Love Quest Ep 17 & 18

Don’t take a permanent decision for your temporary emotion. I guess this applies to both Laye and Tenisha: a friendship borne out of desperation and schemes;  a partnership heading for disaster. Enjoy these episodes, friends. Much Love.

Episode Seventeen

The calls kept coming and Laye kept avoiding them. Tenisha was tenacious and it was grating her nerves. She seemed more desperate now that weeks had gone by without any progress in their plans. Nothing seemed to have gone their way. She had lost her zeal to scheme. The chemistry that had developed between Karibo and her had fizzled out. They shared no pleasantries except mere work formalities. What she hated most was the grief she felt at losing his friendship. It felt as though her heart was shattered in pieces. She didn’t understand the feeling and had no one to share it. Everyone had sensed the cold distance between Karibo and her. None had asked what the problem was except Nimi. Of course she could not share the reason with anyone, much less Nimi.

But she still wasn’t ready to give up. She still wanted Ken. She still wanted his love and care. Nimi seemed to have gained more foothold with Ken because she confided in Laye the day before that Ken was taking her to see his uncle and aunt. That had revived her fighting spirit a little. She still had to do something. It was time to throw the cat among the pigeons.

She sighed deeply and picked up her phone. She dialled Tenisha’s number. Tenisha answered on the first ring.

“Laye, so you finally returned my calls. What exactly is happening?” She quizzed.

“Nothing. We’ve just been busy.” Laye replied calmly.

“But we had an agreement. I’ve been expecting info na.”

“I’m sorry for the break in transmission, but what I have is going to really halt things between them.” Laye stated.

“Really? Please tell me.” Tenisha pleaded.

“Ken will be taking Nimi to see his uncle next week Saturday.” She let the cat out of the bag.

“What?” Tenisha screamed across the line. “And you’re just telling me now? I can’t believe this.”

“Now you know. It’s now on you to do something about it.” She said disinterestedly.

“Oh, yes, I will do something.” She snapped at Laye.

Laye dropped the phone when she heard the click. All she had to do now was to wait for them to destroy themselves and she would come and feed on the spoils. A wicked gleam entered her eyes. Things were about to get very interesting.

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

Ken had expected a tense atmosphere but surprisingly things were calm. Aunt Nene seemed taken with Nimi and kept smiling appreciatively at her. Since they arrived couple of hours ago, she had said nothing negative. That was record-breaking because she couldn’t stay an hour without criticizing him for something. If visiting with Nimi had kept off her angry words, then he had chosen rightly. Nimi was his good luck charm.

He allowed this thought wash over him as he listened to his uncle’s stories of time past; stories about him and his wife. Aunt Nene’s smile bloomed out as her husband told their love story. Ken believed in the power of love then. If uncle Doutimi could see something to love about his… well, crazy aunt then love was strong indeed.

This pointed him to God’s love for His children. Despite the numerous faults in us all, God still loves us unconditionally. Though human love fails times without number counting each other’s flaws, God’s love remains unconditional. And the best part is when we love God, we enjoy the benefits of being His beloved. Just as he was enjoying it, Ken thought happily. Who would have thought his life would turn out like this. He was blessed indeed and was grateful to God for this. How else could he term all that had happened in his life from the time he encountered Christ through his roommate, Peter; his deliverance from Tenisha and the brand new life he now had with Nimi.

Yeah, the roads had been rocky but God had been with him all through and would continue to be with him. This was his assurance in Christ Jesus. The same assurance that Nimi shared. The same faith that dwelt richly in their hearts and continued to shine forth the light of Jesus.

Ken watched Nimi as she responded politely to uncle Doutimi. Her eyes gleamed with laughter as she listened to him. It went on and on until the discussion went to the advertising agency. The next minutes were spent discussing business until aunt Nene interrupted them.

“Enough, these men.” She cut into their dialogue. “We are here for something else not business. When it’s time for business, you locate each other and discuss. Let’s finalize the plans please.”

Uncle Doutimi gave a hearty laugh, clapping his wife. “Thank you, dear wife for bringing us back. Nimi is already a part of us and that’s why I delved into that. I hope you didn’t mind, my daughter.” He said to Nimi.

She shook her head, giving a bright smile. “Not at all, sir.” She replied. “I found the discussion interesting.” She added.

Uncle Doutimi looked at her with admiration. “Welcome to the family, my dear. Ken is a lucky man.” He told her, sparing his nephew a glance.

