Old Flame Ep 18

Episode Eighteen

 Tolu stood in front of the dress mirror and adjusted his tie. He was getting set to meet with Ebika for a dinner date. It was the fifth dinner they were having in the four weeks they’ve been together. He had learned fast that he couldn’t meet up with the demands of the kitchen and so he had chosen one of his favourite restaurants where they could be served and treated right. He didn’t have to worry about the dirty dishes in the sink anymore, or cleaning the kitchen.

If Ebika wanted to be entertained, he was equipped for that. He would pamper her as he should have done back then. He would treat her like the queen she was. It was her right to be treated right by him. His only regret was letting go of fresh home-made meals. Eladebi took pride in cooking for him and the children. She hardly subscribed to eating out. He had also gotten used to having his meals at home until he decided Eladebi was no longer an interesting companion during meals.

He shook his head. Were things so bad with her? He had no answer for the question that filtered into his heart. All he could say was that he was with Ebika and would make the most of it. The feelings he had for her were genuine and he would explore it as much as he can to secure his happiness. Eladebi was getting to understand that now. He finally told her the truth about the state of his heart towards her and his affections for Ebika when her calls and text messages won’t stop coming in. He told her he had moved on and someone else was in his life now. Her reaction had been a deep sigh. She sent a message after that to tell him the usual since their separation: she was praying for him.

He raked a hand through his hair. Her resilience baffled Tolu. Her never-say-die spirit caused him moments of guilt. She had even offered to bring the children to see him, but he declined. Though he missed them greatly, he couldn’t stand bridging the gap just yet. His emotions were still raw where they were concerned. He hoped they would understand too. His relationship with Ebika had sailed smoothly so far. It was time to dissolve the marriage between him and Eladebi. That way, she would stop being hopefully, especially with his plans for dinner that day.

A smile curved his lips, wiping off the worried lines that gathered there. He dipped his hand into his pocket and cradled the jewel box he had purchased the day before. He brought it out of his pocket and clicked it open. In the middle of the box sat a golden engagement ring. He was ready to pop the question. Excitement flowed through him like electric currents. It was the first time he would be doing that. He didn’t ask Eladebi to marry him. They just agreed it was the right thing to do considering the situation they were in then.

His smile grew wider.

Everything was turning around for him. He had fallen in love again, in fact more deeply than the first time, and he was fortunate to fall in love over and over again with the same woman.

He slid the box back into his pocket. He would ensure that the evening was one of Ebika’s best in her life.

He applied his hair cream to his hair and combed it to a fine sheen. He winked at his reflection. “You are the man.” He said. He picked his car keys and left the bedroom. Just as he prepared to step into his car, the gateman ran to the gate at the loud honking from outside the gate. Tolu watched as he confirmed who was at the gate, then he pushed open the gate.

The red car that drove in belonged to Christopher. His excitement seemed to vanish with the evening breeze. He shut his car door and waited for him to alight.

Christopher alighted and made his way to him. Tolu refused to close the distance between them. He stood where he was, right beside his car with his one hand resting on the car and the other in his pocket.

“Hi, Tolu.” Chris greeted with a smile.

“Hi.” Tolu answered, forcing his lips to smile in return.

Chris’ eyes swept over him. “Is it a wrong time?” He inquired.

Tolu sighed. It wouldn’t be a lie if he told him it was, but his relationship with Chris had gone beyond that level; notwithstanding their disagreement about a month ago. Chris must have the same thick skin as his wife because he also didn’t give up the calls and messages even when he didn’t reply his calls, nor acknowledge his messages. It was no big surprise that Chris visited the house. He knew he would soon show up to follow up his ignored calls and messages. He looked into the eyes of his friend now.

“It’s okay. I have some time to spare.” He replied coolly.

Chris looked towards the house. Tolu didn’t rise to the bait. Inviting Chris in would elongate whatsoever he wanted to say. It was better to let him feel he was delaying him. When he didn’t make any move to invite him to the house, Chris sighed and started out with why he was there.

“You haven’t been picking my calls, Tolu.” He said. “Are things that bad between us?” He asked, flashing yet another smile.

