The bond of love is strong even a mother can’t break it. Or can she? Let’s continue with Ken, Nimi and Laye. Happy Reading!
Raymond sat in his parked car a few houses from his parents’ house and pondered over what had become his love life. His mother had taken over in the few days since his separation with Nimi. She and her prophet had prayed and counselled him. They had finally found someone among the choristers in the church that would be the perfect partner for him.
Raymond shook his head. He couldn’t believe that he had actually driven down the few kilometres from his house to meet a stranger in his parents’ house who would be his wife. His mother had seemed rather pleased with the lady whom he had not even seen. She had sung her praises over the phone and assured him she was the best of all. He had to meet her that very day, and so he had gotten into his car and driven down there. He had, however, slowed down when the house came into view. He never imagined he would be meeting another lady.
Where was his Nimi? Where was the one that had his heart? Could this lady fire up his blood as Nimi had done? Could she excite him as much as Nimi?
These questions kept him right in his car with worried lines across his face. He looked to the street ahead through his windscreen. Activities on the street were just picking up after the monthly cleaning on the last Saturday of every month.
A mixed crowd gathered around a tap to fetch water; women with wrappers around their chests and waist, some with babies strapped to their backs, young boys and girls were also in this group. They formed groups and discussed among themselves while the tap filled bucket after bucket in a trickle. Just opposite the place where the tap was, a woman stood over a grinding engine working vigorously as she filled the engine with tomatoes and pepper. A girl and a boy stood away from her chatting while they waited for the tomato paste from the engine.
Raymond released a slow sigh as these played out before him. Life would not be stilled because his heart was breaking. People would go on with their lives. If he wanted to be as free as the boy and girl laughing heartily, then he had to take his state of heart into his own hands and correct what had gone wrong. To do that, he had to call Nimi.
He detached his phone from his car charger and quickly scrolled through his contact. He clicked on Nimi’s number and dialled it.
The call went unanswered the first time. His heart raced in his chest when the phone started ringing again. Nimi picked it up after three rings.
“He… he… hello,” He called, stuttering.
“Yes? What do you want?” She asked in a chilled tone.
He winced at her chilly tone. He swallowed to calm his alarming heart rate. “How are you?” He inquired instead without giving an answer to her question.
She scoffed. “You have no right to know about that anymore. Get to the point, Raymond. Why did you call me?”
“Nimi,” he whispered. His heart thudded so heavily that he was not sure he could think of a single appropriate thing to say. “I am… I am very sorry.” The words came out slowly. He heard nothing in response. If not for her soft breathing across the line, he would have thought she had hung up the phone. The fact that she had picked up was a good sign, and to think that she had not dropped the call was yet another good sign. He pushed on with as much emotion as he could muster.
“You’re all I have. You’re all my heart wants, Nimi. I can never love anyone like you.” He confessed. Was that a sniff he heard? Whatever he had heard, he would win his love again. “Forgive my error, Nimi. I can’t have the one my mother has chosen for me. I want to have you. I’m right here thinking about you while my mother awaits me with the lady she has chosen for me. Nimi, how can I have that lady when all my heart wants is you?” His eyes glistened with unshed tears.
Nimi laughed. A harsh sound that caused his ears to ring out loud with a funny rhythm like a worn-out church bell.
“Yeah right, you will have that lady, Raymond, because your mother says so. Forgive me, but I am not interested in a cry baby’s story. Go and tell this to your mother, and not me. When you win that battle, come back and talk to me. I’m not even sure I’ll be waiting. Goodbye.”
He heard the click of the phone. He moved it away from his ears and stared at it. Nimi! Nimi! His heart cried. Her words struck him then. How would he confront his mother? How would he break her heart and tell her he wanted no one but Nimi? He could still hear her joy as she told him of the lady she and the prophet had chosen. How would he cause her such sorrow to insist on being with Nimi?
He shook his head. No, he would not do that to his mother. He would meet the lady and learn to love again. If only his heart would respond. With this resolution, he turned the key in the ignition and drove down to his parents’ house to meet the one that would create new memories with him and shape his future.