Ken grunted. “She is the lucky one, Uncle.” He protested.

Uncle Doutimi wriggled his nose at him. “Just thank God that you got the right one.” He stated.

Ken turned the statement in his heart for a few seconds, then gave a nod in total agreement. “You’re right, Uncle. I’m indeed grateful to God. Nimi is a blessing.” He placed a hand over hers beside him on the couch.

Nimi sneaked a peak at him then quickly looked away. He had already seen the love that was beyond words in her eyes when he met her gaze too. This set the tone for the next line of discussion as uncle Doutimi wanted to know how soon they wanted to have the wedding, the plans they have and visiting her parents too.

Ken informed him of their plans to tie the knot early next year, and the plans to visit her family sometime in the following months. Nimi squeezed his fingers in appreciation and he understood why. Her sister had finally made up her mind to visit them at the end of the next month. They decided to take their time in visiting her parents until all issues with her sister had been resolved.

Uncle Doutimi looked thoughtful as he listened to their plans. At the end, he agreed with them. The next hour was spent in light-hearted conversation before Ken and Nimi got up to take their leave. They both thanked Ken’s uncle and aunt for a good time and made for the door. Just before they stepped out, the door opened, and in came the security man and Ken’s worst nightmare –Tenisha.

His eyes widened in sheer terror when he saw her. His heart pounded loudly in his chest. It was almost audible in the midst of the silence that had filled the room. He sneaked a peak at Nimi and noticed her smiled had slipped and her lips had flattened. Her face mirrored his own.

“Who is this?” Uncle Doutimi asked, breaking the silence.

The security man stepped forward. “Oga, I’m sorry o. I tell dis lady make she wait for gate but she no gree. She just follow me enter straight say she must see you.” He explained, eyeballing Tenisha who now stood beside him.

Uncle Doutimi fixed questioning eyes on Tenisha. “Yes, young lady, what do you want?”

Tenisha went on her knees. “Sir, I have been cheated.” She replied.

Uncle Doutimi shared a confused glance with his wife, who turned to look at Tenisha with keen interest.

“What do you mean cheated?” He asked.

“Ken is my fiancé.” She told him.

The room was immediately plunged into utter confusion at her bombshell. Soft gasps escaped the lips of Ken’s uncle and aunt, even the security man gasped. Aunt Nene sent accusatory looks at Ken.

It took Ken few seconds before he came to himself. “This lady is lying, Uncle.” He fired back. “She’s just trying to blackmail me.”

His uncle sighed with relief then, but aunt Nene countered his explanation. “Let us hear from her. Her presence here is not a coincidence and it’s obvious you know her.”

Ken’s hand pressed against his forehead. He heard the soft cry coming from Nimi. He couldn’t turn to look at her. His heart broke at what was happening to her on the day he brought her to his family. Anger welled up in him and he approached Tenisha but his uncle held him back.

“She’s lying, Uncle.” Ken repeated again, his tone taking a desperate edge. “I have nothing to do with her. Everything is in the past.”

Right on her knees, Tenisha burst out in tears. “Oh, Ken, she has poisoned you.” She cried. “That evil lady has poisoned you against me.” She pointed a shaky hand at Nimi, who took a step back, shaking her head. Tenisha continued, “Sir, Ken and I dated for a while before he came here. He invited me here when he settled down, but when I came, he had been charmed by her and would have nothing to do with me. I kept on pleading with him but this lady won’t let him be. I can’t allow her have him. I love Ken and we are going to have a baby.”

If what she said earlier had caused soft gasps, her statement now weakened the others in the room. Nimi fell on the floor and started weeping. Uncle Doutimi staggered; aunt Nene stood with her arms akimbo and mouth wide open. Ken stood still marvelling at the extent Tenisha would go just to ruin him. He surged forward and seized her by the neck.

“You will rot in hell, Tenisha. You will rot in hell.” He screamed at her, rage pouring from his body like sweat after an exercise.

“Ken, you’re hurting me. I’m carrying your baby.” She croaked, trying to free herself from Ken’s grasp but he held on tight.

Uncle Doutimi stepped forward and held Ken. “Let her go.” He ordered. Ken looked at him but made no move to release Tenisha. “I said let her go now, Ken.” Uncle Doutimi repeated in a firm voice.

Slowly, Ken released Tenisha, who fell back coughing.

“Violence won’t solve this, Ken. We will surely get to the end of this. Paternity test won’t lie. We would have it done once the baby arrives.” Uncle Doutimi reasoned.