Tolu’s expression dulled. He looked away from Chris. “No.” He croaked. It wasn’t the entire truth, but he wouldn’t tell him that. He still didn’t want him to interfere in his relationship with Ebika. His eyes went back to Chris. “Listen, Chris, I know you mean well, but I know what is best for me. Ebika is my life and I can’t change how I feel because you have taken it upon yourself to tell me how wonderful Eladebi is.” A muscle in his jaw twitched as he spoke. He tried to soften the harshness in his tone with a smile but his lips refused to cooperate.

Chris smiled, seemingly unaffected by his harsh tone. He was a man on a mission and he would deliver the message he had for Tolu even if he barred him from his house and office.

“Tolu,” he started in a friendly tone. Let him hear, Oh Lord, he prayed in his heart. “I don’t want you to see me as an enemy. I don’t want you to think that I don’t have your interest at heart. We’ve been friends for years, and I love you like a brother. I would not want you to make a terrible mistake.”

Tolu’s nose flared at that. Chris raised his hand to stop the words that were just on the tip of Tolu’s lips. He was certain they were not compliments.

“I’m not trying to paint Ebika as a bad person. In fact, she is a victim because I know she is not aware of your marital status.” Chris challenged. Tolu’s eyes went straight to his feet. His earlier bravado was nowhere in sight. A knowing smile curved Christopher’s lips. “You’re not just hurting one person, Tolu, but two. You’re hurting Eladebi, who is your lawfully wedded wife under God and the law, and Ebika, who is unsuspecting of your secret.”

“She will forgive me. I know she will. I want nothing to do with Eladebi. Ebika is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Tolu informed him in an unsteady voice.

Chris gave a nod. “You have said that over and over again. I really want to believe Ebika will forgive you when she knows what you’re hiding, but that’s not why I am here. I just want you to know that you’re destroying someone’s self-esteem. You’re putting her down and chewing her out. Think of the damage you’re doing to your wife: physical, emotional, mental and social damages. You think she is so strong and she won’t break. She is holding on by a thin thread. What about your children, Tolu? This love you feel for Ebika is it worth giving up the love and respect of your children. Can you withstand their hatred and disrespect for life? Above all, Tolu, think of God’s words on this. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the almighty God. Eladebi’s strength is in God. Don’t wait until He fights for her. Fight for her and the love God blessed you both with. Fight for your children and the future God has designed for you all. Had I known is the father of I don’t care.” He placed a hand on Tolu’s shoulder and patted it lightly. “Do the right thing, Tolu.” He turned away and walked briskly to his car.

For several seconds after Chris’ departure, Tolu couldn’t move. His heart thumped loudly in his chest. The words of Chris kept replaying in his head. It was just like a song.

Fight for her and the love God blessed you both with.

Fight for your children and the future God has designed for you all.

Do the right thing, Tolu.

Do the right thing, Tolu.

Do the right thing, Tolu.

He placed his hands over his head. “No! I won’t listen to you, Chris. I won’t allow your words enter my heart. I will marry Ebika, and love and cherish her forever.” He said out loud, his eyes shut tightly. He repeated this a couple of times until he felt a hand on his elbow. His eyes flew open, staring into the worried eyes of the gateman.

“Oga, are you alright?” The gateman asked.

Tolu dropped his hands, and then he straightened his suit. “Yes, yes, I am fine.” He answered with a straight face. “Go and open the gate.”

The gateman nodded and went to do as he was told.

Tolu’s mind was preoccupied with Christopher’s words as he drove down to the restaurant. His enthusiasm for the evening had fizzled out. He was almost not looking forward to it. He thought of calling Ebika and putting off their date, but he couldn’t. He was already late as it was and couldn’t disappoint her further by calling off the date.

He drew into the parking lot of the restaurant and took his time getting down. The bright light of the restaurant seem to hurt his eyes. He looked across the road instead where people moved up and down, vehicles moved down the road. He suddenly felt like the burden of the whole world was on his shoulders.

How ironic that he wasn’t looking forward to his date with Ebika. It used to be Eladebi before. He would prepare to stay out than to be in her company.

You love Ebika. Your discomfort is as a result of what Chris said. It’s not about you. It’s about Chris’ stubbornness. He doesn’t want you to be happy. A voice whispered in his heart.

