Love Quest Ep 16

Schemes! Plots! Plans! This episode is for the survival of the fittest. You’re not strong, watchful and sensitive, then Laye has you cornered. Catch a the exciting details in episode 16. Please drop your contributions o.

Episode Sixteen

Laye stared at the design before her on her computer but made no move to work on it. She had a deadline for the design but she had no passion for it. Why would she waste her time designing when things were not going the way they should? It had been a full week since she dropped her threat and Ken had made no move whatsoever towards her. In fact, he seemed to have gotten more confident. She had expected his call all week but had received none. Why would he not respond? Even her ploy with Tenisha had not worked because if it had Nimi would be in tears now and not smiling like she had the whole world at her feet.
The ringing phone on her desk drew her out of her inner musing. She took her time in picking it up. When she did, it was to be reminded of the deadline for her design. She slammed the phone back down. Who cares about a stupid design when her heart was on fire? She would attend to that first before she does any design. She could even plead with Karibo to sketch something for her. He would gladly do it, that she was sure of, but she wasn’t ready to see him yet. Each time they met he reminded of another date with him. She didn’t want that now, maybe later. It was enough that she wore the necklace he gave her all the time. What she needed was a plan? She would do anything to get one.
She pushed away from her desk and made her way to Nimi. Nimi sat with Ela and they seemed to be having a chat. They wore happy smiles as they relaxed on their chairs. Jealousy burnt within her like fire. She was once like that with Nimi. They once had their own friendship ritual but all that was gone now. Laye couldn’t remember the last time Nimi shared a cup of tea with her. Laye couldn’t even remember when they had an innocent conversation. All there was to her friendship with Nimi now was her scheming to have Ken and cause Nimi pain.
How could that be all that was left of their friendship? How could that be what she was holding on to now? Yes, Nimi had betrayed her, but was she right in wanting her downfall? What was it Nimi had said about Jesus and peace? Did she not want such peace? What would be the end if she got Ken and a bad reputation alongside? Where were the precious memories they had shared as friends? What would people say if they found out she was the one hurting her own friend?
These questions halted her steps. She made no move to join Nimi and decided to turn away, but Nimi had seen her and called out to her. She forced her lips to curve in a smile no matter how fake and stiff it was. She waved at both ladies.
“Hi,” she greeted in an overly cheerful voice.
“Hi,” they both replied.
Nimi pushed back the chair beside her and invited her to sit down. “How is it going?” she asked.
Laye shrugged. “Just okay. I decided to take a break to cool off.”
Nimi rubbed her shoulders, an understanding look on her face. “The pressure is high but I know you can do it. You have beaten more than this in time past, so this is nothing new.” She encouraged.
Laye squeezed Nimi’s hand. “Thanks, Nimi, you’re always there for me.” she remarked.
Nimi’s eyes grew big with a smile. “Just as you are always there for me.”
Laye waved off the comment, changing the topic. “I know you are covered. Mr Ken will never pressure your team because of you.”
Nimi’s head went back in laughter. “Oh, please don’t delude yourself. I’m under the same pressure; although I finished a while ago that’s why you see us this relaxed.” She shared a wink with Ela.
Laye’s face contorted in displeasure at their show of friendship. Her fake smile slipped off and she didn’t bother plastering another one. “Well, you wouldn’t want to do anything to spoil the cool atmosphere around you. Just imagine doing something that would result in a big quarrel or even fight. I know you guys have never had any reason to disagree.”
Nimi’s eyes dulled a little. “Well, we’ve had our share.” She admitted.
“You don’t say?” Laye feigned surprise. “I thought you had it all. What happened?”
“Well, it’s not something I really enjoy sharing but we are past it now.” Nimi replied, sharing a look with Ela who gave her a nod.
Laye eyeballed Ela. She wouldn’t let it go. “What really happened?” She pressed.
A closed look entered Nimi’s eyes. She hesitated.
Laye drew up straight in her chair. “Are you hiding things from me now, Nimi? Is that how bad our friendship has become?” She turned to Ela. “Ever since you showed up, things have changed between Nimi and me. I don’t know what you’ve been telling her, but I was first her friend before you ever showed up and you can’t separate us.” She bawled at her.
Ela said nothing. She only smiled at Laye’s words.
Nimi touched her elbow. “Laye, calm down. Ela is innocent of all your accusations. We’re still friends, but you should know there are certain things we can’t share in the open like this. I’m only being cautious.” She explained.
“It doesn’t matter, Nimi. If you want to tell me, you will tell me. We use to talk in a coded language. That hasn’t changed, has it?”
Nimi sighed. “Fine.”
Laye smiled then, looking expectantly at her.
“Ken had a relationship before he got here. Things ended but the lady traced him here and has been disturbing him for a restart.” She told her succinctly.
Laye feigned surprise again, opening and closing her mouth. “Hmm…” Nimi gave a shrug. Laye had her opening. “Nimi,” She started cautiously. “Don’t you think you should have a rethink of this your relationship with Ken? I mean, if he has such baggage, how are you sure there wouldn’t be more surprises? Raymond is coming back too. Maybe God is trying to tell you something important. These are signs you shouldn’t ignore. Ken may not be the one.”
Nimi smiled to her amazement. “Our God is not an author of confusion. He is working things out for us. Raymond is not the answer.”
Laye hid her disappointment. She got up. “Well, thank God you told me. Just be wise, my friend. Let’s talk later. I think I have ideas for my design now.”
Nimi gave a nod. “Thanks, Laye.”
She strode off. From the corner her eyes, she saw Ela drawing close to Nimi. It was obvious they would be discussing what she had said. Ela would definitely be raising objections against her suggestion, but she didn’t care. She had her design to work on indeed; they just didn’t know the design exactly.

*********************
Laye was avoiding him, he was sure of it. Karibo paced the floor of his work area as he wondered why Laye had not given a response to his date invite. She seemed to end any discussion going that way with him, and yet she wasn’t saying no. If she wanted nothing with him, then she should come out plainly and tell him she wanted him to stay away. But she had done no such thing. She had even shown her interest by wearing the necklace he had given her. What then is stopping her? He was certain she had no one in the office. He would have heard something if that was the case. If nothing was forth coming, then he would take the bull by the horn. He would go to her and refuse to leave until she gave him an answer.
He walked down the corridor in purposeful strides. His mind was made up. He must get an answer from Laye. Enough of playing with his emotions. As he turned around the corner leading to the general work area, he sighted Laye walking down with a determined look on her face.
Good, he told himself. We will get over with you right now.
He didn’t get to her before she took a turn towards the ED’s office. He hastened his steps and followed her. If she wanted to see the Mr Ken then he would wait around until she was through. He was certain it wouldn’t take long. Just then he heard voices. The voices were coming from Mr Ken’s office and they sounded angry. He peeped around the corner and caught Laye in a bitter argument with Didi. Didi seemed to be blocking Laye’s path. She stood before the door unflinchingly despite the venom pouring from Laye.
Karibo stood looking befuddled at the scene playing out before him. Why was Laye bent on seeing Ken, and why was Didi stopping her from doing that? He understood nothing. He moved a step to intervene but halted when Mr Ken came out of the office. He didn’t look pleased seeing Laye there. He said something to Didi and the secretary took her leave, giving Laye a cold stare. Laye rolled her tongue at her in a show of victory. The moment Didi was out of earshot, Mr Ken grasped her arm and pulled her into his office. Laye didn’t utter a single word of protest to Karibo’s utter amazement. The door was slammed behind them.
Karibo stood up straight. What just happened? He asked himself confused. I must find out. He covered the few metres between where he stood and the office in tiptoes. He would not leave this mystery unsolved. When he was sure the environment was clear, he pressed his ear to the door. That was when he heard it all.
“What exactly do you want from me, Laye?” Ken asked in utmost frustration. “Can’t you tell that I want nothing to do with you?”
“You lie, Ken. I want you. I love you. Why not me? Why Nimi?” She replied in a desperate tone.
Karibo felt his heart shattered into a thousand pieces at that instant. He clutched his chest and leaned against the door. His chest thumbed loudly against his ribcage. He stared wide-eyed at the door finding it difficult to believe what he had heard seconds ago. This can’t be, he cried within. This Laye can’t be the same Laye I know. While he struggled to comprehend what he had heard, he missed the next lines of the conversation. By the time he paid attention again, Laye’s voice was hard and threatening.
“You think you’re free because you have told Nimi about Tenisha, Oh no, you’re not. I won’t sit back and watch you guys have it easy. Nimi can’t have you. I won’t allow it.”
“You need Jesus, Laye.” Ken replied in a resigned tone.
Laughter rang from within. “When you lose everything then you will come running to me for succour. Just wait and see. Nimi will leave you and go back to Raymond. Raymond is her one true love. She doesn’t even love you. You’re just a rebound. She has told me that much. You’re just a tool to make Raymond jealous. He’s back and she’s considering going back to him. If you know what is good for you, you better leave her now.”
Karibo stumbled away from the door. He couldn’t listen to more hateful words coming from a lady he had fallen for. He couldn’t fathom the depth of Laye’s obsession. He couldn’t even imagine Laye doing that to a friend; not just any friend, a very good friend. Laye was beyond obsessed. She sounded like she had dementia. What else would make a lady burn with such hatred for a friend all in the name of love? If she could be saying things like these then Nimi wasn’t even safe. No, he had to stop her. He must stop her.
It wasn’t long before the door opened and closed. Karibo braced himself for the confrontation. He drew himself to his full height and waited for the raging Laye. He heard her feet even before she showed up looking like a wounded lion, eyes red and spitting fire. She stopped dead in her tracks when their eyes met.
“Laye,” he called softly trying to keep his anger in check. “I heard it all.” He told her simply.
Confusion clouded her face for a few seconds before understanding dawned on her. The eyes that met his was cold and indifferent. “So what?” She challenged.
Karibo paled at her lack of remorse. If he had doubted what he heard earlier, her bravado now told him otherwise. What baffled him was that he had not noticed this side of her before. Looking at her standing before him, daring him to challenge or condemn her filled him with pity. This woman before him had no identity. It was obvious she was at her lowest ebb. His outpour of anger would do no good, but yet he would not allow her do anything dangerous.
“I will like to tell you what a lowlife you are, but I won’t do that. Even if you try to deny it and stand here with your false bravado, you know you are a lowlife right now. I don’t know the entire story, and I don’t want to know, but I want you to know that this path you have chosen is not the best. You are too good for this evil you’re displaying. This is not love, Laye; it is lust. I’m not telling because I want you for myself; I mean what man will want a lady that is behaving this way, but that is beside the point. I’m telling you this so that you can come back to your senses; so that you can know that something is wrong with you. I won’t say more than this. I just hope you don’t ruin your life.”
Laye’s eyes became bright with tears when he ended his statement. “You don’t know how it feels.” She said in a choked voice.
Karibo gripped her shoulders. “Feelings? You’re doing this because of the way you feel? You’re ready to scar yourself because of that? Oh, no, Laye, don’t go that way. Do you think Ken will love you after this? You won’t win at the end. You’ll also be miserable.”
Laye shook off his hands. “Then we’ll all be sad.”
Karibo let out a resigned sigh. “There is no reasoning with you.” He shook his head and walked away. His prayer was that it wouldn’t be too late before she realized what she was doing. Episode Sixteen
Laye stared at the design before her on her computer but made no move to work on it. She had a deadline for the design but she had no passion for it. Why would she waste her time designing when things were not going the way they should? It had been a full week since she dropped her threat and Ken had made no move whatsoever towards her. In fact, he seemed to have gotten more confident. She had expected his call all week but had received none. Why would he not respond? Even her ploy with Tenisha had not worked because if it had Nimi would be in tears now and not smiling like she had the whole world at her feet.
The ringing phone on her desk drew her out of her inner musing. She took her time in picking it up. When she did, it was to be reminded of the deadline for her design. She slammed the phone back down. Who cares about a stupid design when her heart was on fire? She would attend to that first before she does any design. She could even plead with Karibo to sketch something for her. He would gladly do it, that she was sure of, but she wasn’t ready to see him yet. Each time they met he reminded of another date with him. She didn’t want that now, maybe later. It was enough that she wore the necklace he gave her all the time. What she needed was a plan? She would do anything to get one.
She pushed away from her desk and made her way to Nimi. Nimi sat with Ela and they seemed to be having a chat. They wore happy smiles as they relaxed on their chairs. Jealousy burnt within her like fire. She was once like that with Nimi. They once had their own friendship ritual but all that was gone now. Laye couldn’t remember the last time Nimi shared a cup of tea with her. Laye couldn’t even remember when they had an innocent conversation. All there was to her friendship with Nimi now was her scheming to have Ken and cause Nimi pain.
How could that be all that was left of their friendship? How could that be what she was holding on to now? Yes, Nimi had betrayed her, but was she right in wanting her downfall? What was it Nimi had said about Jesus and peace? Did she not want such peace? What would be the end if she got Ken and a bad reputation alongside? Where were the precious memories they had shared as friends? What would people say if they found out she was the one hurting her own friend?
These questions halted her steps. She made no move to join Nimi and decided to turn away, but Nimi had seen her and called out to her. She forced her lips to curve in a smile no matter how fake and stiff it was. She waved at both ladies.
“Hi,” she greeted in an overly cheerful voice.
“Hi,” they both replied.
Nimi pushed back the chair beside her and invited her to sit down. “How is it going?” she asked.
Laye shrugged. “Just okay. I decided to take a break to cool off.”
Nimi rubbed her shoulders, an understanding look on her face. “The pressure is high but I know you can do it. You have beaten more than this in time past, so this is nothing new.” She encouraged.
Laye squeezed Nimi’s hand. “Thanks, Nimi, you’re always there for me.” she remarked.
Nimi’s eyes grew big with a smile. “Just as you are always there for me.”
Laye waved off the comment, changing the topic. “I know you are covered. Mr Ken will never pressure your team because of you.”
Nimi’s head went back in laughter. “Oh, please don’t delude yourself. I’m under the same pressure; although I finished a while ago that’s why you see us this relaxed.” She shared a wink with Ela.
Laye’s face contorted in displeasure at their show of friendship. Her fake smile slipped off and she didn’t bother plastering another one. “Well, you wouldn’t want to do anything to spoil the cool atmosphere around you. Just imagine doing something that would result in a big quarrel or even fight. I know you guys have never had any reason to disagree.”
Nimi’s eyes dulled a little. “Well, we’ve had our share.” She admitted.
“You don’t say?” Laye feigned surprise. “I thought you had it all. What happened?”
“Well, it’s not something I really enjoy sharing but we are past it now.” Nimi replied, sharing a look with Ela who gave her a nod.
Laye eyeballed Ela. She wouldn’t let it go. “What really happened?” She pressed.
A closed look entered Nimi’s eyes. She hesitated.
Laye drew up straight in her chair. “Are you hiding things from me now, Nimi? Is that how bad our friendship has become?” She turned to Ela. “Ever since you showed up, things have changed between Nimi and me. I don’t know what you’ve been telling her, but I was first her friend before you ever showed up and you can’t separate us.” She bawled at her.
Ela said nothing. She only smiled at Laye’s words.
Nimi touched her elbow. “Laye, calm down. Ela is innocent of all your accusations. We’re still friends, but you should know there are certain things we can’t share in the open like this. I’m only being cautious.” She explained.
“It doesn’t matter, Nimi. If you want to tell me, you will tell me. We use to talk in a coded language. That hasn’t changed, has it?”
Nimi sighed. “Fine.”
Laye smiled then, looking expectantly at her.
“Ken had a relationship before he got here. Things ended but the lady traced him here and has been disturbing him for a restart.” She told her succinctly.
Laye feigned surprise again, opening and closing her mouth. “Hmm…” Nimi gave a shrug. Laye had her opening. “Nimi,” She started cautiously. “Don’t you think you should have a rethink of this your relationship with Ken? I mean, if he has such baggage, how are you sure there wouldn’t be more surprises? Raymond is coming back too. Maybe God is trying to tell you something important. These are signs you shouldn’t ignore. Ken may not be the one.”
Nimi smiled to her amazement. “Our God is not an author of confusion. He is working things out for us. Raymond is not the answer.”
Laye hid her disappointment. She got up. “Well, thank God you told me. Just be wise, my friend. Let’s talk later. I think I have ideas for my design now.”
Nimi gave a nod. “Thanks, Laye.”
She strode off. From the corner her eyes, she saw Ela drawing close to Nimi. It was obvious they would be discussing what she had said. Ela would definitely be raising objections against her suggestion, but she didn’t care. She had her design to work on indeed; they just didn’t know the design exactly.