A cloud of fear passed over Tenisha’s face. “Wha… what about now? He has to take care of me. We have to be together for the sake of the baby. He can’t marry her.” She stared daggers at Nimi.

“We will take this a step at a time. You go back home and leave us to decide what to do. I will get back to you.” He told her.

Tenisha looked unconvinced. “What assurance is there that Ken will marry me?” She pressed further.

“That decision is up to Ken. I can’t force him to marry you if he doesn’t just because you’re having a baby that we are not certain is Ken’s.” Uncle Doutimi’s tone sharpened with an edge of anger.

Tenisha looked away. “I swear it’s Ken’s baby. I won’t allow him marry her. He has to marry me.” Her voice hardened then, her face twisting with hatred.

Uncle Doutimi shared a look with Ken. A dawning hope filled his eyes when he saw that his uncle had seen through Tenisha’s show. It was obvious Tenisha was trying to pin what wasn’t his on him. He allowed his uncle to handle her. He went to where Nimi was on the floor and pulled her up. Her tears had dried and she seemed calmer.

“Please go. I’ll get back to you.” Uncle Doutimi told Tenisha. He signalled to the security man who had stayed through the whole thing to take her out.

Tenisha shoved away his hand. “I’ll go on my own.” She drew herself up and smoothed out her short skirt. She balanced herself on her pencilled heels and drew her shoulders up. “I hope to hear from you soon. This is not the end.” She glared at them before walking out. The security man followed.

Audible sighs of relief filled the air when Tenisha walked out. Everyone took their seats again.

“I want the whole story, Ken.” His uncle demanded.

Ken told him. “I am very sure, uncle. I am not responsible for Tenisha’s pregnancy.”

His uncle nodded. “I believe you. That girl has something up her sleeves and we must tread softly or we’ll land in her trap.”

While uncle Doutimi encouraged Ken and Nimi, aunt Nene kept staring daggers at him. When she couldn’t bear it anymore, she cut into his uncle’s words.

“Ken brought this upon himself. Now he wants to drag us down with him. It won’t work.” She spat at him.

“Nene, if you can’t add anything positive to what is on ground, please excuse us.” Uncle Doutimi told her.

She got up and patted her buttocks. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you o. Ken will put you in trouble soon.” She walked away.

Uncle Doutimi turned to Ken and Nimi. “Don’t mind her. You know how she is. I’ll leave you both to talk. Ken, I’ll call you tomorrow to tell you what we have to do.” He got up. To Nimi, he said: “Be strong, my daughter. This is just a phase.”

Nimi gave a slight nod. Uncle Doutimi left them alone. Ken took Nimi’s hands into his own, enfolding and clasping them warmly.

“We’ll get through this, Nimi. I promise you we will. Tenisha has no hold over me or you. God will fight for us and expose her evil plans.”

Nimi’s lips tipped in a smile. “I believe you.” She said.

He threw his hands around her. “You’re a blessing to me, Nimi. Thank you for believing me. Just stand by me.”

“I will.” She replied, her words going over his shoulder.

That fired him a love so intense that he knew for a certainty that Nimi was his. Come rain, come shine, they would be together under God. Tenisha was just a joker.

 

 

 

 

Episode Eighteen

Laye clasped and unclasped her fingers as she paced the floor of her room. Something kept gnawing at her. It was like a heavy burden had settled on her since her disclosure to Tenisha about Ken and Nimi’s visit to his uncle.

Was this really what she wanted? She thought, chewing on her lip. Nimi would be totally devastated, but she had no other option. She had come too far indeed. It was time to end it all.

All morning she had been jittery as she awaited news from Tenisha. Nothing could keep her mind off what would happen in Ken’s uncle’s house. Not the heap of clothes she had to wash or the pots of soup and stew she had to prepare for the week. The house chores that begged her attention couldn’t keep her mind off the deciding moment of her victory or failure. Her mother had taken one look at her face and went to the market by herself. It was better because Laye had no intention of getting into any banter with market women.

And so she had spent most part of the day chewing on her lip, grinding her teeth and fidgeting over her phone. No words had come from Tenisha yet. Well, she hadn’t expected any word so early in the day, but now she longed to hear of the final verdict.