He sat up straight. Yes, Chris is the one making me uncomfortable, and not Ebika. I will go and have a good time with her, he told himself. He pushed a smile through his tight lips and got down from the car. He moved with more confidence this time.

Ebika was already waiting when Tolu arrived. Her face was drawn in a deep frown. He rushed forward and took her hand.

“I’m so sorry, Ebika.” He apologized. “I was delayed.” He added.

Ebika eased her hands away from his. “Delayed? You should have called me.” She bawled at him. “I’ve been here for almost thirty minutes now. Is this the love you feel for me? Is this the way you want to treat me? How are you different from the person I broke up with?” Angry words spewed out of her mouth.

Tolu drew away from her as if she hit him. He opened and closed his mouth. He couldn’t believe his eyes or ears. Ebika’s eyes were spitting fire. He stared at her.

“Tolu, stop staring at me like that. I accepted you because I feel you were better than my ex. If you start treating me this way, I’ll not be happy I didn’t get a fair deal after all. I love you and you know it.” She stood and gave him a light hug.

Tolu’s eyes remained surprised but he returned her hug. “I love you and you know it too. I just got delayed.”

Ebika flashed a smile. The smile lightened his troubled heart. He felt his world become right again. Ebika loved him. She was only angry because he was late. He would not do the same thing she did. He would not compare her to Eladebi. Eladebi would have won the round of comparison because she would never have reacted that way to him. He would not think of the numerous times he kept her waiting and instead of confronting him, she was concerned for his safety and well-being. The times he had given reasons for his lateness, she had accepted it without reading him the riot act. He would only think of this time with Ebika and what he planned to do. He would think of ways to love her so much that she would forget about her ex. At least he had scored a point in their last date when she praised his generosity and told him her ex hardly gave gifts. Tonight, he would score the greatest point.

He took his seat in front of Ebika and commended her look. She basked in his compliment, eyes sparkling. He was once again drawn to her. She was a beautiful one, and he wanted that beauty to be with him for keeps. He ran his eyes over her red-laced off-shoulder blouse. Her hair fell around her neck. A necklace adorned her delicate neck. He touched her cheek lightly.

“You’re the best thing to have happened to me.” He commended.

“Thank you.” She said in a musical voice, fluttering her lashes.

“I have a big surprise for you.” He told her.

“Really?” She inquired, eyes glowing.

Tolu touched the tip of her nose. “After the meal.”

Ebika couldn’t quell the excitement that bubbled within her. She couldn’t even eat so much. Tolu took his time eating. He kept giving her teasing looks. Her heart was full. When she felt she would explode she touched Tolu’s hand.

“I can’t keep it in again. Please tell me the surprise.”
Tolu gave a hearty laugh. He set down his fork. “Don’t you want dessert?” He asked instead, his eyes dancing.

Ebika held his hand in a grip. “Tell me, tell me, Tolu. I can’t stand this excitement anymore.”

“Okay.” Tolu agreed. He pushed his chair back and went on bended knees. Immediately he did this, Ebika jumped up, covering her face.

Tolu pulled out the box from his pocket. “Ebika, make me a complete man. Be my better half.”

“Yes!” She shrieked in delight. “Oh, yes, Tolu. You don’t know how much I’ve waited for this.” She stretched her finger and he slid the ring into it. She flew into his arms after that.

People around the restaurant applauded them. Congratulations flew from all angles. Faces beamed with smiles. Ebika had the biggest smile. He had a smile too, but he just didn’t know why his heart was twinging instead of rejoicing.

 

I guess we should say congratulations to Tolu and Ebika.The journey to forever has started.

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Old Flame EP 16

​ Hey, friends! Welcome back. In this episode, friendships hit rock bottom, loyalty is tested, someone’s heart is broken, and someone gained his “freedom”. Happy reading! 

 Episode Sixteen
The morning was not going the way he had anticipated just before leaving the house. The sun had given way to dark clouds, and thunder rumbled in the sky. It gave him a bad feeling. What if Ebika changes her mind? What if the guy goes back to beg her and she agrees? What would happen to him? The questions made him afraid. The same fear that had stopped him from calling Ebika. He kept having a gut feeling that something was wrong. As wrong as his work was going that morning. 
“Argh!” He eyed the files on his desk with displeasure. What he needed was a relief from the tension building up in him. 