*********************
Laye was avoiding him, he was sure of it. Karibo paced the floor of his work area as he wondered why Laye had not given a response to his date invite. She seemed to end any discussion going that way with him, and yet she wasn’t saying no. If she wanted nothing with him, then she should come out plainly and tell him she wanted him to stay away. But she had done no such thing. She had even shown her interest by wearing the necklace he had given her. What then is stopping her? He was certain she had no one in the office. He would have heard something if that was the case. If nothing was forth coming, then he would take the bull by the horn. He would go to her and refuse to leave until she gave him an answer.
He walked down the corridor in purposeful strides. His mind was made up. He must get an answer from Laye. Enough of playing with his emotions. As he turned around the corner leading to the general work area, he sighted Laye walking down with a determined look on her face.
Good, he told himself. We will get over with you right now.
He didn’t get to her before she took a turn towards the ED’s office. He hastened his steps and followed her. If she wanted to see the Mr Ken then he would wait around until she was through. He was certain it wouldn’t take long. Just then he heard voices. The voices were coming from Mr Ken’s office and they sounded angry. He peeped around the corner and caught Laye in a bitter argument with Didi. Didi seemed to be blocking Laye’s path. She stood before the door unflinchingly despite the venom pouring from Laye.
Karibo stood looking befuddled at the scene playing out before him. Why was Laye bent on seeing Ken, and why was Didi stopping her from doing that? He understood nothing. He moved a step to intervene but halted when Mr Ken came out of the office. He didn’t look pleased seeing Laye there. He said something to Didi and the secretary took her leave, giving Laye a cold stare. Laye rolled her tongue at her in a show of victory. The moment Didi was out of earshot, Mr Ken grasped her arm and pulled her into his office. Laye didn’t utter a single word of protest to Karibo’s utter amazement. The door was slammed behind them.
Karibo stood up straight. What just happened? He asked himself confused. I must find out. He covered the few metres between where he stood and the office in tiptoes. He would not leave this mystery unsolved. When he was sure the environment was clear, he pressed his ear to the door. That was when he heard it all.
“What exactly do you want from me, Laye?” Ken asked in utmost frustration. “Can’t you tell that I want nothing to do with you?”
“You lie, Ken. I want you. I love you. Why not me? Why Nimi?” She replied in a desperate tone.
Karibo felt his heart shattered into a thousand pieces at that instant. He clutched his chest and leaned against the door. His chest thumbed loudly against his ribcage. He stared wide-eyed at the door finding it difficult to believe what he had heard seconds ago. This can’t be, he cried within. This Laye can’t be the same Laye I know. While he struggled to comprehend what he had heard, he missed the next lines of the conversation. By the time he paid attention again, Laye’s voice was hard and threatening.
“You think you’re free because you have told Nimi about Tenisha, Oh no, you’re not. I won’t sit back and watch you guys have it easy. Nimi can’t have you. I won’t allow it.”
“You need Jesus, Laye.” Ken replied in a resigned tone.
Laughter rang from within. “When you lose everything then you will come running to me for succour. Just wait and see. Nimi will leave you and go back to Raymond. Raymond is her one true love. She doesn’t even love you. You’re just a rebound. She has told me that much. You’re just a tool to make Raymond jealous. He’s back and she’s considering going back to him. If you know what is good for you, you better leave her now.”
Karibo stumbled away from the door. He couldn’t listen to more hateful words coming from a lady he had fallen for. He couldn’t fathom the depth of Laye’s obsession. He couldn’t even imagine Laye doing that to a friend; not just any friend, a very good friend. Laye was beyond obsessed. She sounded like she had dementia. What else would make a lady burn with such hatred for a friend all in the name of love? If she could be saying things like these then Nimi wasn’t even safe. No, he had to stop her. He must stop her.
It wasn’t long before the door opened and closed. Karibo braced himself for the confrontation. He drew himself to his full height and waited for the raging Laye. He heard her feet even before she showed up looking like a wounded lion, eyes red and spitting fire. She stopped dead in her tracks when their eyes met.
“Laye,” he called softly trying to keep his anger in check. “I heard it all.” He told her simply.
Confusion clouded her face for a few seconds before understanding dawned on her. The eyes that met his was cold and indifferent. “So what?” She challenged.
Karibo paled at her lack of remorse. If he had doubted what he heard earlier, her bravado now told him otherwise. What baffled him was that he had not noticed this side of her before. Looking at her standing before him, daring him to challenge or condemn her filled him with pity. This woman before him had no identity. It was obvious she was at her lowest ebb. His outpour of anger would do no good, but yet he would not allow her do anything dangerous.
“I will like to tell you what a lowlife you are, but I won’t do that. Even if you try to deny it and stand here with your false bravado, you know you are a lowlife right now. I don’t know the entire story, and I don’t want to know, but I want you to know that this path you have chosen is not the best. You are too good for this evil you’re displaying. This is not love, Laye; it is lust. I’m not telling because I want you for myself; I mean what man will want a lady that is behaving this way, but that is beside the point. I’m telling you this so that you can come back to your senses; so that you can know that something is wrong with you. I won’t say more than this. I just hope you don’t ruin your life.”
Laye’s eyes became bright with tears when he ended his statement. “You don’t know how it feels.” She said in a choked voice.
Karibo gripped her shoulders. “Feelings? You’re doing this because of the way you feel? You’re ready to scar yourself because of that? Oh, no, Laye, don’t go that way. Do you think Ken will love you after this? You won’t win at the end. You’ll also be miserable.”
Laye shook off his hands. “Then we’ll all be sad.”
Karibo let out a resigned sigh. “There is no reasoning with you.” He shook his head and walked away. His prayer was that it wouldn’t be too late before she realized what she was doing.

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Love Quest Ep 14

Hey, friends! So sorry I stayed away for so long. It wasn’t intentional. I got caught up in a lot of things. I hope you missed me. I’m back on my journey with Ken, Nimi, Laye and Tenisha. Hey, fire up your interest again. Yours truly, peace!

Episode Fourteen

Laye chose a table at the private lounge in Bliss Taste and Bite. She ordered a glass of orange juice while she waited for Tenisha. The dimly-lit room suited her mood. She was scheming for her victory, and her plans had just taken off. Tenisha’s call was the beginning. She had expected her to call and she had not been disappointed. All she needed to do was to hear Tenisha out and plan accordingly.

Her drink arrived. She awarded the waiter a smile as she took the glass off the tray.

“Would that be all, ma’am?” The waiter asked.

“Yes, for now.” She replied.

He gave a little bow and walked briskly away to attend to other customers. If she hadn’t been so hung on Ken she would have liked someone like the tall and muscular waiter. His dressing – a crisp white shirt on a pair of blue trousers and a blue bowtie –accentuated his handsomeness. He could really pass for a fine fiancé. But that was not what she wanted. She wanted Ken, and she would do all within her power to destroy all obstacles blocking her way to him. That was the reason why she was seated in a private lounge and sipping a drink that cost about three times the price in a general lounge. She couldn’t risk anyone seeing her there and she had to send the right message to Tenisha about her class and status.

She took a sip of her drink and checked the time on her phone. It was twenty full minutes since she received Tenisha’s call. She frowned a little. What was taking so long? If she had changed her mind, then she could have told her instead of keeping her waiting? She couldn’t sit in the private lounge sipping a glass of juice for long. The waiters would start giving her weird looks. She would have to make another order or leave. Another order would eat deep into the money she had come with. She might just end up trekking home. She would not think of the amount of time it would take her to get home.

Just as she was about to empty her glass, her phone chirped. She quickly picked it up when she saw Tenisha’s name flashed across the screen.