Her eyes went to her bedside clock. It read four fifty. Almost five in the evening and she still hadn’t heard from Tenisha. She had to call her. She could easily call Nimi and gloat if everything had gone the way she wanted it to go, but Tenisha was the key. She needed to be sure of her next line of action. She hoped to be moving in for the kill and not re-strategizing. It would kill her to start all over again. Her entire hope was on Ken. She had lost Karibo even before she had the time to have him. Better to focus on the one that she knew would be productive; the one she had been working on for months.

She went to her bed and picked up her cell, then she dialled Tenisha’s number. The phone rang for a while and the call ended unanswered. The same thing happened the second, third and fourth time. Laye was fuming by the time she was dialling the number the fifth time.

‘I hope the bitch is not playing games with me,’ she said, anger clouding her features. ‘She had better not be playing with me.’

She dialled the number again. Laye concluded it would go unanswered again when it kept ringing with no answer. Just before she was told that the number she had dialled was not answering, Tenisha’s voice came online.

“Hello,” she croaked, sniffing a little.

“Tenisha, what is happening?” Laye asked, going straight to the point. She had no time to notice that Tenisha sounded weak and was sniffing. All she wanted to hear was her victory.

Another sniff. “Nothing.” She answered simply.

Laye didn’t like the sound of that. She didn’t like it at all. Tenisha’s answer was not what she expected. “Tenisha, what is happening?” Laye gritted her teeth and repeated herself.

A pause, then another sniff, followed by a loud sigh. “Listen, er… things didn’t go as I expected but the good news is they won’t be planning a wedding for a while.” Tenisha told her.

A slight smile curved Laye’s lips. Now they were back on track. She dropped on her bed and rested her free hand on the bed while the other cradled the phone on her left ear.

“How did you do it?” She questioned. Laye thought she heard a soft gasp at her question but Tenisha was silent. The hair prickled on her neck. “Tenisha?” She called cautiously as if stepping around a hen with chicks.

“Laye,” Tenisha’s voice took a sharp edge. “I got desperate and I had to use my trump card.”

Laye sat up straight, eyes widened. “What do you mean ‘trump card’?” She bit out the question in anger.

“I told him… I told him…” Tenisha stuttered.

“Told him what?” Laye screamed down the line. Her stomach clenched uncomfortably. Goose bumps appeared on her naked skin where her short-sleeved blouse did not covered. This is not good, oh it is not, she cried within even as she awaited Tenisha’s response. Tenisha seemed to be doing more sighing than actually answering.

“You have to tell me, Tenisha.” Laye pressed.

“Fine.” An angry tone. “It’s none of your business anyway, but I’ll just tell you because of your help.”

Laye bristled at her dismissive tone but said nothing. She waited with a thumping heart that was threatening to burst through her chest.

“I told Ken about the pregnancy.” Tenisha said.

“The pregnancy? What pregnancy?” Laye challenged her.

“Listen, Laye, I’m pregnant and someone has to be responsible for it right. Ken is going to take responsibility so there’s no way he will abandon his child for that… that filthy trash.”

Laye saw red. Her eyes flashed with rage. Tenisha had played her. Tenisha had proven herself more worldly-wise than her. How had she not seen that Tenisha’s desperation had an undertone? Her call had come suddenly. All the while she was also plotting when Laye thought she had her where she wanted her. Oh, no.

“Is Ken really responsible, Tenisha?” She asked in an icy tone. Dry laughter filled her ears. “Don’t be naïve, girl. I told you I would do anything to get Ken. Just forget about who is and isn’t responsible. Just know that I’ll have my man.” She replied, laughter in her voice. “Listen, Laye, I have to go now. I want to have all my facts down before Ken’s uncle calls me. He promised to call and negotiate.” She told Laye proudly, and then without any warning, she ended the call.

Laye stared at the silent phone. Tenisha had ousted her. Tenisha had kicked her out of the game. She slammed her cell against the wall. Different parts flew in all directions. She made no move to pick them up. What was on her mind was getting back on the game. Tenisha would do more than lying to actually get her out of the way.

Her lips turned up in a humourless smile. Tenisha will never win. Stopping her would be war and she was ready for it.

 

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

The cocks around the house announced the dawn of a new day. The day Laye would kick Tenisha out of the game. If it would mean threatening her, then she would do it. Anything to stop Tenisha.

Laye jumped up from her bed and peered at the bedside clock in the semi darkness. It was early enough to launch an attack and not attract unwanted passers-by.  She picked up her phone that she had managed to put back together later that evening. The screen guard had done a lot to keep her screen from much damage. Repairs wouldn’t cost much. She really had no intention of spending a lot now. With the way events were unfolding she could lose her job in DAA. She would need her savings while she searched for a new one. Or if she had Ken, she would have all she wanted. When, not if, she corrected herself before undressing.