He picked up his briefcase and searched for Ebika’s picture. What would be good was to frame it and put it on his desk. He smiled at that while his hand went beneath the papers in his briefcase. He didn’t feel the soft texture of the picture. He took out all the papers in his briefcase and dumped them on the already congested table. He didn’t even notice that the papers had covered what he had been working on. 

Precious minutes flew by while he searched for Ebika’s picture. What if he had left it at home? He panicked at that thought, gritting his teeth. Eladebi would find out everything. His mind went all over all that happened before he left the house that morning. His memory of that morning was still fresh so it didn’t take him long before he remembered he had hurriedly dropped the picture on the floor and quickly picked it up when Eladebi knocked on the bedroom’s door. He also remembered dropping the picture in his briefcase before leaving the house. It should be in his briefcase, but he couldn’t find it. 

His mind whirled around when he thought of Ebika’s picture getting into the wrong hands. Twin lines appeared on his forehead. Knowing that he had her pictures on his phone did not comfort his heart. The picture was a reminder of the deep love they shared in the past. A past that must be recreated to make their love story more romantic and magical. That would not be if he didn’t find the picture soon. Eladebi could even be looking at it at that moment, placing all the curses of infidelity upon him. 

“Oh no.” He exclaimed in deep frustration. His hands moved through the files on the table.

A knock sounded on the door.

He stopped mid-action and contemplated inviting whoever was knocking in. It bothered him that his secretary didn’t call to inform him that he had a visitor.

The knock sounded again.

He stood up straight, but made no move of inviting the visitor in. While he stared, the door knob turned and the door opened to reveal Christopher. Tolu gaped at him.

Christopher walked into the office with an envelope in his hands. He took in Tolu’s scattered table and his surprised face. 

“I take it you were looking for this.” Chris said, stretching the envelope.

Tolu regarded it with suspicion-filled eyes. He didn’t make to take the envelope. What’s that?” He asked.

Chris let out a dramatic sigh. “What you are looking for.” He replied, fixing cold eyes on Tolu. His usual smile was nowhere in sight.

This did not go unnoticed by Tolu. He became more wary of what the envelope contained. When he made no move to take the envelope and kept regarding it with suspicion, Chris got tired and opened the envelope. He pulled out a photograph and flashed it in Tolu’s face.

“Is this what you were looking for?” He asked with as much disgust as he could muster.

Tolu winced when he got a clear view of whose photograph it was. He heaved a sigh of relief, happy that his early thoughts about the location of the picture had been wrong: the picture was not with Eladebi but with Chris.

“Yes.” He answered, trying to match Chris’ icy tone. He crossed his arms across his chest.

Chris slammed the picture against his desk. Files jumped up and fell to the ground. Tolu jerked right where he was. His eyes mirrored his disbelief as he stared at ‘the new’ Chris.

“I’m so disappointed in you, Tolu. Why did you get yourself involved in extramarital affair?” He challenged.

Tolu shook his head like that could shake off his disbelief. “It’s not what you think, Chris.” He said, sinking into his chair.

Chris stood menacingly above him. “It’s not what I think, yet you have disrespected your wife so much. You have mistreated that poor woman. All for what, temporary pleasure? Think, my friend! Think, Tolu.”

Hot flash of anger rolled across Tolu’s face. He leaned forward, gripping the arms of the chair.  “You have no right to judge me. You are not in my heart and you don’t know what I feel in my heart. If you think you are a saint, good for you. I am not, and I will leave my life as it pleases my heart. You have no right to question me.”

The venom in Tolu’s tone caused Chris to back away from him. He couldn’t believe his ears. He just stood looking at Him. Tolu returned his stare, and a staring match ensued. Tolu looked away first, looking uncomfortable.

Chris heaved a sigh. “I don’t know where that came from, Tolu. I just want the best for you and your family.” He stated in a reconciliatory tone.