“Where are you?” She asked, trying hard to keep her desperation off her voice. It would do her no good to show Tenisha how her long wait had kept her on the edge. She would leave the desperation to Tenisha so that she could capitalize on it and launch a successful attack.

“I’m inside Bliss.” She replied.

Laye let out a sigh of relief. “Come to the private lounge.” She told her.

The phone clicked off. Tenisha swept into the room in a cloud of some elegant scent. Laye had to give it to her. The girl knew had to make a grand entrance.

Heads turned towards her as she cat-walked in a red pantsuit with a wide black belt that emphasized her trim waistline. The music playing in the background didn’t block out the click sound of her high heel against the exquisite tiles. Laye was glad she had taken time to appear in one of her best looks too. She had ditched her suit for an evening gown –a straight blue gown pleated at the hem that accentuated the figure she was proud of. Her neck was adorned in a single strand of choker neck bead. She smiled up at Tenisha when she approached the table. Tenisha forced a smile through her tight lips, settling into the seat opposite her.

“You kept me waiting,” Laye said in an accusatory tone.

“Sorry,” Tenisha answered. She didn’t look up at Laye neither did she offer an explanation. She just arranged her purse on the table as if her life depended on it.

The waiter that had attended to Laye earlier came to the table again. He asked what they wanted.

Tenisha looked up at him and her eyes widened but she immediately hid it. She ordered a bottle of sprite and two plates of fried snails. Laye smiled her thanks, glad that Tenisha was not immune to the waiter’s looks too. They were like kindred spirits and so would definitely do well together. Laye ordered another glass of orange juice.

“So, why did you call?” Laye asked when the snails on her plate were all gone. It didn’t matter that Tenisha had only eaten one out of the seven big snails that she was served. She had to get on with the matter on the ground.

Tenisha wiped her fingers on the serviette that had come with their food. She took a long swig of her drink before speaking. “I don’t want to share Ken with anyone else.” She said bluntly, her eyes intense like burning coals.

Laye gave a nod of understanding. “I understand you.” She said leaning back in her chair. She had taken time to study Tenisha while they ate. Despite the heavy make-up that covered all spots and wrinkles, Laye had seen the troubled look in her eyes and the bags below them.

Something was wrong. Something had pushed Tenisha to call her. Something was pushing her still and she would do anything to get what she wanted. Laye wanted to exploit that ‘something’ and use it to her own advantage.

“What do you want me to do?” She asked coolly.

Tenisha sat up straighter. “Please, help me. I need Ken now more than ever.”

Was that tears Laye heard in her voice? She couldn’t tell. She was only certain of Tenisha’s desperation. She wanted Ken at all cost now. It was unfortunate she couldn’t have him. She gave a pitiful shake of her head.

“Tell me about you and Ken.” Laye urged.

And Tenisha did.

She told Laye everything, withholding nothing. She didn’t even spare the tiniest detail. Laye listened with intrigue and jealousy. She was intrigued because of the kind of affair Ken had with Tenisha, and jealous because Tenisha had all of him. She loathed Tenisha. But then, she smiled, Tenisha had just given her one of her strongest weapons against Ken and she would use it well.

While she assured Tenisha of all she would do to help her out, hope filled her heart like rainwater in a ditch. The meeting had given her a solid beginning. She would win. She was sure of it.

 

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

Sinivie was waiting outside their apartment when Tenisha arrived that night. The light on the porch rested on her where she sat with her back against the wall and her hand moving through her phone. Tenisha drew a deep breath and pushed open the small gate in front of the veranda causing Sinivie to look up. She straightened and waited for her to come in.

“How did it go?” She asked in a small voice when Tenisha had locked the gate behind her.

Tenisha gave a shrug. “Let’s go inside.” She replied in a withdrawn tone.

Sinivie got up and followed her into the apartment. Tenisha leaned against the wall and slowly dropped down to the floor. Her eyes brimmed with tears. Sinivie looked over her with deep concern.

“How did it go, Tenisha?” She asked again.

“I had to beg… I had to beg Laye like she held the key to my life.” She shut her eyes tightly to fight the tears that had pooled in her eyes.

Sinivie came to sit beside her on the floor. “You don’t have to, Tenisha. You have a lot going for you. You can do very well without Ken.” She advised.

Tenisha shook her head lightly. “I want Ken, Sini. I want him. You know he’s not like the others.”

“But what you are doing now could land you in trouble later on. What would you do then? Would you be able to stand Ken’s hatred because of your lies? Just let it go.” Sinivie placed a comforting hand around her shoulders.

Tenisha shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t want to. Ken is the one I want.” She insisted, her voice hardening a little. The tears from earlier seemed to be drying up.

“Don’t do this to yourself, Tenisha.” Sinivie pleaded. “You’re more than this.”

Tenisha pushed away from her and looked into her eyes. “No, I’m not more than this, Sinivie. I’m not you who has it all together. I am not any of my siblings either. I am Tenisha who has to fight for every little thing I have. Now, I see my lone struggle coming to an end with Ken in my life; I won’t give him up.”

Sinivie sighed. “It doesn’t have to be like this you know. You can quit now and make something out of your life.”

“It’s too late.” Tenisha leaned back against the wall, eyes closed. Her posture told Sinivie she didn’t want to discuss the issue anymore but Sinivie would not give up.

“You know there is a way.” She said in a near whisper.

Tenisha’s eyes fluttered open. “A way? Really?”

Sinivie kept her eyes straight. “Some time ago, one of my salesgirls dropped a Christian tract with me.” She explained silently. “I didn’t see the need to read it, but something pushed me to pick it. Since then I’ve been giving Jesus a lot of thought. I’ll tell you honestly that I knew nothing about having a relationship with Him, but from the day I read the tract, my feelings changed. Now I yearn to know him and my salesgirl has been helping me.”

Tenisha stared at her with wide eyes. “Are you for real?” She quizzed, a bewildered look on her face.

Slowly Sinivie turned to her and smiled. She gave a nod. “Jesus is the only way I can think of.”

Tenisha kept quiet for a few heartbeats. She kept regarding Sinivie with a weird look. When Sinivie said nothing, she jumped up to her feet. “Tell me something better, Sinivie. If you know you’re tired of being around me just let me know. Don’t give me some religious bullshit ‘I’m-born-again-praise-the-Lord’ story. You can do better than that.” She hissed loudly and stalked out of the room. What she needed was fresh air and not Sinivie’s righteousness.

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

Laye found her way to the Ladies when Tenisha left. She brought out her make-up purse and hummed as she refreshed her makeup. She wore a happy smile and felt truly beautiful as she looked at her reflection in the large mirror in front of her. She could perceive her victory; it was so real she felt if she stretched her hand she could hold it. She lifted her head in confidence. She had finally gotten the power she needed. Nimi? Nah, Ken won’t look at her twice when she got her plans rolling.

And that was what she was about doing. Ken would receive a surprise visitor; one he didn’t know knew his house or his love life. He would receive the visitor that would be his wife in the nearest future.

Laye threw her head back in a confident laugh. She picked out a comb and dragged it through the part of her weave-on that had become tangled. Next, she brought out a small bottle of perfume and applied it generously all over her. She sniffed the air and gave a satisfactory smile, then she adjusted her dress. When she was satisfied with everything, she walked out of the Ladies with a graceful sway, twisting from one side to the other.

She heard a low whistle as she walked through the private lounge out the door. She laughed again, power whizzing through her. She had it now. What Nimi had, she had, and even more than that. It felt good.

She stood by the roadside and took a drop. The taxi dropped her right in front of Ken’s house. She stood outside the black gate and breathed in and out.

This is it, she said to herself. I’m finally walking towards my dreams –a handsome and well to do husband, a beautiful home, and a bright future. Let’s get this started.

She rang the bell on the wall beside the gate.

“Who be dat?” A gruff tone called from the other side. A small compartment on the gate came up, revealing the face of the security man who had answered her. The dim security light made it impossible to see the man’s face clearly, but Laye knew he could see her clearly from where he stood. She placed a hand on her neck and fingered the bead on it.

“I’m here to see Mr. Ken,” she answered.

“From where?” He queried.

“Tell him it’s Tenisha. He’ll understand.” She winked at him.

He nodded, closed the compartment and disappeared behind the closed gate. A few minutes later, a bewildered Ken rushed out and threw the gate open casting wild eyes about. When his eyes fell on Laye, he drew back in shock as if he was hit.

He said nothing and just kept looking at her. Laye’s mouth turned up in a wry smile.

“Hi, Ken. Expecting someone?” She commented, breaking the silence.

Taut lines drew across Ken’s face. “What are you doing here?” His mouth was set in a hard line.

Laye would have been deceived if not that he kept looking over her head, expecting someone –maybe Nimi, to jump out at him. His constant wary glance betrayed his show of anger. He was as nervous as a rat trapped in between a cat and a wall with no way of escape. That was to her own advantage.

She drew close to him and placed a hand on his chest. He stepped back immediately as if she had a transferable virus. She let out a sardonic laugh. “Oh, Ken, we have a very long way to go. I don’t want us to start out here. How about inviting me in?”

He crossed his arms across his chest. “Tell me right here what brought you to my house at this late hour.”

“You wouldn’t like it, Ken, believe me; you wouldn’t like people to know the real you.” She said in a voice dripping with honey. “Just imagine the security man getting the information I have and seeing Nimi tomorrow. I can just imagine him sharing all the juicy parts of your past with her. Oh, there he is.” She cast a look around him.

He turned swiftly and the security man jumped out of sight. Ken pulled the gate closed and drew closer to her, then in an almost whisper said, “What exactly are you talking about?” He clenched and unclenched his jaw.

“Oh, Ken, you know what I’m talking about.” She let out a giggle.

“I don’t know,” Ken said feelingly.

“Let’s go in and talk.” She suggested again.

After what seemed like an eternity with Ken rubbing his head with his palm, he finally asked her in. The moment they stepped into Ken’s living room, Laye hugged him from behind. Ken tried to free himself from her grasp but she held on tight.

“What are you doing, Laye?”

“Ken, I know about Tenisha.” She let out the bombshell.

Ken’s hands went limb beside him. Laye released him and came to stand in front of him. The colour drained out of his face as he stared at Laye with a look of horror. “How… wha… what…” Ken stuttered.

Laye placed a hand on his chest. He flinched but made no move to shake it off. She hid a satisfactory smile. Now the victory, she said within excitedly. “I know everything, Ken, and I don’t judge you. You’re a man after all, and you were in love. I totally understand. I also know it’s over now. Let me heal your broken heart; let me be the one for you. I would love you like no one ever has or ever could.” She said in a pleading tone. She held him in a hug.

Ken pushed her off. “Stop this right now, Laye. You know nothing, especially about Tenisha and me. Move away.” He charged at her in a thunderous voice.

Laye didn’t as much as flinch as anger poured into his face. She had the upper hand. “I wanted to be a lady for you, Ken, but you just proved to me that you don’t want a lady.” She balled her fist and faced him. “What you don’t want gently, you will get by force. Just wait until I let your precious Nimi know all about your colourful past. Oh, how she would love you.” She told him in a sarcastic tone.

“You have just two weeks to think about my proposal. Two weeks, or…” She left the threat hanging as she eyeballed him, then with head held high and shoulders squared, she walked out of his apartment.

Minutes after she had gone, her words kept playing in Ken’s head. How did things get so bad? He wondered, hands folded across his chest as he paced his living room floor. Yes, the secret would come out someday but he didn’t expect it to come out this way. He wanted to take a special time to tell Nimi, but if Laye told her everything, her trust would be destroyed and their relationship would end. Why didn’t he just tell her that day long ago? He rubbed his forehead as he felt the beginning of a headache.

“Oh, Lord, help me.” He cried. “Two weeks? No, something must be done before then.”

What would be done was his next line of action: he either told Nimi or handle it his own way.

Love Quest 10

Guess who showed up?? TENISHA!!! Wah!!! Find out how Ken handles her sudden appearance. Happy Reading!

Episode Ten

Nimi leaned against the kitchen cabinet at home lost in thought while she waited for the water she placed on the cooker to boil.

The rest of her workday had been filled with disturbing thoughts of Laye and mixed feelings for Ken. She had been corrected thrice by the Creative Director for mistakes that she would not have made ordinarily all because she was thinking about Laye’s warning. The third time, she had been sent back to her booth to clear her head.

