.”

“I need a glass of water.” She called her maid. “Would you like some?” She asked him.

“No, I should get going.” He glanced at his wrist watch, it was pretty late. “I have an early morning meeting.” He said, getting up.

“Ok dear.” She got up to walk him to his car, outside. “Don’t forget to pray about it. “And pray with an unbiased mind.” She reminded him, as he was driving off.

“Yes mom.” He replied, his heart lighter than it was when he arrived.

**********

Ade and Simi were returning home from Ade’s colleague’s wedding, Ade was driving. It had been a beautiful wedding, and as women are known to, Simi was analyzing the wedding piece-by-piece.

“I don’t know why people fuss over the wedding ceremony. If the couple knew the work ahead of them, they would save their energy for the marriage, and not expend it on a wedding ceremony.

Simi laughed. “Spoken like a man.” She said.

“Yeah, us men aren’t concerned about our wedding being the talk of the town, or being feautured in, what’s that website again?”

“Bellnaija.”

“Yeah, and all those other things you ladies care about. It’s the marriage that matters, not the ceremony.”

“True, but the wedding ceremony is the foundation.”

He shrugged. “Speaking of weddings, how far with Kunle and Deola? When is theirs coming up?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know if there’s going to be a wedding. When I told mommy…..”

“You did what?’ Ade angrily cut her off. “You told your mom when I clearly told you to stay out of it?”

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Second Chances E6

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 morning 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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“Mom, I read something about Deola online.”

“What was it, is it about how talented she is. You said you were going to look her up. Is she one of the famous pricey designers?” Tinuke Philips asked, admiring her dress. “And the fabric is so beautiful; it’s bound to come out well with any design.” She went on, not giving Simi the opportunity to reply. She dropped the blouse in Simi’s lap and sat beside her.

“It, it’s beautiful. The thing is mom; I learnt Deola used to date one married senator from the South-south, who opened her business for her.”

“Are you sure it’s the same Deola?” Tinu queried skeptically. “It has to be a mix-up.”

“It is the Deola Lasisi we met on Sunday.” Simi confirmed. “There was a scandal a while back, when the man was kidnapped here in Lagos, while visiting Deola.”

Mogbe!” Tinu exclaimed.

“Deola was the prime suspect, but was cleared when the police caught the culprit, the senator’s cousin.”

“Ah! Kunle will not kill me. Does he know all these?”

“Yes he does, he was her PR rep before, during, and after the scandal. He most know all the details.”

Yeeeyyy!” Tinuke Philips looking around the living room for her phone. ‘Where is my phone?” She asked no rhetorically. “I need to call Kunle, he needs to disassociate himself from that woman before it’s too late.”

“Ehm, mom,” Simi itched her head thoughtfully. “I agree the relationship has to end, but how do we go about it. Thing is, my husband warned me not to tell you this, and not to discuss it with Kunle.”

“Why would he say that, what’s his interest in this situation?”

“I don’t know mom, but you know Ade, when he takes a stand……….”

Hmmmm. Mrs Philips folded her arms lost in thought.

‘Appearances are really deceptive. She came here, looking all innocent, like butter wont melt in her mouth! Ok, I’ll approach the issue with caution. But my son, my only son cannot marry an aristo!”

**********

When Simi left her mom’s house, later that day, she went back to the mall, this time to shop for her husband. She splurged on his favorite designer perfume, a shirt and two silk ties. She felt bad about going against her husband’s direct instructions, but she just had to tell her mom. She knew in her shoes he would have done the same.

She arrived home to Ade and their two children snoozing in the living room. The sight warmed her heart. Ade was such a good father, whenever he could, and truth be told he made time more often than she, he spent time with the children. Ade was the first man she’d met or heard off, who rather spend time with his kids than hang with his guys. Every day; she thanked God for bringing him her way. She would have believed they were all asleep but for the maid’s mischievous smile. She kept smiling and glancing at the kids as she helped Simi with her bags. Simi knew then that they were pranking her.

