Welcome back! Twas a busy week for me. Sorry for keeping you waiting. Enjoy Episode 11.Happy reading! Don’t forget to share your thoughts.
- Episode Eleven
Tolu sat in his car right in his driveway. He couldn’t muster the strength to get down from the car and face his wife. She didn’t deserve his rejection, but he couldn’t stop his heart. Falling out of love with her was no fault of his. His heart just seem to favour someone else. She would eventually forgive him.
He loved Ebika and couldn’t do without her now. He couldn’t allow her go with someone else. He was certain of her love too. But his life was complicated. He had not told Ebika about Eladebi. She would definitely walk out of his life once she found out he had a wife and children. Nothing would stop her then.
He hit the steering wheel lightly, groaning in frustration. What was he going to do? He couldn’t just wake up and send Eladebi and the children away? He’d just call her and tell her the truth. That would be better.
This new line of thought brought a shimmer of hope to his eyes. Eladebi would understand. She had always been like that from the beginning: very understanding and supportive. She would never force herself on a man. Just like she never blamed him for what happened back then. She never forced him to marry her because of the baby, but his conscience had not allowed him do that to her when he knew he had more blame in their mistake. If he hadn’t teased her about taking alcohol, she would have gone home that night with her purity. But he had teased her ceaselessly about being a baby. She wanted to prove herself that she was matured enough, and she had downed three bottles of alcohol. Well, they both ended up where they shouldn’t have.
He ran his fingers through his head. He should have known better. He should have stopped her. He hadn’t. He had to use her to exorcise Ebika’s ghost in his head. It was never love that took him to Eladebi. He wanted to know if he could be with another woman. He wanted to prove his friends wrong. He wanted them to know he wasn’t scared of women.
The answer hadn’t been what he had expected. He hadn’t fallen heads over heels in love with Eladebi after that. In fact, he had distanced himself from her after their intimacy. He only went back to her when her pregnancy became an open secret.
Five years after, the ghost of Ebika was much more alive in him. Eladebi had not succeeded in taking her place. He would keep it like that. He would love Ebika the way he loved her back then, and even more. His heart belonged to her forever.
He released a deep sigh, looking towards his house. Eladebi must have been wondering what was keeping him so long after driving into the compound because she came out of the house and walked towards him. Her face reflected her concern.
He watched her closely. She wasn’t as tall as Ebika or as slender, yet she had that classic face that spoke of strong bone structure. She wasn’t as feminine as Ebika or as soft, but she possessed a beauty that came from the heart and made her otherwise ordinary face, pretty. She still had the gait in her walking steps. He liked the way she always carried herself back then. Be it a gown or a skirt, or a native attire, Eladebi stood out.
He got out of the car as she came close. The evening sun did her justice, as it cascaded over her fair skin like a soft spotlight. He saw her smile, but he didn’t return it. He couldn’t allow his heart to be confused. He wanted Ebika firmly rooted in his heart. Eladebi would just have to move out now that he had made up his mind that he wanted Ebika forever.
She gave him a light hug when she got to him. “My love, you’re welcome.” She said, smiling up at him.
“Thank you.” He replied, somewhat stiffly. He turned away from her and made a show of locking the car. She waited, and when he turned to her, she collected his briefcase.
“I got worried when you stayed back here. I had to come and check on you.” She said, her voice filled with concern. “I’m happy you’re fine. How was your day?” She asked, wrapping her free arm around his waist.
He looked into her eyes and saw all her love for him shining through. He turned away from it like it was the plague. No, I don’t want her love.
“My day was fine.” He answered in a gruff tone. “Let’s go inside.”
She tucked her arm around his as they walked the short distance to the house, all the while she talked about the children and the fun things they had done that day. It hurt him a little that he was getting far away from his children too. He used to love doing fun things with them. Well, a time will come when he could have them around him and do fun things with them and his children with Ebika.
For now, he’d spend the evening building his case against Eladebi. This was one battle he had to win if he wanted to live long.
Bina was waiting for her in the living room when she stepped into the house. He looked up at her with a smile when she walked in.