Nimi sighed. She hadn’t cleared her head and had eventually left the work for tomorrow. It would be disastrous to keep working when her feelings warred within her. Concern for Laye and their friendship filled her like a sumptuous meal on an empty stomach while her growing affection for Ken warred with it.

A sizzling sound came from the cooker drawing her attention to the water on the cooker. She moved away from the cabinet and took down the kettle with a hand towel. She dropped the steaming kettle on the cabinet and placed the pot of melon soup she had made earlier on the cooker. She poured cassava flour into the steaming water and started stirring. Her stomach grumbled in response to the boiling soup on the cooker. She remembered she hadn’t taken anything else after the meal Ken shared with her because of Laye’s warning.

A smile spread across her lips at the thought of Ken. Ken, her boss; Ken, her friend and Ken, a friend of God. How would she relate to the different shades of him? She enjoyed being his friend; in fact, she liked it a lot. She related with him well as her boss because he seemed to have drawn a line between them when they were relating on official grounds. But what got her was relating to the singing-praying-and-Bible-reading Ken. He had spoken with so much conviction when he talked about the hymn and how it ministered to him each time he sang it. How could she relate with that? Three Sundays had gone by in the month and she had not visited any church for service. She had long stopped classifying spiritual things as important. Her father had made it easy for them all.

He couldn’t care less about fellowship of the brethren or oneness in Christ; he was only living for the moment and for himself. He didn’t need any pastor, priest and so-called men of God telling him how to live his life and condemning the way he lived. Or questioning his salvation.

Nimi understood the depth of her father’s feelings and had naturally accepted his decision and trod the same path with him. If he had given his all to the church and the church that should love him had turned on him the last minute and condemned him, then what was the essence of claiming to be one in Christ?

Her face hardened now as flashes from the past filled her mind eyes. Scene after scene she saw the faces that had judged and condemned them, she saw the tongues that had lashed at them and called her father irresponsible. She saw the body language of the church days after her father’s suspension. She saw the people who had treated them as outcasts. It hurt much more than the gossips and stigmatization of the ones who didn’t term themselves “righteous”. She bore their gossips and stigmatization of the public with anger and hatred towards the one who had caused it, but she directed her anger and hatred towards the righteous in the church who had rejected them.

Nimi shut her eyes tightly and fought the anger that still dwelt within her. She finished stirring the cassava flour and wrapped them in white nylon according to their number in the house. She turned off the cooker and served the soup into ceramics bowls. She lined them accordingly on the cabinet. She served her mother and father’s meals separately. Her heart ached within her when she set their meals on the tray.

She thought back to a time when they had always had their meal together as one big, happy family. Their home had been filled with laughter and joy. Their father had been a father indeed. He loved his wife and his children, he was committed to God. He gave his all without reservations. He was a role model to a lot of young people in the church. His family was the model family.

But then, her sister had fallen in love. It was the beginning of the end.

All had come shattering down soon after her wedding. Laughter had ended and bitterness had filled the once happy atmosphere. Tears pooled in her eyes as these unwanted memories assaulted her. She wiped it off in anger. Her sister didn’t deserve a single teardrop. She had caused her family’s fall. She had done the worst by leaving behind her son. Whose son is still a question they sincerely couldn’t answer? The husband had fought initially for the boy, but since her sister had been absent and her parents stood their ground, the boy was left with them. Her sister had been incommunicado since then.

Nimi gave a pitiful shake of the head and placed her parents’ meal on the tray. She moved to the dining and set the tray down on the table. She also took three wraps of cassava flour and dropped them in a flask, then she dropped it on the dining table. She went back to the kitchen to put it in order. She placed the bowl she had used to make the cassava flour under the tap in the sink and washed vigorously. She set it on the top of the sink after that for the water to drain. She dried her hands on the napkin and picked up her plate of soup. She was almost at the door when her mother came in.

“Good evening, mama.” She greeted.

“Good evening, dear.” She replied, her eyes roaming the kitchen. “You’re through.” She noticed.

Nimi gave a nod. She dropped her plate of soup and cassava flour on the cabinet, then she leaned against the door frame. “How was church?” She asked, her lips thinned in disapproval.

Her mother smiled at her. “Church was fine. You should also attend some time.” She encouraged.

Nimi looked away from her, giving a vehement shake of her head. “Maybe, I don’t know.” She answered, her eyes counted the ceiling.

Her mother moved closer and touched her arm. “When will you let it all go, Nimi? When will you leave your bitterness behind?” She asked in a soft voice.

Nimi felt her heart stir within her at her mother’s tone. She felt the tears piercing at her eyes. She shut her eyes to keep the tears at bay. She took a deep breath and released it slowly. She fixed her mother with a bland expression. “I refuse to be influenced by those ‘hypocrites’. I refuse to give them the right to tell me what to do.”

Her mother sighed. “It’s not about them, Nimi. I keep telling you and your father. It’s about God.”

“Then I don’t have to associate with them since they have no connection with God. I’d rather remain on my own and search God the way I want to.” She said in a decisive tone.

Pain filled her mother’s eyes, causing her to look older than her fifty-five years. “Please, forgive your sister, Nimi. She made a terrible mistake indeed, and she’s paying for it. It’s the reason why she can’t come back home. Forgive her I beg you.” She pleaded.

Disbelief flashed in Nimi’s eyes. “Mama, you’re telling me to forgive her?” She asked in an incredulous tone, eyes widened. She stood up straight, arms akimbo and fixed her mother with a strange look. “That girl ruined this family. She took away our laughter because of her selfishness. She humiliated Papa all because of her stupid emotions. My relationship with Raymond ended because of her and now you want me to forgive her? Oh no.”

Her mother held her hands in a desperate plea, her eyes filling up fast. “She wants to come back home, Nimi. Please, forgive her so that we can start all over.”

“Let her stay away. She has done that for years now.”

“Nimi, she called me. She finally reached out after all this time.” Her mother said in a whispery tone, her eyes on the floor.

A shocked gasp escaped Nimi’s lips, drawing her mother’s eyes back to her.

“She wants to come home. I can’t tell your father until I am certain we can be of one voice.”

The tears she had held at bay all the while spilled down her cheeks now with reckless abandon. “I will not speak with one voice on this matter, Mama.  I will not be happy if you welcome her back to this house. I will have nothing to do with it.” She turned and picked up her plate of soup, staring at it with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Her mother came closer and touched her shoulders. “I’ll keep praying for you, Nimi.” With this, she turned away and left the kitchen.

Appetite gone, Nimi remained in the same position, her plate of soup forgotten, crying for the things that were.

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

Ken’s eyes fixed on the television. An international friendly match was on and he was watching, but his mind seemed to be drifting from the footballers on the screen. His mind was completely taken by thoughts of Nimi. Yes, he had taken a step with Nimi and he liked it. He felt right with what he had done. It gave him great pleasure also that she had accepted his friendship. What would happen next?

He wondered if he could move forward. He shook his head. No, he said to himself, I won’t rush. Lord, take charge. I could talk to her.

He dropped his legs from the centre table top where he had placed them and wore his flip-flop, then he went to the electric extension close to the TV and unplugged his phone. Just as he was about to unlock the screen, light flashed on the screen and the phone started vibrating. A call was coming in. Immediately he saw the caller ID, the phone dropped from his fingers to the rugged floor.

He moved back in his chair and placed a hand over his beating heart. His nightmare had called again.

The phone rang for some time and went off. He picked it up then and stared at the screen. Tenisha, you can’t defeat me, he cried out and waited for her call. The phone started ringing again. He took a deep breath and answered the phone.

“He… he… hello,” he said in a shaky tone. He cleared his throat and spoke again. “Hello.” This time he had more control over his voice.

“Ken?” the voice rose in disbelief.

“Ye… yes.” He went back to stuttering when he heard Tenisha’s voice.

“Oh, Ken.” She called softly.

He heard a sniff. He held his peace and waited.

“Why? Why are you treating me like this? I have been calling for a long time now.” She said. “You left without a word and refused to pick my call. What exactly did I do wrong?” She asked in between gulps of air.

“Tenisha,” Ken started slowly, “we were finished before I left.” He explained. “I’m sorry it was not clear to you.”

“Oh, Ken, finished you say? It wasn’t clear to me and we are not finished.” Her voice became firm.

“Tenisha…” he tried to reason with her.

“Ken, my darling, you know you are my all in all. We can’t just end things like that. We have to be together.” She switched to a sensuous tone. “How can I leave the man who owns my heart? You promised me the world, Ken. I want that world with you, and that’s why I had to get your new location. I’m presently lodging in Bliss Hotel in Opolo.” She told him.

Ken jumped up when he heard that. She was just some blocks away from him. “What?” he exclaimed in shock.

“Don’t be so surprised.” She laughed. “I have my ways.” She boasted. “I want to see you today, Ken, and I don’t want to be kept waiting. Let’s meet in ten minutes. I don’t want to make more calls just to get your exact location.”

She ended the call. Ken read in between the lines. The message was clear. Tenisha had issued a threat. He pulled up his three-quarter short and hurried to his bedroom, all the while wondering who told her where to find him. He had confided in Peter.

He shook his head as he pulled down his short for a trouser. Peter would not betray him, no not to someone like Tenisha. It must be his ex-boss who had insisted on getting details before accepting his resignation. His lips drew back in a snarl. He buckled his belt, rushed to the sitting room, and grabbed his car keys. He made a dash for his car outside.

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

Laye sat in front of Karibo in Bliss Taste and Bite. Accepting to go out with Karibo had boosted her bruised ego. After her confrontation with Nimi, she had stormed off to her office to stew until Karibo came to remind her of his invite. She had not thought it twice before accepting. It was better to be in the company of Karibo than to be alone thinking of Nimi, Ken and, of course, Ela.

She took a bite of her sausage roll and tried to focus on Karibo. It was better for the moment. After this time, she could go back and think about Ken and how she had to have him for herself. She would give her best to Karibo and so she flashed a very bright smile at him as he told her of how long it had taken him to ask her out on a date.

“Really, Laye, I took my time. I kept seeing the serious ‘you’ and I concluded I could never break through to you.” He told her.

Laye laughed a little, shaking her head. “It couldn’t have been so bad, Karibo. You’re exaggerating.”

Karibo raised his hands. “I’m telling you the truth. I was scared. I became quite serious because of you. I had to be on the same wavelength as you.”

Laye’s mouth formed an ‘oh’. “I would never have imagined.”

He touched her hand. “This is a major breakthrough for me.” He confessed, staring into her eyes with intense, burning eyes.

She returned his gaze with a long, hard, misty look, as if analysing him, as if seeing him in a new light. Her heart started thumping within her chest. She drew a trembling breath. Was she going to faint? She wondered. Karibo touched her cheek lightly. She released a slow, soft breath that almost sounded like a moan. Her eyes flew to his in embarrassment. She cleared her throat.

“Huh… that’s… that’s quite revealing.” She said unsteadily.

He gave her a beguiling smile. “Don’t use my secret against me.” he replied, feigning fear.

“Oh, I don’t know, I’ll think about that.” She teased, lifting one dark swooping brow at him.

“Oh, come on, Laye, don’t be like that.” He held her right wrist and opened her palm, then he ran his fingers through it.

Laye resisted for a few seconds before bursting out in laughter. She threw her head back and let laughter flow out of her like melodious tune from a piano. Karibo joined in her laughter.

“So is my secret safe?” he asked her when the laughter died down.

“You tricked me.” Laye challenged him, wiping tears from her eyes with her hankie. “You made me laugh so much now I have to use the convenience room.” She pushed away from the table and got up. “I’ll be right back.” She dropped her hankie on the table and made her way to the Ladies.

She walked away from the entertainment area down the stairs that led to the counter and offices. She moved past the counter to the left and pushed open the door that led to the female convenience room. When she was done, she looked at her reflection in the mirror.

“How is it that you’re responding to Karibo this way?” She asked her reflection. She touched her chest. “Oh, why are you beating so much for him? You should beat for Ken; Ken and not Karibo.” She said with so much intensity.