Tolu didn’t buy it. His face twisted in a frown. “I appreciate what you think you’re doing, but I don’t want you interfering in my family’s issue again.” Tolu emphasized family. He placed a hand on his chest. “What I feel right here is what is best for me and my family.” He picked up Ebika’s picture that Chris dropped on the table. “If you don’t mind, I’ll like to be alone now.”

Chris stood rooted to the ground, looking at Tolu like he had grown horns. Tolu lost interest in him and focused on Ebika’s picture. 

Few minutes passed. 

Tolu heard his door opened and closed. Chris was gone. He released the breath he had been holding.  Just as his taut muscles were relaxing from his confrontation with Chris, anger rushed through his body. 

Eladebi was going to get it from him when he got home.

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

Ebika was bent on evading questions from Doubara concerning her break up with Bina. They stood in Ebika’s room, facing each other. Doubara hadn’t stopped badgering her with questions since she got to the house half an hour ago. Ebika cursed Bina over and over again in her heart for running his mouth as she listened to yet another question from Doubara.

“Ebika, come out straight with me. What exactly made you break up with Bina and please don’t give me that ‘we’re-not-compatible’ story?” Doubara asked, fixing Ebika with serious eyes. 

Ebika rolled her eyes in a ‘here-we-go-again’ fashion. She dropped on her bed. “I told you already, Doubara. My heart has really drifted away from Bina. We can’t keep going on.” She responded, letting out a lazy yawn.

Doubara shook her head. “Ebika, why? Why would you do this to Bina? The guy was true to you. He loved you and gave his heart. Is this how you want to pay him back?” She challenged Ebika.

Ebika jumped up suddenly and stood in front of Doubara. She placed her hands on her waist. “You know what, Doubara, I am tired of hearing this. Bina this, Bina that. If you think he’s so good, why don’t you date him?” She countered in a tone heavy with sarcasm.

Doubara gasped, the colour draining from her face. Words got stuck in her throat. She had no response for Ebika.

Ebika continued. “That’s right, Doubara, go ahead and keep ‘Bina the awesome guy’ for yourself. I don’t even need his love anymore. I have someone else in my life now.” She flaunted arrogantly.

Doubara’s head bobbled up and down in understanding. “So you admit it now.” A wry smile played on her lips. “You finally admit that you left Bina because of that boyfriend from the past. Ebika, I hope you don’t regret this at the end. I’m happy for Bina though. God exposed your fair-weather love before he made a huge mistake.”

Ebika’s face lit up in anger. It didn’t stop Doubara from finishing what she had to say. “Let me leave you to your fantasies. I’ll cross my finger and wait for when you will wake up to reality. I just hope it won’t be harsh on you. Goodbye, Ebika.”  She walked briskly out of the room.

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

Tolu didn’t waste any time in his car as he had done often since he found Ebika. Today he had things to settle with Eladebi. He marched towards his house in purposeful strides. When Eladebi rushed to meet him at the door, he grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.

“Ouch!” She exclaimed in pain. “What is wrong, my love?” She questioned.

He dropped his suitcase and pulled Eladebi in front of him. “Where are the children?” He asked through gritted teeth. Their reaction to him the other day was still fresh in his memory. He would not want them to witness another unpleasant scene.

“They are playing games in the room.” She answered, forcing a smile.

Tolu was not moved by her smile. His mind was already set on what to do. “It’s good they’re engaged. I can address what I want to address without a guilt trip from them.”

Eladebi raised questioning eyes to him. Beneath the question hid her fear. He couldn’t see it though. 

“I’m tired of this farce we call a marriage, Eladebi. I’ve had it up to here with you.” He fired at her, putting to his neck. “I don’t even know how I ended up with you.”

Eladebi swallowed her shock. She shook it off her and tried to appease her angry husband. “My love, my husband, I don’t know what you are talking about. If I have done anything, I’m sorry.” She went on her kneels.

He drew close to her and shoved her to the ground, anger burning like hot coals in his eyes. “You are a worthless wife. What have you contributed to my life since I married you?” He demanded. Eladebi made to speak but he shut her up. “Shut up, woman! What do you have to say? You stay in my house, eat my food, wear the clothes and jewelleries you purchase with my own money, yet you can’t even try to be a good wife.”