“Mary, put those groceries away, and come bring the ice cream let’s share.” She said out loud. “Since everyone is asleep, we’ll just share the ice cream two ways.”

The children squealed excitedly, and jumped up, jumping on her in welcome.

“Mommy welcome.” They chorused.

“Thank you.” She glanced at Ade, still pretending to be asleep. “So you guys had fun with daddy today?”

“Yes we did!”

“And you wore the poor man out. See he’s dozed off from pretending.”

“Daddy isn’t sleeping, he’s pretending.” Ade junior, her son said running to him to playfully tickle him up, with Yetunde his sister on his heels.

The kids tickled him till he could pretend no longer, and they all shared the ice cream Simi bought.

*************

Deola was happy. An uneasy kind of happy. The kind of happy mood where you know you just have to exploit the happiness for all it was worth, for pain was around the corner.

Everything in her life was going well. Too well. Her relationship with Kunle was progressing very well, her family was well, business was good, even Chima was conforming to the harmonious atmosphere, and had stopped her bridezilla-ship. She had finally chosen a design, and production was underway.

Deola just couldn’t shake that gloomy feeling.  She felt like she was living a fairy tale; like she was Cinderella waiting for the clock to strike midnight, and she would return to being a maid in rags. Lol. She was becoming too pessimistic for her own peace of mind, and perhaps she needed…. Maybe an adjustment of thoughts. To cleanse her pessimism. Like an exorcism of her thoughts.

*********

When Kunle’s phone rang that evening, and he glanced at the screen, and saw it was his mother; he smiled. She called him every day, sometimes more than once a day, and recently, most of her calls had been centered on ideas she had for his wedding. Lol. With his mother, he probably won’t need the services of an event planner.

“Hello mom, how are you?”

“Kunle my son, I’m fine, and you?”

“I’m very well ma.”

“Good. Are you still at work?”

“Yes, about leaving though.” He glanced at the wall clock in his office, it was almost 6pm, he saved the document he had been working on, and shut down his system.

“Ok, can you pass by my place on your way?”

“Okay….. Is there a problem?” He could tell she was holding something back, but didn’t know what it could be.

“No really, there’s something I just need to discuss with you.”

He sighed loudly, resigned to the fact that there was no escaping seeing his mom that night. “Ok, I’m on my way.”

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 E4

…….”I tried your number countless times it was switched off, where were you?” Chima accused.

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

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Kunle couldn’t have asked for a better opening, he couldn’t have had a better ally than Chima. As could be expected, Chima demanded to know why Deola was ‘hiding’ away from Kunle, and he told her. She joined forces with Kunle and they both attempted to convince Deola she was wrong to hide away from a relationship because of her past mistakes.

“You guys aren’t seeing this thing from my point of view.” Deola interrupted them. “Believe me; I have given this whole issue a lot of thought. Let me paint this two scenarios; on one hand; Kunle and I start dating, and it goes sour at some point. What next? I would have lost a very dear friend.”

“Who’s to say it will go sour?” Chima cut in.

“Please let me finish.”

Chima waved for her to continue.

“Okay, on the second hand, we date, we fall in love,…”

“I’m there already.” Kunle murmure dryly.”

Deola glared at him and went on. “As I was saying, we fall in love, we want to get married, and viola; there’s opposition from his family. What next? There’s no winning with this thing.”

“You forgot a third scenario, there’s no opposition and we all leave happily ever after.” Kunle said.

“Yeah right. Because your family has been living under a rock. Let’s be realistic, no African family will let their child get married without digging into the background of the spouse to be. In my case, when they dig, what would they find? Scandal. Do a simple Google search for goodness sake, what do you see when you Google me?”

“Honey, Kunle is a PR professional, if you want him to make you white as snow, he can.” Chima replied drily.