A door opened behind her and a lady stepped out of one of the rooms. Their eyes met in the mirror and Laye noticed the weird look the lady gave her as she went to the sink to wash her hands. Laye forced a smile and rushed out of the Ladies. She laughed as she made her way through the counter and up the stairs. Just at the stairs, she bumped into a couple. Her eyes went up immediately to apologize but the words stuck in her throat when she saw the man.

“Mr Ken?” She called in disbelief. Her eyes went to the lady beside him. Tall and full figured, she wore a short red gown that hung to her body and displayed all her abundant curves, leaving nothing to the imagination. Her almost white skin told the tale of a bleaching cream. Her round face was heavily made up with eyelashes that were long and thick and looked like feathers. Her lips and eyes reminded Laye of a peacock’s array of colours. Laye’s eyes went to the legs then. She stood on dangerous heels that were as tiny as a broomstick. Laye’s mouth dropped open when her eyes concluded their roaming on the lady’s face again.

The lady returned her gaze with a knowing smile. It was almost like she could read Laye’s mind. Laye closed her mouth then. The lady flipped the gold weave on she had on over her shoulders and tucked her arm around his, then she ran her fingers over his arm. Her eyes held Laye’s in an open challenge.

Laye turned away in time to see the uncomfortable look on Ken’s face. He squeezed his eyes shut in obvious frustration. Something was off, Laye thought. She couldn’t imagine Ken with a lady like the one beside him. And if she was his girlfriend, why did he look so uncomfortable and guilty? How would she even compete with such a lady?

“Mr Ken.” She called again.

“Hi, Laye.” He replied, his lips forming a plastic smile. “What are you doing here?” he asked.

Laye smiled. Ken just called her Laye. Something he had never done. Something was really up with him and the sexy doll beside him.

“I came here with a friend to grab a bite. What about you?” She asked.

“I’m… I’m here also to grab a bite. See you tomorrow then.” He said in a rush and pulled the lady forward. The movement was sudden and the lady gasped in shock, losing her footing. Ken grabbed her at the last minute and balanced her. She staggered down the stairs behind Ken.

Laye watched this in bemusement. What was going on? Nimi told her of Ken singleness, so who was the sexy doll ruffling the ever-official Mr Ken? Where was the Christian Mr Ken who spent time in his office singing hymn? Hmm… Laye thought, I’ll get to the bottom of this. I can feel the beginning of a drama.

Adrenaline rushed through her as she went back to Karibo. She would also rush him out of the restaurant. Ken must not see him too. Two can play a game.

 

Love Quest Ep 9

Threats flying, Relationship building, friendship straining, hearts breaking, odds meeting! Catch all the drama on Love Quest episode 9. Get into Nimi and Laye’s world. Don’t forget to share this episode with your friend.

Episode Nine

Nimi sat behind her desk putting finishing touches to the work she wanted to submit to her team’s creative director. Although it was break period, she decided to stay back to work. Her reason for wanting to complete her work while the others left for the cafeteria was just a cover-up. Her main reason was to avoid Laye who had made it a routine to pressure her to go see Ken even when he had not invited her. The pressure was getting to her, and it was causing a strain on their friendship.

Nimi was near snapping at Laye to let her be, but her fear of her growing feelings for Ken would not allow her act. She wasn’t sure if Laye was getting on her nerves because she had a thing for Ken too, or if truly Laye’s obsession was irritating her.

She clicked the send button on her mail and leaned back in her chair. She received a notification in the following seconds that her mail had been sent. She wished what was becoming her life and her friendship with Laye could easily be sorted out. She didn’t want to get in the way of Laye and yet she didn’t want to stay away from Ken. How was it possible that she would handle that? Could she have her cake and still eat it?

Laye seemed not have noticed the ache her continuous enquiry about Ken was causing her. All she wanted was to have Ken, and Nimi must help her. She turned deaf ears to her explanation that Ken had not summoned again to his office on personal grounds –that was even giving her concern. But she would never go to him. She would never yield to Laye’s pressure and go to Ken.

No way! She shook her head vehemently. I am not a desperado. My feelings notwithstanding, I will never seek him out on my own until everything is clear to me. If Laye is so desperate then let her go to him herself. Yes, that’s better. She would tell her that when next she asked her when she was visiting Ken.

Someone touched her shoulder, drawing her out of her inner musing. She looked up into the eyes of Miss Binaebi. Her eyes grew wide in surprise.

A lovely face smiled at her. Nimi forced a smile through her lips too.

“Hi.” She greeted.

“Hi,” Elaebi replied cheerfully. She took the seat beside Nimi.

Nimi watched her every move. Close up, Nimi could see why Laye felt insecure. Elaebi was indeed beautiful. Her face seemed to glow as she looked at her. Her eyes seemed to fill her whole face and her lips wore a natural pout that drew Nimi’s eyes to her like metal to a magnet. Her pencil-thin eyebrows eased down gently to her sweeping eyelashes as she looked at Nimi.

“You had such intense look on your face a while ago and I couldn’t resist coming to ask what put such look on your face.” She said.

Nimi winced. Elaebi laughed a little. “Hope you don’t mind my intrusion.” She said.

“Oh no.” Nimi quickly reassured her. She sat upright and minimized her mail page on the system. She could use that as an excuse. “I just have a lot of work to do.” She told her.

Elaebi nodded her understanding. “My former place of work was the same. The stress was terrible. I was the only art director.” She said.

Nimi lifted her brows in disbelief. “Really?” She asked. “You’ve been in the advertising world?”

“Of course,” Elaebi replied. “For two years actually.”

Nimi gaped at her. This was definitely a case of beauty and brains. Where was Laye, who thought Elaebi was there to seduce her precious Mr. Ken? “That’s good. I have only been here for eight months now,” she said.

“I guess I can welcome you as a senior colleague.” Elaebi teased.

Nimi laughed. Elaebi joined her. “Okay, my senior colleague.” Nimi replied, with a bow.

Elaebi got up. “I just wanted to create a connection between us. Your face gave me my opening.” She winked at Nimi.

Nimi smiled. “Thanks, Miss Binaebi.”

“The name is Elaebi. Call me Ela.” She told her.

Nimi nodded. “Ela then. I’m Nimitein. Everyone calls me Nimi.”

They spent a few more minutes acquainting before Elaebi went back to her desk. Nimi watched her walk away and knew that she had just made another friend.

That knowledge proved to be true in the days that followed as they got closer to each other. She saw little of Laye. No more did they carry out their morning ritual. Nimi took her tea all by herself on her desk. There was no need going to share precious moments with someone who had become obsessed with a man and could care less about her friendship.  Each time they met, Laye nagged her about Ken. The more she nagged, the more Nimi avoided her.

When they gathered for briefing days after Elaebi came to her, Nimi sat away from Laye. She found herself beside Ela while Laye sat with Karibo.  She felt strange that morning and she really wanted to go to Laye, but the moment Laye sighted Ela beside her, she turned away and sat with Karibo who flashed a happy smile at her.

Laye’s eyes kept drifting to the entrance waiting for Ken to appear as usual. Whatsoever Karibo was telling her was going through one ear and out through the other.

When she heard Ken’s voice at the entrance, the first place her eyes went to was to Laye. Just as she thought, Laye was beaming with smiles. She shook her head sadly. Ken didn’t come close as he would have done in the past. He walked straight to the back and took a seat while the MD addressed them that morning. Laye kept stealing peeks at him.

Beside Nimi, Ela kept humming as she took notes of the MD’s address. Nimi marvelled at her. Her face radiated with so much joy as the humming gave way to words. The lyrics of the song she was humming left her lips in sweet melody. Her serenity intrigued Nimi. What was about this beautiful but simple girl, she wondered.  She looked her over. Spending time with her these past days had made her yearn for the kind of personality Ela had. She charmed everyone around with her easy smiles and caring attitude. She seemed not to notice the effect she had on people. There must be something special about her, Nimi concluded within her.

She made a note to ask her about the song and try to learn it too. She couldn’t remember the last time she sang any song on her own, talk less of a gospel song. The gospel songs she knew were from a time long ago when attending church had been part of her family’s activities; when her sister had not made them the laughing stock of the community and the rejected of the church. Each time she heard people sing gospel songs, she had her mind elsewhere. She would prefer to plug in her earphones and keep herself from singing along or learning the song.

But something about the way Ela was singing touched her. She would learn Ela’s song even if she might not believe in the lyrics. And she wouldn’t sing the song at home of course because her father would only get angry with her. He was done singing, church songs, praying and reading God’s word. It was only her mother that still took the side of God after the damages her sister caused. Even her younger ones were indifferent. Who would blame them when the head of the house had sunk under the weight of the rejection and condemnation he received from those who should have understood and encouraged him through God’s words and prayers.

Nimi sighed as the address came to an end and they left the room in groups. She would not think of her sister or her family, for now, she would focus on what she could control –learning Ela’s song.

She pulled her aside before she would go with the others. “You have a beautiful voice, Ela.” Nimi commented.

Ela brimmed with smiles. “Thank you, Nimi.”  She replied.

“I’ll like to learn the song.” She told her.

Ela clapped her hands in excitement. “Oh, great! I’ll teach you during the break, or we could visit the ladies before we get tied up with work and apply ‘powder’ to our voices.” She winked at Nimi.

Nimi threw her head back in laughter. Her laughter stopped abruptly when Ken joined them, causing her to cough.

He smiled at them. “Hello, ladies.” He said.

“Good morning, sir.” They both greeted.

“How are you enjoying DAA, Miss Binaebi?” he asked.

“Fine, sir. I’m adapting to the work schedule here.” Ela replied, twisting a strayed curl that escaped her hairpin.

Ken gave an approving nod. “That’s good. Just do your best.” He encouraged.

“I will, sir.”

Ken turned to Nimi. “It’s been a while, Miss Tombiri. Let’s meet today during lunch break.”

As usual, his invitation made her happy. A big smile spread across her face. “Okay, sir. I’ll be there.”

“Alright then, enjoy your day.” He walked away with purposeful strides.

They watched him go. When Nimi took her eyes off his departing back, she locked glances with Laye. She excused herself from Ela and went to meet her.

Laye’s mouth was drawn in disapproval, arms folded across her chest. “She’s so quick.” She stated, staring daggers at Ela, who was talking to another art director.

“Come off it, Laye. Ela is a very nice person. I like her.” Nimi countered.

Laye shook her head. “Don’t be carried away, Nimi. She’s just pretending.”

Nimi looked at Ela. She was open from what Nimi could see. “I doubt it, Laye.”

“Keep doubting. Don’t be surprised when she’ll be the one going to Ken’s office.” Laye sounded firm. “By the way, I saw Ken talking to you. What’s it about?” her voice was soft, losing the acidic tone form moments ago.

“He invited me to his office,” Nimi told her without the happiness she felt earlier when Ken invited her.

“Oh good!” Laye crowed in delight. “We’re back on track. Now, I feel good again.” She placed her hands on her waist and twisted stylishly.

Nimi said nothing. She would do nothing to increase Laye’s obsession with Ken. She only looked forward to the time in his office.

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

She met Ken in front of the file cabinet shuffling through some files when she got to his office. He turned when he heard the door open. He smiled at her.

“Welcome, Miss Tombiri.” He said, moving away from the cabinet with a folder.

“Thank you, sir.” She answered, standing at the same spot.

He pointed her to a seat. She took her seat. “How has the day been?” He enquired.

Nimi blew air out of her mouth. “Hectic.” She said simply, placing a hand on her jaw.

He raised his eyebrows. “That bad huh?”

She nodded. “I have been in meetings all morning setting dates for our presentations, and I have a very long document to work on. I think you should consider having four copywriters on my team.” She told him.

Ken laughed. He set the folder on the desk. “Negotiating for your team, right?” he replied, eyes twinkling.

Nimi raised her hands in mock innocence. “I just want the best for the agency.”

He chuckled lightly. “Alright, we’ll look into it.” He drew out some papers from the folder and passed them to her. “I hope you’re done with your work now,” he said. She nodded in return. “And even if you were still busy I would have talked to your Creative director to excuse you.” His eyes held hers in an intense look.