Nimi banged her fist on her desk causing her files to jump. She didn’t bother as they flew about the table and landed on the floor. Her cheeks coloured in anger as she replayed the phone conversation she just had with Raymond.
“The sheer nerve of him!” she muttered. “Nonsense! Let him confront his mother.”
The click sound from the keyboard next to her booth seized, causing her to raise her eyes. She looked into the concerned eyes of the copywriter that was beside her. She forced her lips to smile and nodded at him like nothing happened. She pushed her seat forward and picked the files on the ground, all the while fuming at Raymond’s call.
How could he claim to love and couldn’t do without her, and yet he was going to meet with another lady? Why did he not tell his mother off from the instant she suggested he break up with her? It was a waste of time now crying over spilt milk.
She arranged the files she had disturbed and wished she was not on duty. It would have done her much good to receive Raymond’s call at home. It would have given her enough time to rant and rave without anyone thinking she was loco. Her eyes went to the copywriter beside her. He seemed engrossed with the work they had been assigned to do that morning. The work she was doing when Raymond’s call interrupted her. It annoyed her a great deal that she had even received his call.
But she couldn’t help it.
She had spent years with him, creating memories. Those feelings would not go suddenly. But she would not indulge them. If she would move on from the heartbreak Raymond had caused her, then she would be strong and not entertain any memories that would sadden her now.
She picked up her phone and scrolled to his number. Deleting it would change nothing for his number was stored in her brain. But she couldn’t bear seeing his name on her phone and so she pressed the delete button. It was the same feeling she had that had led her to delete all of his pictures from her phone. Not even a text message had been left on her phone. Raymond was her past, and she would treat him so.
Fresh pain gripped her heart all over. She fought back tears. No! She would be strong. She looked towards the corridor to Laye’s working area. She wished with all her heart that her friend was on duty. She would have given her a shoulder to cry on and encouraged her. While her eyes were strained at the corridor, she didn’t see Ken standing before her until he snapped his fingers in her face. She jerked back in the chair and lifted shocked eyes to him.
“Sir!” She called out in surprise.
He gave a rueful smile. “Hi, Miss Tombiri.” He pulled out one hand from his pocket and waved at her.
Others around raised their voices in greeting and he nodded in acknowledgement.
“I didn’t know you were here.” She told him.
He leaned against the glass frame that marked out her working area, looking very handsome in a red and white striped polo on a navy-blue chinos trouser. His eyes twinkled behind plain fashionable glasses.
Nimi swallowed, amazed at the friendliness radiating in his eyes. She listened to his voice like soft music to her ears.
“I have some work to finish up, so I decided to work on them instead of staying back home to do nothing.” He explained.
“Oh, I see. We’re also here to work on the Diaper Account.” She replied, gesturing to the open computer in front of her.
Ken nodded. “That’s nice. I trust your work.”
For reason she couldn’t explain, his compliment sent a warmth through her down to her toes. She smiled up at him. “Thank you, sir.”
“Er… Miss Tombiri, I’ll like you to join me in my office.” He informed, pointing towards the corridor. “If you’re almost done with your work.” He added quickly.
“I’m done,” she answered immediately, getting up. Her face coloured with embarrassment when he smiled at her quick response. “Hmm… I mean, I’ll be done in another ten minutes.” She adjusted.
Ken gave a short laugh. “Alright, I’ll be expecting you then.”
He waved bye to the other members of her team and walked away to his office.
Ken waited for Nimi in his office. He powered his system and tried working but found it difficult to concentrate. All he kept thinking was the time he would have with Nimi. After his last conversation with her, he had not stopped wondering about her.
Beyond her beauty –and she was beautiful, he kept picturing her close to his heart. What was it about her that wanted to break through his carefully built wall? He was certain he wasn’t falling for her beauty. Beauty was what got him entangled with Tenisha.
At the thought of Tenisha, cold sweat broke from his forehead. She had called severally in the last couple of days, and it had gotten him so worried. Each time she called he had ignored her call. He had no courage to answer her for he dreaded what message she might pass across to him. He was scared also for himself. How strong was he to resist the beautiful and sensuous Tenisha?
No, he would not risk his newfound relationship with God. He would not gamble away his peace of mind. He would keep praying for God to take Tenisha away. Even as he thought of that, something deep within told him he hadn’t seen the last of her.