While in the bathroom she heard her mother’s shuffling feet. She must be preparing for church. Laye wouldn’t be there. She would miss church just to make sure she was back in control of everything she had worked for. It wasn’t going to be the first time though. She had lost count of the times she hadn’t gone to church since she started her ‘mission get Ken’. She couldn’t imagine listening to any sermon that would change her mind towards Nimi and Ken. She didn’t want any minister who didn’t even understand the depth of her pain, her hurt, longing, and desire to stand in judgement over her. All they talked about was salvation, righteousness, holiness, giving… what about her needs? What about her yearning for a better life? What about her love life? No, that didn’t matter to them. But they would be quick to judge her if she showed up pregnant without a husband.

Better to stay away from a place like that and people who didn’t care about anything but themselves. She wouldn’t miss church. It wouldn’t even miss her. With that last thought on her church, she took her bath quickly and did the same with her dressing when she got back into her room. She had chosen a combat short and a polo for the confrontation. Tenisha couldn’t beat her if it resulted in fist fight. She would have the upper hand all round. After all she was going to catch Tenisha unawares.

She dropped her phone in one of her short’s pockets and a few change. She picked up a small torch and moved out quietly. She didn’t stop at her mother’s room to greet her as she usually did. Better to keep her uninformed of her movement that morning. She walked quietly to the door and let herself out.

The early morning breeze hit her on the face and she breathed deeply. Adrenaline pumped through her and she felt every muscle in her body come alive. Yes, she was in control. She liked being in control and would like to leave it like that. The more reason why Tenisha must be put in her place.

She trekked the few blocks down to the bus-stop. She met only a few persons at the bus-stop, most of whom looked like they were on their way to their various worship centres. They said nothing to one another as they waited for the cab or tricycle that would convey them to their various destinations.

A tricycle soon arrived and Laye got in. She and three other persons standing. One kept singing, irritating her. She glared at her but the lady wouldn’t stop until she screamed her down.

“Madam, abeg make person hear word this morning.”

The woman’s eyes widened at her sharp rebuke. She did a sign of the cross and shook her head at Laye. “You need Jesus.” She told her in a soft tone.

That irked Laye the more. “What do you need, madam? You need a tape to be placed over your mouth. Noisemaker.” She retorted.

The woman and the others, including the driver gasped. Laye didn’t care. If they wanted trouble, she had it in abundance and would give them willingly. Nonsense, she spat angrily. How dare the woman tell her that she needed Jesus?  She that had Jesus what had it given her. Imagine her taking a tricycle to church. Laye released a loud hiss.

The woman crossed herself again, and started singing quietly to herself.

“Better,” Laye muttered under her breath.

She got down from the tricycle before the others. She knew they would talk about her. Again, she didn’t care. Only one thing mattered to her –taking charge.

Tenisha’s house was a little down the road. Laye took long strides, ignoring the curious glances of the few that passed her on the street. The neighbourhood was stirring. It was almost six thirty in the morning. She had to finish with Tenisha quickly. She was sure Tenisha was at home, probably still asleep. Tenisha was definitely not a church-goer. She wasn’t even a nominal Christian. She was just herself. No belief in anything but her looks and her possessions.

What about you? A tiny voice whispered in her heart.

Laye stopped in her tracks. She turned, expecting to see the speaker. The voice was quite audible. She saw no one. She was alone. The other person walking on the street was some feet away from her and he had his back to her, so it wasn’t possible that he had spoken to her.

Who said that? She wondered as she continued on her way.

You need Jesus. The same voice whispered again.

Laye staggered. Was that woman messing with her head? She turned towards the road she had left behind. The tricycle was long gone. So why was she hearing that? It was getting weird.

She quickened her steps, almost running. She stopped in front of Tenisha’s house in a matter of seconds. She released a sigh of relief. Just as she was about to cross the gutter into the open compound, the voice came again.

Go back home, Laye. Go home. You need Jesus.

Whoever you are, leave me alone, she fired back, jumping across the gutter. She stood in front of Tenisha’s flat in no time.

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

The annoying knock came over and over again. Tenisha tossed about in bed. The persistent knock seemed to be giving her a headache. She hated the disturbance. The lights in her room were put off and the heavily-draped curtains did nothing to illuminate the dim room. She was sure it was morning because she could hear music from the church behind her house. She held on to the last bit of sleep before finally throwing aside her bed cover at the persistent knock that wouldn’t stop.