Nimi felt heat move up her neck all the way to her hairline. Her heart did a double take at his words. A tingling sensation started up in the pit of her stomach, spreading up to her heart. A happy feeling settled on her. “That would be nice.” She replied in a calm voice, despite her runaway pulse.

“I hope you won’t mind me having you to myself all through.” He said. Nimi raised alarmed eyes at that. He rubbed the back of his neck, a guilty smile on his face. “That came out wrong. I meant… well… we’ll work together.” He explained with a stutter.

“I don’t mind, sir,” Nimi responded, enjoying his discomfort. She didn’t mind him having her in the other way he thought she had understood his statement, but she couldn’t tell him that.

“Good.”

He gave her the file he had pulled out from the cabinet when she came in and told her to look through the final presentation for the Seasoning Company Account which they had submitted earlier. They looked over it together and finally agreed it was ready for presentation.

“Well, since you’re going to be here for a while, I made arrangement for lunch.” He moved away from the desk. He picked a basket beside the refrigerator. He came back to the desk and dropped two food flasks on it. Nimi looked at him for an explanation. “I wanted to show you I’m not just a snack lover. I love good food too, so I prepared this meal.”

Nimi couldn’t resist the happy laughter that bubbled within her. It came out with all the excitement she felt. “Wow, sir, you actually cooked.” She said in disbelief.

A worried look creased his brow. “Maybe you should taste it first before getting excited.” He pushed one of the flasks to her.

She opened it and was hit by the aroma of curry seasoning. He had prepared white rice and stew. The chicken that garnished the rice was mouth-watering. She felt herself salivating. “This is good, sir.” She commented. “It’s inviting.”

“Then you should eat.” He said. He took two spoons from the basket and passed one to her. “You can get water from the fridge.”

Nimi left the flask on the table and went to the fridge to get sachet water. While she went right to eating, he closed his eyes for a few seconds with his lips uttering words she couldn’t hear. She studied him as she chewed her food.

Who exactly was Ken? She pondered. Laye had finally told her what happened between them when she returned the bottle. She had related the way she met him that day.  Hmm… she thought deeply, there is something about this man. There must be something or else my heart will not be hopelessly falling for him even when I know my friend wanted him so much.

He ended his prayer and started eating. She looked away then. “How is it?” He asked her. His eyes were anxious.

He had done a good job for someone who hardly cooked. It didn’t matter that the curry was too much and the salt was a lit bit much. She wouldn’t tell him that. “Good, sir. I’m quite impressed. If you continue like this, you’ll soon become an expert.” She enthused.

A pleased look filled his eyes. “Thank you. I know you only said that to make me feel good. I can taste the salt now.” his eyes twinkled.

Nimi almost dropped the food flask as her body shook with laughter. He joined in her laughter. “But just like you said, I’ll definitely improve if I continue.” He commented when his laughter subsided.

“Alright, sir.”

After the meal, they got back to talking about work and outlining strategies for the new accounts they just got. Nimi was pleased that he thought to include her in his planning. Her respect for him increased.

While he worked on his system, she read through his ideas for the new accounts, making corrections were necessary and noting relevant points. The rhythmic movement of his fingers on the keyboard broke the silence in the room. Nimi didn’t like it initially but after a while, it became monotonous and she didn’t notice anymore. It was the reason why she didn’t know he had stopped typing and was looking at her. The hair on her neck stood, making her self-conscious. She looked up to see him watching her.

Nimi’s hands flew to her mouth to be sure she had not left some food on her cheek. She rubbed both corners of her mouth. After that, she looked down at her shirt. No stain, she sighed with relief. Then why the serious look, she wondered? He answered the question her lips hadn’t formed but her eyes had asked.

“You were humming a hymn I like so much,” he told her.

Her eyes widened ever so slightly. She didn’t even know that she had been humming. She had gone to the Ladies with Ela and spent the first ten minutes of the day powdering their faces and learning the song. It was then Ela had told her it was a hymn she had sung that morning with her younger sister during their devotion. Nimi had hummed it to herself most part of the morning as she moved through her work. She stopped to concentrate and didn’t know she was doing it unconsciously in front of Ken. His rhythmic fingers must have matched the tone of the hymn and she just flowed with it. “I didn’t know.” She replied.

“That song always touched me each time I sing it. Do you feel that way?” His tone was soft.

Nimi considered it. Had the hymn touched her? When last had she been touched? She recalled the lyrics of the hymn and wondered what would minister to her in it.

My faith had found a resting place,

Not in device nor creed;

I trust the Ever-living One

His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,

I need no other plea,

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that he died for me.

She pondered on the words from the first stanza and the chorus. Ken interrupted her mind’s activity.

“That hymn has me down on my knees each time.” He said. “It brings to my mind what is written in the book of Psalms. Psalm 112:7 ‘He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting the Lord’”. He quoted in a melodic voice.

Nimi felt a warm glow within her as he quoted the scripture. It was right in her heart where she had never felt such. What was this all about? Why did she feel so good listening to Ken? His eyes seem to glow too. She shook her head. She must have worked too much and it was affecting her.

“You know the Bible?” she quizzed, studying him.

His lips turned up in a smile. “Yes, I do.” He answered with utmost pleasure. “What about you?”

Nimi looked away. Reading the Bible was not part of her daily routine. That was done on the rare occasions she attended Sunday service –and that happens when her mother had nagged her consistently on it. “Not like you.” She answered evasively.

He looked thoughtful. “Why is that?”

Nimi shuffled papers. She didn’t look at him. She took out one and feigned deep concentration. Anything was better than answering his question.

“Nimi,” he called softly, placing a warm hand over hers that had suddenly gone cold, causing it to tingle. Her eyes jerked to him. “Feel free to talk to me.” He urged gently.

She was too shocked to speak. They were moving too fast. Ken was opening places she didn’t want to be opened just yet. Yes, she was deeply attracted to him and wanted to spend time with him, that much she would admit, but still, she couldn’t just open up to him like that. The last time she opened up to someone, he had used it against her. Raymond had shattered her heart with the weapon she gave him. This time, she’d take her time.

He must have sensed her withdrawal because his grip on her hand became firm. “Listen, Nimi, you can talk to me.” Despite his firm grip, his voice remained gentle. He wasn’t going to force her to talk. He would only encourage her as a friend. A friend right? His heart thought her more than a friend already but he could not do anything until he was certain just as he had prayed days back.

Unbidden tears pooled in her eyes to her embarrassment. She raised her head to prevent them from dropping. She inhaled and exhaled for a few seconds, trying to get her emotions under control. When she felt relieved, she spoke up. “Maybe some other time, sir.” She told him.

A sad smile played on his lips. The pain of disappointment sliced through him but he shook it off. His time with Nimi would come. He was certain of it. “I’ll be waiting to listen, Nimi.” He replied, looking straight at her. “Just consider me as your friend and call me Ken.” He added.

Her eyes flew to him. Did he just say ‘friend’? He wanted them to be friends. Not inviting her to his office under work pretence anymore, right? Friend, and to call him Ken? Wow!

“Yes, Nimi. Take me as your friend.” he leaned forward so that their faces were just inches apart. “I want to be your friend. Will you accept me?” He asked.

Her heart screamed yes, yes, yes; but she hesitated. What about Laye? Would she not feel bad about it? What would happen now? Questions flew about in her head, while Ken awaited her answer. She looked into his eyes and he looked back at her with an intense gaze, scanning her face. The walls melted around her heart then. There was no harm in being his friend. She could even tell him about Laye’s feelings for him as a friend. She refused to acknowledge the small voice that told her she was not telling herself the truth.

She gave a small nod. “Yes, sir.” He shook her head at her use of ‘sir’. She cleared her throat and spoke again. “Yes, Ken.” She said in a small voice. She didn’t look at him.

He placed a hand under her chin and turned her face to him. “Thank you, Nimi. You are my friend too.”

Her heart thudded against her ribcage. For what reason, she couldn’t tell. Maybe for fear of what Laye would think and how she would react when she told her, or for the great excitement she felt that Ken asked to be her friend.

Whatever the reason, her heart kept thudding.

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

Nimi met Laye seated behind her desk when she got back to her booth. She jerked back in shock. She placed a hand over her racing heart and wondered what she would tell Laye.

“Laye.” She called.

Laye looked up from the magazine she was perusing. Her eyes twinkled with anticipation. “You’re back.” She said, dropping the magazine on the desk.

Nimi picked up the magazine and placed it on the stack of magazines on her desk. “What are you doing here?” She asked.

Laye gave a shrug. “Waiting for you of course. I need the gist na so I can plan my next move.” She blew air into her neatly polished nails.

Nimi looked around. A few of their colleagues were in the adjoining booths, working. Discussion flowed in low tones. “Not right here, Laye.” She replied in a whisper.

Laye stood up. “Then let’s go to my work area.” She suggested.

Nimi shook her head. “No, I have something to do now.” She powered her system and click on Microsoft Word. “We’ll talk later,” she said, not looking at her.

“You can do this later,” Laye replied, pressing the power off button. “We can still talk for a few minutes.” She stated, flashing a wry grin.

“Those few minutes are precious, Laye.” She told her through tight lips. “I know you when it comes to this particular matter.” She crossed her arms across her chest.

Laye swirled in her chair. “Then, let me stay here and listen to you while you work.” She insisted, raising expectant eyes to Nimi.

Anger built within Nimi. She glared at Laye. “Laye, please let’s talk later.” She told her coolly, fighting for control over her emotions.

Laye’s knitted eyebrows came up in surprise. Suspicion filled her eyes. Just as she was about to fire back at Nimi, Ela joined them.

“Hello, ladies.” She called pleasantly, flashing a bright smile.

Nimi let out a relieved sigh. She smiled at her in return. “Hi, Ela.”

Laye stood up. She fixed Ela with angry eyes. “You’re interrupting.” She told her bluntly.

Ela moved back. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” she apologized, the smile still on her face.

Nimi touched her arm. “It’s no problem, Ela. We’ll talk later.”

“Okay then.” She walked away from them.

“Laye, you shouldn’t have talked to her like that, Laye.”

“Whatever it is you are doing, Nimi, don’t betray our friendship,” she warned with all venom and walked out of the booth.

Laye’s warning caused her knees to tremble. She placed her hands on her desk to support herself. What would she do? Had she betrayed Laye by accepting Ken’s offer of friendship? Would Laye understand when she explained to her?

She drew her seat close to her and sat on it, then she placed her head on her desk. Her eyes went to a piece of paper on the floor. She bent and picked it up. It was folded into. She opened it. Her eyes widened at the content.

‘Let’s meet this evening at Bliss Taste and Bites after work. I have something to tell you. Karibo.’

Laye and Karibo? Nimi was confused. She had no time to analyse that when she heard her name.

“Nimi.” Someone called her from another booth and pointed to the office behind the booth.

She drew herself up. The creative director’s call put an end to the questions that plagued her, but Laye’s warning kept ringing in her head all through.

So, did Nimi do wrong in accepting Ken’s offer of friendship? If you were Laye, would you get angry when you find out?

Old Flame Ep 20B

Episode 20B

Finally!!! This is the concluding part of Old flame, the story of Tolu and Ebika. happy reading!

Tolu searched through the box of pictures he had carried into his bedroom from the study. He had given up on sleep the previous night when it eluded him and filled him with memories of what the past had been. He had also spent the better part of the night thinking of all that he had discussed with Chris. His friend had listened to him pour out his heart. He admitted the mess he had made of his life and how difficult it would be to fix it. His heart ached badly when he thought of all the hurt he had caused Eladebi and his children. Guilt also wrapped his heart like a fine wrapper around a woman’s waist. The mere thought of what he had done to Ebika, and what he might do made his heart heavy with guilt.

He scratched his day-old beard. Things were so complicated, but must be put in order notwithstanding. It was the same thing Chris had said. He had given him a shoulder to lean on and not the I-told-you-so attitude. His encouragement, and not mockery, had given him more reasons to be engaged in the deep soul searching he started in the night.

He finally found the picture he was looking for. It was one of his favourite of all his wedding pictures. It was the picture that had given hope to his marriage with Eladebi. The picture that reassured him that he had done the right thing by marrying Eladebi. Their posture in the picture told the story of their determination; determination to shame those who thought their coming together doomed.