Eladebi pushed herself up from the floor. Her eyes blazed with her own anger. “I’m really getting tired of this, Tolu. What have I not done as a wife to please you, yet you are not satisfied. I have also had it up to here with you.” She imitated his earlier gesture when he said the same thing to her.

Tolu clapped his hands, his mouth curving in a sneery smile. “I can see you have grown wings. Eladebi, you can now open your mouth and talk back at me right?” He said in a tone devoid of emotion.

Eladebi eyed him. “Don’t play the victim, Tolu. You know what you are doing.” She hissed. “You accused me now of not contributing anything to you, but when I said I wanted to work, to build a career, you stood firmly against it. Even Christopher could not convince you. You shouldn’t even bring that up right now. If there is something else, lay it bare. I’m tired of walking around on eggshells. I’m tired of my children asking me why their daddy is acting the way he is. I’m tired of the loneliness that permeates my soul regularly. I want to be happy.” A tear rolled down her cheek. She made no attempt to rub it off.  Another tear rolled down. 

Her tears did nothing to Tolu’s hardened heart. His state of mind could rival Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness towards the Israelites. He cast a hateful glance over Eladebi and poured out more hurtful words. “It’s good you are tired because I’m also tired of this loveless marriage. I don’t love you anymore. I’m tired of you running to Christopher with all our family problems. You can’t shut up and build your home. I wonder if you have not even told him when last we got intimate. I don’t want a basket-mouth for a wife. Get out of my life, Eladebi! I don’t want you anymore.” Tolu bellowed.

Eladebi broke into a loud sob. She came forward and knelt before him, wrapping her arms around his calves. “No, my husband, don’t say that. Please, let’s work things out.” She pleaded amidst her tears.

Tolu bent down and grabbed her shoulders firmly. “It’s over, Eladebi. Get out of my house!” He kicked her then.

She rolled back in pains. “What about our children?” She gasped, pressing her hands to her left side where Tolu’s leg connected with her body.

Tolu turned away from her. “Take them with you. When I’m over the damage you have done to me, I’ll come for them. For now, I don’t want to see you or the children.”

He walked out of the house. Eladebi’s tears of anguish traced his steps. He didn’t look back. 

Thanks for reading. I love to know what you think about Old flame. Please share your thoughts. It encourages me. Till next week, keep reading. Question of the week will come up on the 11th of September. Stay tuned! If you don’t know what it’s about, read up the post in Alert. 

Divorce me now! 

A message for soul sister. I need your response, friends.

This is my new song

This is my mantra

And I will keep repeating it until I get what I want.

I refuse to be married again.

I want my freedom from his deceit.

Soul Sister, he deceived me. I cannot continue this marriage of deceit. I have every right to leave.

Dear husband was a course mate back in the university. We were just friends.

DH was not in the class of guys I dated. He knew his bound and never overstepped it.

I even sampled his opinion on my guys. DH always gave sound opinions, and I liked him for it.

When he jokingly said he knew he couldn’t have me because of his financial status, I concurred.

Believe me, Soul Sister, I didn’t mean it.

Truly, I got good and expensive gifts from my guys. DH tutored me instead.

Then I met DH sometime back.

He could pass for a rock star. Where was the geek who I was comfortable befriending back then?

DH was a new man.

We connected to each other like a chain to a dog’s neck.

Our love was easy: two friends getting it right.

In a blink, our prints marked the aisle.

We got on the path of forever.

The glimmer and shimmer of her wedding was the talk of town.

But I discovered too soon we had more doom than bloom.

Where was the splendour he showed me while we courted?

Why was it difficult to get money for what we need?

Why did he wake up to his laptop instead of dressing up to the big consultant firm he told me about?

Where was the jeep that picked me often after work?

Why had the trips to top restaurants stopped?

My questions wouldn’t stopped, and DH confessed.

Nothing was as it seemed.

The glimmer was just a mirage; nothing was real.

Hey, DH deceived me.

But he wouldn’t see it as deceit. He said it was love.

Love for me all these years.

Love he couldn’t afford until he used his head.

Now, he had that love.

Soul Sister, I want out of this marriage.

DH married me with lies. I refuse to believe in his love.

What do you think?