“Happy Birthday, Ebika.” He said, getting up from the couch he was sitting opposite Douye. He came forward and gave her a side hug.
Douye stifled her laughter when she saw the anger in Ebika’s eyes. She allowed a beguiling grin instead, watching the drama before her.
“Thank you.” Ebika answered, tight-lipped. She crossed her chest with her arms.
Bina put his arms in his pockets. “Where have you been?” He asked.
She pushed past him and plopped into a seat. “Working.” She answered. The lie rolled off her lips easily. She didn’t even stop to think about it, neither did she feel the warning in her heart. Lying was becoming a second nature to her where her love life was concerned. It was just unfortunate Bina was the one she lied to often.
Bina sat down too. “I would have been here earlier but I got delayed.”
She shrugged in response, giving him an uninterested look.
“I bet you enjoyed your day.”
Her lips turned up in a smile. Thoughts of her time with Tolu filled her mind. “Oh yes, I did.” She answered in a dreamy tone.
Douye coughed, forcing the smile off her face. She looked at Bina. “Everyone at work made my day special.” She said carefully.
Bina propped his hands on his thighs. “I’m happy to hear that. By your next birthday, we would be married.” He said.
Ebika lifted her eyebrows. Married? The word sounded like a trap to her. “Maybe.” She muttered under her breath.
“What did you say?” Bina asked.
She opened her mouth to speak, but Douye closed her fingers around her flesh, pinching her lightly. Ebika’s eyes flew to her, but she looked away. She rubbed where Douye had pinched. “I didn’t say anything, Bina.” She looked at the clock in the living room.” It is late.” She said subtly.
Bina got her message. He straightened. “I should be on my way now. I couldn’t go home without coming over to wish you a happy birthday. The phone call wasn’t enough.” He rubbed his palms on his jean trousers. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Ebika watched him like he had grown horns. Before she could stop herself she asked, “Where is my birthday gift, Bina?”
Bina winced, scratching the day-old beard on his chin. “I couldn’t get anything, since I didn’t know what you’ll like.”
Hot anger flashed in Ebika’s eyes like an angry volcano. “You don’t know what I’ll like. Did you call to ask me what I want?” She fired at him.
He rubbed his palms together. “Ebika…”
She raised her hand to stop his defence. “I’m really tired of this your attitude. This is the third birthday I’m celebrating, and yet you don’t know what I like. Last year, you gave me “Woman, thou art Loosed” by T.D. Jakes as my birthday Gift, and that was after four days had passed. The first year, it was a miserable #400 recharge card. This year, you came here empty-handed to tell me you didn’t know what I’ll like. This is the funniest thing I’ve heard this year.”
Bina was silent. He just looked at her. She grabbed her bag from the couch and got up. “Good night, Bina.”
He placed an arm around hers to stop her. “Ebika, I’m sorry. I’ll do something about it.”
“Don’t bother. It’s too late for apologises.” She said, anger colouring her words.
He dropped his hands. “Even at that, I’ll do something. I don’t want us to part on this note.” He pleaded.
She let out a breath after a while. “Fine. I’ll get over it. Good night.”
“Thank you.” He said. “Good night, Douye.” He turned to her cousin.
Douye’s eyes danced with mischief. “Good night.”
Ebika walked him to the door. When she returned, Douye gave her the same mischievous smile.
“Don’t even say anything.” Ebika shut her up. “I’m not in the mood.” She marched past her.
Douye raised her hands in mock surrender. “I mean no harm, Coz.” She said.
“I don’t care.” Ebika threw over her shoulders as she made her way to the room.
In the room, she wondered again if staying with Bina was worth it. Tolu came at the nick of time to save her from his stingy arms. Her introduction would be put on hold, she decided as she shrugged off her dress. She folded it neatly and dropped it on the bed. She would not rush into anything with Bina. If after years of courting he still did not know the gift to give her on her birthday, then she better think twice before agreeing to walk down the aisle with him. She didn’t need a prophet to tell her that. She was her own prophet, and she could tell that her relationship with Bina needed serious evaluation.