He smiled as he looked at his wife. Eladebi had given the brightest smile when the picture was taken. She had wrapped her arms around his waist and looked lovingly into his eyes. In that look, he had seen all the love she felt for him, and the hope she had for their marriage. With his arms around her waist and eyes on her too he had given hope to her hope. That brief but special moment during the photo session doused the doubts in his heart and filled it with peace instead. It gave him the confidence to believe in his marriage with Eladebi. True, it wasn’t so rosy at the beginning, but they pulled through and shared laughter, joy, and friendship before he lost it.

Holding the picture, he moved to the bed and laid on his back, then he opened the floodgate of his heart and allowed the memories to flow through.

And they did flow.

The times they shared, both good and bad, came back to him like pictures on motion. Pictures after pictures of shared laughter, smiles, and jokes flashed through his mind. Eladebi’s joy each time she served their food, her superb mothering skills that gave their children the perfect setting for normal growth touched his heart now. She laughed at his jokes that weren’t really funny. He couldn’t remember her criticizing him once; even when he started treating her bad. He blanched when those pictures came next. All the times he had hurt her and brought tears to her eyes came back to him. He had put more tears in her eyes and caused her lips to quiver in sheer pain than smiles. He closed his eyes in shame when he thought of what he had done before sending her packing.

‘Oh, Eladebi.’ He wept. He had taken advantage of her kind-and-loving heart. The thought filled him more and more and made something that had always been lurking in his heart clear to him: he loved Eladebi. He drew himself up as the thought of how much he loved his wife and all she meant to him sank in. This excited his heart and brought a happy smile to his face but it brought more troublesome thought. If the love he felt was his wife had not died, then what did he feel for Ebika? What kept him so attached to her like a chain around a dog’s neck? The more he thought about it, the more he became confused. He ran a hand through his thick head and threw his head backward.

“What a mess you’ve made, Tolu.” He said out loud.

Yes, he had to put things right even if it earned him eternal hatred. He didn’t mind grovelling before both women to convey his apology. He would continue to ask for forgiveness for all the hurt he had caused his wife and his children and Ebika. He picked up his phone, drew a deep breath and dialled Ebika’s number.

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

Ebika burst into a happy dance when she ended Tolu’s call. Just some minutes ago she had been wallowing in self-pity and cursing herself for leaving Bina who was her bird in hand, and now Tolu wanted them to meet in one of the best hotels in town. That banished every form of regret and thought of Bina. She still felt bad though that Tolu ignored her all through yesterday and caused her sleepless night, his call had put her world back in order. To think that she had even called in sick and so had not gone to work because of how depressed she had been when she heard nothing from Tolu despite numerous calls. Hearing his voice reinvigorated her. She felt strengthened.

She dashed into the bathroom to quickly take her bath, then she dressed up in a lovely peach-coloured straight gown; an off-shoulder gown that would show-off her delicate bone structure. She removed the hair rollers from her weave-on and combed lightly. Curls fell about her neck causing a silky bob. She flipped it, and it gave a gracious bounce and settled around her neck again. She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled back at her reflection. She liked what she saw and was sure Tolu would like it too. He would once again know that she was the only one for him as he was the only one for her. She slipped her feet into her silver-coloured low heel sandal and strapped it lightly around her ankle, then she picked up a silver purse to match. As she swayed out of the house, she felt certain all would be well because she had chosen the right man.

Her confidence waned when she got to the room that Tolu had told her he would be. She had expected romantic atmosphere with flowers and all, at least they were meeting in a hotel room, but she had not seen any of that. Tolu had asked her in without coming to answer the door and he had greeted her with a brief smile from his position beside the window with arms across his chest.  There had been no hug or sweet words. He just asked her how was she was doing and if she didn’t have difficulty coming down. He sounded more boring than Bina at that moment. He seemed to prefer looking out the window than talking to her.

When ten minutes passed and no meaningful word had passed between them, Ebika spoke up.

“What is going on?” She asked, feeling the first rush of anger. “If you knew you so loved what is beyond that window then you shouldn’t have called me here. You could just stay and enjoy the view on your own. I can’t imagine leaving my house to come and watch you looking out of the window.” She bit her bottom lip to reign in her anger. “You haven’t even apologized for what you did yesterday.” She added.

Tolu moved away from the window and came to sit in front of her. “I’m sorry, Ebika, so sorry.” He told her in a sombre tone.

Ebika? Tolu just called her by her name and not the sweet names she had gotten used to. An alarm went off in her head. She looked closely at him and noticed his uncombed hair and roughed jaw. She became worried when she saw the circles under his eyes. What was happening?

“Ebika, I’m really sorry,” Tolu repeated.

“It’s okay.” She answered, clasping and unclasping her fingers on her laps.

Tolu got up and came to kneel before her. She looked at him, mouth agape. “What is the meaning of this?” She asked. She looked down at her finger and saw the engagement ring he gave her still there. What then was the reason for him kneeling before her?

“Ebika, I’ve kept some…” he coughed a little. “I should have told you this long ago, but I thought it would affect our relationship and I wanted you by my side.”

Ebika waited with bated breath, her heart beating against her chest like a sea against a rock. A sudden feeling of unease crept up her back.

“Forgive me, Ebika. Please forgive me”

“Just tell me and get over it.” She told him in a tension-filled tone.

“I have a…” he hesitated.

Ebika pulled his hand. “Let it out, Tolu.” She urged, trying not to sound desperate.

He let out a breath. “I have a wife and… and two children.” He said quickly looking away from her.

Shock slapped her across her face. She pulled away opening and closing her mouth. She placed a hand over her trembling lips. How could it be? A wife? Two children? Was that the reason why he invited her to a place like this to shatter her heart? Unbidden tears filled her eyes and started rolling down her cheek.

“How could you?” She cried. “How could you do this to me, Tolu?”

“Ebika, I’m sorry. I had to let you know.”

She wiped her tears with the back of her palm. “Where are they?” She asked.

“My wife and our children are with a friend since I… I sent them packing a couple of months back.” He shifted his eyes from her.

Ebika shook her head. What had she gotten herself into? Tolu was married. All the while he was with her he had a wife and children, and yet he had behaved as if she meant the world to him. He had been playing her and had proposed marriage? What would happen to his wife and children if she decides to go on with him? Could she really bear tearing down a home just to get her heart desire? A lump formed in her throat. She pressed a hand to it as if to push down the lump. She waited for Tolu to speak but he didn’t. He just kept staring at the door behind her.

“What do we do now?” Ebika inquired a sober tone.

Tolu looked at her. The look in his eyes didn’t assure her that he had a favourable solution to what had become a very tangled web. Her heart that started beating earlier just before he dropped the bombshell of his wife and his children doubled its beat. Tolu touched her hand.

“I hope you can forgive me, Ebika. I never meant to hurt you. I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Ebika pulled her hand away from his. “You didn’t mean but you hurt me still.” She replied.

“I thought about everything deeply. Ebika,” He called softly taking her hand again in a firm grasp. “Please forgive me.”

She tried to pull free again, but Tolu held on fast. “Let me plead my case.” He pleaded. After a while, Ebika stopped struggling with him. He sighed. “Ebika, what we shared in school was special and what we felt was real. I can’t deny that fact. Meeting you again was like giving an alcoholic drink to a man who has sworn never to take alcohol again. I couldn’t resist the fire you sparked in me when I saw you again. I got drunk with you and I had to explore this feeling. And I did. We both couldn’t deny the fire burning in us and it led us to this point. All I wanted was you…” He let go of her hand and placed his hands on his face.

“But…” Ebika chipped in.

Tolu dropped his hands on his laps. “But we… we can’t be together. Everything had been a fantasy, Ebika. My wife and my children are my reality and I love them dearly. I realized everything we’ve done has been on memories of our past together. I have come to know how much my wife means to me and I hope to win her again. I am truly sorry for everything. I don’t mind grovelling before you both for the rest of my life just to ask for forgiveness. Ebika,” He leaned towards her. “Forgive me.”

Tears filled Ebika’s eyes and ran down her cheeks like a fountain. It was difficult to gather her thoughts. She looked at Tolu but couldn’t even see him right before her because her tears blinded her. Her head started pounding. She placed her arms around her body and rocked it side to side. Mucus flowed out of her nostrils and mixed with her tears spilling down her lips.

“Ebika,” Tolu called her in a panicky tone. He held her by the shoulders and shook her a little. “Ebika.”

“You… you… you are going back to your wife?” She forced the words out in a shaky tone.

Tolu let her go, releasing a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry, Ebika.”

She fell on the floor, her eyes rolling in their sockets. Nothing made sense to her. Her head kept bobbing to an unknown music. Her whole body shook convulsively. Tolu rushed to her in a full panic mood. He placed a hand under her head and called her name. She couldn’t respond as her tongue was heavy with the same heaviness in her heart. When he got no response from her, he carried her and ran out of the room down to the parking lot where his car was parked. Between the room and the parking lot, her senses came back to her. She opened her eyes and stared at Tolu. It was all clear to her: Tolu was leaving her. He was going back to his wife. Anger like a raging fire welled up inside of her. She pushed his chest and he set her on her feet.

“Ebika, I’m sorry. Please for…”

She silenced him with a slap across his cheek. Tolu staggered looking dazed. She straightened her dress and walked away from him with the pride she had no more. He called her severally but she didn’t look back. She had no more business with him. What she felt didn’t end back in school had finally ended, and she had the scars now to show for it. The scars that would last for eternity had been caused by her. If she had not been carried away she wouldn’t be where she was. She cried hard as she as she made her way out of the hotel. She didn’t mind the curious glances or stares of the people she passed on the way. They didn’t know the pain in her heart. They didn’t know what it meant to see a light and still choose to walk into darkness. She had run from the light complaining of his dullness and chased after a bright light that was just a mirage. Just that morning she had thought all was alright. It was just past midday and her world had turned upside down. Who will hear her story and not laugh at her? Who will hear her story and not put the blame on her? Oh, tongues that would wag! Oh, lips that would sing her mockery. Oh, fingers that will point at her as a warning to erring youth. She had paid the drummer and now she must dance to his beats.

The pain in her heart became unbearable. She clutched her chest and leaned against a tree few metres from the hotel. Fresh tears filled her eyes again and came running down like a stone on a sloppy hill. Oh God! Oh, God! She wept. She thought of the days she would walk in the darkness she had created for herself and prayed for a little light to ease her darkness. She thought of Bina and Doubara. Their laughter would hurt her the most. While she wallowed in sorrow, pain, and darkness, they would be joyful and would progress.

Just a little light, oh Lord. Just a little light I pray. She bent down and wept. How long she stayed like that she couldn’t tell until a hand touched her. She looked into the concerned eyes of a man.

“Young woman, what is the matter?” He asked.

She said nothing and just kept staring at him. He smiled at her and stretched a hand to her. “Come, let me help you.”

She stared at his hand for a few heartbeats and then she placed hers in his. As he pulled her up and led her to a car parked across the gutter, she sent a silent prayer to heaven within her. ‘I’m not asking for a lot, oh Lord, for I don’t deserve it. All I ask for is a little light.’ She prayed for a light to walk down the dark tunnel that had become her life. Whether she would get it or not she couldn’t tell.

THE END.

Dear Readers,

It’s been a great time writing the story of Tolu and Ebika. I hope you liked it. I trust you also learned one or two things from it. Thank you for your time. God bless you for going on this journey with me. If you have truly enjoyed Old Flame, please don’t just read this episode; drop your reviews. I REALLY need them. My next story is titled LOVE QUEST. It will be on the blog soon. Just keep in touch.

To end this, please answer this question: Who deceived who? Tolu or Ebika?

P.S: Answering the question doesn’t take the place of your review.  If you think I’ve done a good work, then let me hear it. Until next time, keep reading.

Faith P.I

 

 

Old Flame Ep 20

Hey, guys! Thanks for your patience. This is the first part of the final episode of Old flame. The concluding part will be on the blog on Thursday. Happy reading!