“Don’t be ridiculous, can you pull the articles off the net, can you,……?” Deola was overwhelmed by emotions, she sat in the nearest available chair and tried not to cry.

Kunle crouched beside her and took her hands in his. “I think you’re borrowing trouble where there isn’t any. At least not yet. You asked for realism, I’ll give you realism. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t be a smooth drive, no relationship ever is, but I’m sure of one thing; I’ll be there, no matter what. I love you Deola, I want you in my life, I was there before the scandal, I was there through the scandal, and I’m still here after the scandal. You talked about Google search, I went beyond Google, I knew all about you, and your relationship even before the scandal broke, and still I loved you.”

Deola began to cry softly, she was overcome by emotion.

“We all have pasts, some darker than others. If God can forgive us of our sins, who are we to judge? Take this step of faith with me Deola, I know you feel something for me, but if you want to tell me you feel nothing, you do not want me, tell me Deola. Tell me and we won’t ever talk about it again.”

“I don’t want to have my hopes raised and dashed. I don’t want to risk losing you.” Deola sobbed.

“You aren’t going to lose me, I’m not going anywhere. Take this step of faith with me babe.” He waited for he to respond, after a while, she nodded to her tears.

“Hallelujah!” Chima exclaimed, herself sniffing and fighting tears.

*********

Deola found that when Kunle said he wanted more, he meant more, and at full speed. He made no secret of the fact that he wanted to marry her and soon. He wanted her to meet his family, which comprised of his mom and his elder sister, as his father was late. His mom lived in Lagos, he had told his family about Deola and saw no sense in delaying their meeting.

Deola was apprehensive about meeting his family, and tried to delay it, but Kunle insisted, and a few weeks after they ‘officially’ began seeing each other, he arranged for her to visit at his mom’s house, his sister and her husband would also be in attendance.

She wore a simple gown made from Ankara fabric and sensible heels. Her aim was to look simple and not overly made-up. Kunle’s mom herself opened the door to them. She hugged Kunle who attempted to postrate in greeting as was customary.

Then she raised Deola who was on her kneels in greeting as was also customary.

“Get up my daughter, how are you?” She said to her. Mrs Tinuke Philips looked was a very beautiful woman, who looked surprisingly young, she looked more like Kunle’s sister than his mother. She stepped back into the house and led them into the house. “You’re all welcome. Come in. Simi and Ade are here already.” She led them into the living room, where Simi, Kunle’s sister and her husband; Ade were seated.

Simi and Ade got up in welcome, Deola could see the striking resemblance between his sister and their mom, perhaps Kunle favored his father. After they had all exchanged pleasantries, they sat to discuss while a maid served them cold drinks.

“So Deola, where are you from?” Mrs Philips asked Deola.

“My late father was from Odogbolu ma, in Ogun state, while my mom is from Ikorodu.” She replied.

“I guess you were born here in Lagos, and perhaps haven’t been to any of those places?” Tinuke asked.

Deola laughed. “You’re right ma.”

“I knew it. All of you.” She waved to encompass all of them. “All of you are; my parents say I’m Yoruba.”

They all laughed.

“Deola, Kunle tells us you’re a designer, what’s the name of your clothing line?”

“It’s Deola’s Signature, ma.”

“That’s nice, let me Google you and check out your line. Do you have a website, or a lookbook, what kinds of clothes do you design, ready to wear or haute couture?” Simi asked picking her phone up from the side stool.

Deola was getting uncomfortable, the words ‘google’ were now her enemy, and she didn’t want anyone googling her.

Ade, Simi’s husband came to her rescue. “Women and fashion. Why don’t you put your phone aside, I’m sure you’ll have enough time later to check-out Deola’s fashion line.”

“Abi o, children of the technology age.” Tinu added. “Let us eat first, before you people start googling and discussing fashion. Let us go to the table.” She got up and led them to the table.

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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Second Chances E3

second-chances- chinma eke's blog

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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