He had no time to dwell on this new feeling as Nimi knocked on the door.
He stood up when she walked in. While she sat in her booth working, he had not seen her fully. But as she worked towards him now he admired God’s handiwork in her creation. The straight, blue gown she wore suited her perfectly. Much as he hated to admit it, he noticed her beautiful figure. She smiled at him.
“You’re welcome.” He said, replying her smile with one of his own. “Please, have your seat.” He pointed to one of the two chairs before him.
She sat down gracefully. “Thank you, sir.” She replied.
He noticed she looked more relaxed than she had been the last time she was in his office, and happier too. Whatever was bothering her then must have left her or she had hidden it properly. Whatever the case may be, he liked that she was better than the last time she was in his office.
“You look more relaxed today.” He said before he could stop himself. He leaned back in his chair and regarded her.
She laughed a little. “I’m pushing out what wanted to take away my happiness.” She replied.
“I hope you succeed.”
She nodded. “I hope I do.”
Ken pushed his chair forward. “It’s important we don’t allow anything take our happiness away. I don’t believe we should give anyone or anything that power.”
“I agree, but sometimes, one can’t help it.” Her tone lost its lustre. A faraway look crept into her eyes.
Ken realized he had jolted a sad memory. He tried to liven up the conversation again. “Well, we just have to fight down anything that wants to steal away our happiness.” He winked.
She smiled. “We’ll try.” She gave a conspiratorial response.
He talked to her then about the Seasoning Company Account and his intention to include her in the team that would work on the account. She expressed her delight at this and promised to give her best. He went on to share some ideas with her and she responded with her own ideas. By the time the conversation was unwinding, they had become very comfortable in each other’s company, sharing laughter and smiles.
He was sharing one of the funny incidents that occurred in his former employment where he mistakenly sent a love message to his boss instead of his girlfriend, and how he couldn’t look the man in the eyes after that day when his phone chimed loudly. He allowed it ring for a while just so he could enjoy the joyful laughter of Nimi. When the phone kept ringing, she drew his attention to it.
Immediately he picked up the phone and saw the caller ID, his expression became clouded. His laughter got stuck in his throat. Nimi noticed this instantly.
“Is all well, sir?” She asked with utmost concern, seeing his sour expression.
He dropped the phone back on the table without answering the call. He gave no immediate response as he waited for the phone to ring again.
And it did.
It was the way it had been for days. Tenisha would call for five to six times at a time before she would rest. He shook his head in self-pity. Tenisha had called at a time when he was free from all the baggage of his past. Her call had, however, caused those baggage to return with vengeance.
“I just feel bad when I think about some things in my past.” He told her in a sad tone.
Nimi leaned forward in her chair, understanding filling her eyes. “I feel the same too.” She replied in a whisper.
“A lot of things I did should never have been done.” He looked thoughtful for some seconds, then he shook off the sad memories. He took his phone and placed it on silent mode. He smiled up at Nimi. “It doesn’t matter anymore. I have found peace in God. I hope you have too. Though I wonder what you could have done wrong.”
Nimi’s eyes became guarded. They shifted from him and stared at the laptop on his desk. “It’s… er… it’s nothing bad.” She responded in an off-hand tone.
He knew it was more than that, but he would not push. Time would come when her heart would be opened to him. The time wasn’t now. He had to gain her trust and that was what he would do. He leaned across the table and took her hands in his own, enfolding and clasping them warmly. “Miss Tombiri, all will be fine. Don’t fret over anything. God is in control.”
A soft gasp escaped her lips. She looked down at their intertwined hands on the table. She said nothing. When he was sure his message had sunk into her, he removed his hands from hers. She pressed one hand to her cheek.
“I’m truly grateful for this time, sir. I truly needed a friend today especially and you fitted properly.” A set of dazzling white teeth gleamed in appreciation.
Feelings of triumph seeped through his veins and excited him like nothing had since he started receiving Tenisha’s calls again. Somehow he felt like he had just conquered the first stage of a difficult challenge. When Nimi left his office that day, he was filled with a certainty that there was more to the two of them and he was ready to unravel what was there.