Episode Twenty

His phone was ringing again. Tolu raised his eyes and noticed the Permanent Secretary looking at him. His hands were on the table and he must have felt the phone’s vibration. It was the fourth time it was ringing in ten minutes. That did not include the previous times it rang before the meeting commenced formally. He pressed the end button, but not before he checked the caller ID. He sighed when he saw it. Ebika was making him uncomfortable. All the calls he had received in the last hour had been from her. It annoyed him more to think that he told her he had an important meeting to attend with some stakeholders that would boost his business connections. He didn’t expect her to be calling so much. He picked the phone from the table and dropped it in his pocket. He smiled at the Perm Sec and nodded a few times to one of the businessmen giving analysis on economic growth.

Five minutes passed. He sighed with relief. Oh, sweet peace! He muttered within. His phone hadn’t vibrated. Ebika must have gotten the message that he couldn’t take her call. His mind was more focused on the deliberations now. Just when he was all set to contribute, his phone started vibrating in his pocket. Almost as a reflex action, he quickly looked at his pocket as he stood up. His hand held the offending phone in his trouser pocket. He heard a loud sigh, and didn’t have to look up to know who had sighed. He couldn’t mistake his voice even when they had spoken to each other for the first time couple of months ago. The voice could break through the strongest heart and leave you shivering. If he hadn’t created a gap between Chris and him, he would have invited him to come with him. Now, he waited for that voice to tell him off.

“Mr Smooth, why don’t you go outside to answer your call?” He said gently.

The undertone was apparent.

Tolu gave a polite nod. “Thank you, sir.” He replied.

He took long strides and walked out of the hall. He was grateful for the venue of the meeting. Unique Hotel could handle the mood he was in. He was very furious with Ebika, and he needed to cool off.

He walked down the stairs and straight out of the doors, waiting for her to call again. He drew a deep breath when he stepped outside. He lifted his palm and used it as a fan to cool his burning face. It wasn’t like the weather was hot. In fact, the meeting hall had good air conditions, but he couldn’t stop the heat that crept up his body each time he saw Ebika’s call. It was almost like he had a choking chain around his neck. He ran a hand over his neck as if to be sure he didn’t truly have a chain around it.

He sighed when his hand fell to his side. Ebika was becoming too tenacious. She suddenly felt all clingy to him. The same Ebika that was playing hard to get sometimes back. What had changed? Was a ring that powerful? He shut his eyes tightly and imagined himself having no worries at all. He tried a smile to back up the imagination, but it didn’t work. He ended up with a deep frown when he opened his eyes. Just then, a couple walked past him hand-in-hand, smiling into each other’s eyes. Before he could pronounce doom on their love, two boys of about ten rolled two boxes past him. They wore identical Tees and Shorts. One ran ahead and called to the couple. They stopped and called back to him, then both boys ran to meet up with them at the entrance.

Tolu shook his head sadly. He wanted a family just like theirs. Truth was he had that few months back but he threw away what he had for what he was beginning to doubt. Eladebi’s patience, kind-and-loving heart could never be matched. It was why he hadn’t found it difficult to marry her back when she became pregnant for him. At the face of threats and challenges, she had stood her ground against forcing anything on him, and when he had agreed to marry her, she hadn’t become overtly possessive or vengeful. She had seen it all as a partnership. He had offered her his shoulders for tears and his strength for her weakness when she felt she couldn’t go on, especially when the mockery became worse. Those days had been filled with more tears than laughter, but they had grown through it and built a loving relationship. What drew his heart closer to Eladebi back then was her kindness. Not once did she accuse him for ruining her life. She loved him with the whole of her heart. How he could now pay her with such cruelty was beyond him. Tolu tried to imagine Ebika in similar situation and doing the same thing, but he couldn’t. Ebika would not have taken things as Eladebi had taken them. While she had her own good sides, Tolu doubted patience to be one of her virtues. Eladebi on her part had all he wanted. Just as that line of thought flittered into his heart, his eyes grew big in realization. The realization of what Eladebi meant to him and what he felt for her filled his darkened heart with light.

He staggered. “What am I doing?” He asked aloud.

Making a fool of yourself, a small voice responded within him.

He placed both palms on either side of his cheeks. His phone rang just then. He guessed the caller again. It was Ebika. He stared at her image but made no attempt to answer the call. Few seconds after the call ended, he received a message notification. He hesitated for a few heartbeats before checking it.

“I hope you’re not ignoring my calls because of another lady right there. You promised to love me alone and that is what I expect. Don’t you dare break my heart after all I gave up for you. Let’s finalize the plans for our wedding. The sooner the better. Love you.”

While he was used to the first statement in the text message, the others laid a heavy burden on his heart. He had made a big mess and he had no way of getting out of it. There was no way he would repair all he had done without hurting Ebika. She would hate him for life. He could just go on with her. But that would mean cutting off from his children forever. He couldn’t bear that. He scratched his head vigorously. I need help. Oh, Lord, help me. He muttered within.

“Tolu.” Someone called from behind.

The voice sounded familiar. He turned around slowly and saw Christopher, hands in his pocket standing a few feet from him. Tolu’s eyes widened in surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Old Flame Ep 19

Welcome back, friends. Did I take too long before posting this episode? Yes! I’m sorry about that. Enjoy this episode. The end is near.

Episode Nineteen

 From the moment Ebika saw Bina and Doubara together she knew she would approach them. She couldn’t imagine letting them go without showing off her engagement ring. It would surely put them in their places after all the bad things they have said about her. She had been the object of ridicule since her breakup with Bina became an open secret. People had taken Bina’s side. None had considered that she had a right to her own choice of man. Some have even declared doom. How they got to know that she was involved with another man did not surprise her at all. Doubara had told them all. It was her turn for payback. The rejected stone has become the chief cornerstone. She smiled as she looked down on her ring finger. Bina had not even given her a wrist bangle not to mention a ring. Now she had a gold engagement ring.

Her smile grew wider as she approached them. She swayed her hips as she took step after step. She shook her left fingers as she moved past rows of seats to cover the distance between her and Bina and Doubara. From the corner of her eyes, she saw one girl tap the other and pointed to her as she walked past them. It made her giggle. She was on top of her game, and she would shine like they have never seen.

Bina saw her first because he was facing her. Doubara didn’t see her immediately. She had her back to her. Bina abrupt silence caused her to turn back. She followed Bina’s gaze and trailed it to Ebika. Doubara’s face reflected her displeasure. It matched Bina’s face too.

Their cool stares didn’t deter her. She was on a mission, and she would carry it out successfully. No one would put her down. She had what she had always wanted: the love of the man she adored, financial security, a good house and wonderful companionship. Bina could never meet up with that in years if she had to wait for him. She was grateful she didn’t have to.

When she finally got to them, she put up a very bright smile and spoke in a musical voice, “Hello, guys,” she greeted.

“Hi, Ebika,” Doubara replied. Her voice wasn’t welcoming.

Bina kept silent. He just kept staring at her coolly.

Ebika didn’t mind his reaction. It made her happy instead that she could bring such emotion in him.  She regretted that she had a short weave-on. A long weave-on would have given her the opportunity to toss her hair over her shoulder and show off all Bina was missing. She tried her best to charm them both.

“I saw you standing together and I decided to come and give you a wonderful news.” She said in a cherry tone.

Bina and Doubara waited for the news. She smiled. Their lack of interest would not stop her.

“The big news is…” She met their eyes one after the other and then continued, “I got engaged!” She shrieked in delight, shoving her left hand in their faces.

Bina drew back. He regarded her for a few seconds, shook his head and walked away without saying a word.

Ebika’s smile slipped.

Doubara shook her head too and turned to take her leave too. Ebika’s hand shot out and held her in place.

“Won’t you say anything?” She questioned Doubara, sounding desperate.

Doubara unwrapped her fingers around her wrist and looked her straight in the eyes. “You’re engaged, good for you.” She said with a sly smile, then she walked away.

Ebika watched her departing back and felt the first slash of shame wash over her. It wasn’t payback; it was pay off. Bina and Doubara had brought her low. She hadn’t seen any pain in Bina’s eyes when he looked at her engagement ring. She had seen pity instead. Did he pity her? Worried lines creased her forehead. Why should he pity her? He should be sad that he had lost her. He should be ashamed that he wasn’t man enough to keep her.

And what about Doubara?

Her friend had neither been jealous nor pained as she had expected her to be. Instead, she had made her feel like she just signed a wrong deal.

Ebika shook herself. Why couldn’t Doubara see that she had taken the best decision? She pondered on this as she walked back to where she left her bag with less grace.

She picked up her bag and slugged it over her shoulder. She walked slowly out of the church auditorium. She took no notice of the youths who stood in groups at the entrance discussing. Her mind was filled with Bina and Doubara.

Her thoughts didn’t ease as she prepared her dinner when she got home. She placed her hand on the counter in the kitchen and thought some more about it. Why she couldn’t push it off her mind she couldn’t tell. She closed her eyes and tried to conjure all the qualities she loved in Tolu that Bina didn’t have. They seemed inconsequential as she thought about it. She thought of her motive for accepting Tolu next. She tried to assure herself that it was because of the deep love she had for him and how he made her feel, but something in her wouldn’t agree with that.

Her forehead puckered. She turned her engagement ring in her finger. She forgot about the rice she had on the fire as thoughts after thoughts unfolded in her heart. She didn’t know how long she stayed that way until she started coughing. She turned around and noticed the fumes from the pot of rice was filling the kitchen. She turned off the cooker in quickly, coughing profusely. Douye came running in.

“What happened?” Douye asked, coughing too.

Ebika coughed some more and pointed towards the door. They left the kitchen in a dash. When they got to the living room, they both gulped fresh air.

“What happened?” Douye asked again.

“I don’t know. I guess I turned off from the kitchen for a while and that was the result.” Ebika explained, remembering where her mind had been before the rice started burning.

Douye eyed her suspiciously. “What are you thinking about?” She quizzed.

Ebika let out a long sigh. She plopped into a couch and fixed her eyes on the door. “I saw Bina and Doubara together.” She said simply.

Douye raised an eyebrow in a what-about-it fashion. “So?”

Ebika turned to her slowly. “They seem to be dating now.” She told her, screwing up her face in displeasure.

Douye smiled. “Good for them. They fit each other.” She took the seat opposite Ebika. “But, why do you look bothered?”

Ebika got up, crossed her arms over her chest and started pacing. “I should be happy for them. I should be relieved that Bina has found someone, but I’m not. I’m filled with jealousy, anger, that Doubara took my place so quickly. It simply means she was eyeing Bina while we were together. She wanted him for herself. She was just waiting for me to get out of the way.” She stated, her face twisting with anger.

Douye gaped at her. She could not say anything.

“Don’t look at me like that, Douye,” Ebika said, looking down at her where she sat. “I know what I feel right here.” She touched her chest. “How could they have gotten together so fast after our breakup?”

Douye blinked. “Did they tell you they are dating now?”

Ebika huffed. “They didn’t tell me, but it is quite obvious they are. I could read in between the lines. Even when I announced my engagement, they were not even moved by it.”

“But you have Tolu now. He is far better than Bina.” Douye reminded her.

“I know, but Bina seems so loving with Doubara. He was never like that with me. Why didn’t he do that with me? Maybe I wouldn’t have broken up with him. I don’t want him showing the kind of love he didn’t show to me to another lady.” Ebika pouted.

Douye let out a breath. “Ebika, I know I advised you to go for the best and you chose Tolu, but you have to let Bina go. If his happiness is with Doubara, then don’t fight it. What he does with his life shouldn’t concern you anymore. Tolu is the one for you, and he loves and adores you. Bina has nothing to offer you.”

Ebika dropped back into her seat. “You’re right again, Douye. I shouldn’t concern myself with Bina. It doesn’t matter if my heart feels jealous that he is with my ex-best friend. I have the best, and that is Tolu. He is all I want. I will love and cherish him forever.” A smile lit up her face. She sat up straight. “Thanks, Douye.” She touched her leg slightly. “You just got me back on track. For a while, I was doubting my decision to be with Tolu, but you made me see everything clearly. Who will have Tolu and choose Bina?” She laughed a little.

Douye shrugged. “I wonder.” She replied. “Enjoy your life, dearest Coz.”

Ebika nodded and settled back in her chair. Her eyes drifted closed as loving thoughts of Tolu filled her heart.

Photo Credit: Google images