She drew her phone out from under her pillow and pressed the power button on its side. She winced at the bright light that came on the screen. It was almost seven in the morning. She frowned at the door. Who would come visiting this early in the morning?

Ever since Sinivie left the house, she had had no one to share it with. It had been her alone all the time. When she had refused to talk to Sinivie for two weeks after their discussion about telling Ken the truth and becoming a Christian, Sinivie had wished her the best and left the house. She had promised to keep praying for Tenisha. Tenisha had neither answered her calls nor returned them. She had deleted her messages upon arrival without reading them. She would fight her battle alone and win. She didn’t need any friend who thought too highly of herself or Jesus for that matter.

If she had no real connection with anyone here, then who was at her door this early in the morning, knocking as if her very existence depended on it? She got up from bed and raked her fingers through her bed hair. Her hair net had gotten off her head sometime in the night. She adjusted the oversized polo she wore over her PJ trouser. She moved slowly through the mess she had made in the room the previous evening.

Two wine bottles laid at the foot of the bed. She had downed both while wallowing in her sorrow over Ken. The uncertainty surrounding the whole issue with Ken and his uncle had made her shed tears like a baby hungry for milk. She had seen the suspicious look in the eyes of Ken’s uncle. He had looked unconvinced at her accusation. Everything was at a standstill. And that Laye had the guts to call her up asking how it went. Tenisha grimaced. She had better mind her business.

She kicked off plastic bags that littered the floor. She had eaten as much junk as possible while she wept for love –her complete love for Ken.

She made her way to the door and pressed the light switch beside the door. Light flooded the room, casting out the shadows that the darkness had brought. She shuddered at the sight of the room. Clothes were strewn about. The contents of her bag were emptied somewhere while the bag was seen in another side.

Whoever was at the door would have to stand outside or manage her disorganized room. She opened the door and got out to the veranda. Outside her protector gate stood no other than the one she had no pleasant thought for at the moment –Laye.

Tenisha’s face twisted in anger. She regarded Laye with a cool stare. “What do you want?” She asked, not bothering to keep the unfriendliness from her tone.

Laye regarded her with a stare that matched hers. “I’m here to see you.”

“What for?”

Laye let out a soft smile. “You should know already.”

Tenisha crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t have time for this. It’s too early in the morning. Go home. We’ll talk later.” She told her, gritting her teeth.

That annoying laugh came again. “If you don’t want me laying all our shit bare here, you had better invite me in. I don’t want us to become the prayer points of those on their way to church this morning.” She retorted.

Despite the laughter outlining Laye’s face, Tenisha could see the rage just beneath. She recognized it because she had been like that one too many times. She looked from left to right. Her neighbour was a pastor. He, his wife and children had the ‘Christian thing’ going for them. They barely tolerated her presence. Many at times Tenisha had caught the wife eyeing her mini dresses. She wanted nothing with them, and sure didn’t want them shaking their heads at her while they went to church.

She unlocked the gate and threw it open. “Come in,” she told Laye in an unwelcomed tone.

Laye gave a shrug and pushed pass her. While Tenisha pulled the gate back for a close, Laye walked into her room. She met her casting disgustful eyes around the room. Tenisha made no move to adjust anything.

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “Pretty Miss Perfect is not perfect after all.” She mocked.

Tenisha clenched her fists at her sides. “I want to believe you didn’t leave your house this early to come and discuss my home management skills.” She bit out the words in anger.

Laye ran a finger over her reading table. She drew it up and blew off imaginary dust from it. “You’re right. I didn’t come here to discuss your poor home management skills.” She replied in a drawl. “I’m here to stop whatsoever game you started yesterday with Ken.”

Tenisha’s eyes glinted at her in amusement. “This must be the joke of the year.” She hissed and walked away to sit on her bed.

Laye turned to face her. “I am not here to joke, Tenisha.” She told her firmly. “You can’t force a baby on Ken when you know he’s not responsible for it. I think it’s time you take your sorry self and crawl back into whatsoever hole you came out from and leave Ken in peace.”

Realization hit. Laye was interested in Ken. Why hadn’t she seen it? No wonder she was willingly to help separate Nimi and Ken. Well, her own trap had caught her.

“Laye, I think you should leave my house now. We have nothing else to discuss. Ken is my man and I’m almost close to having him. I don’t need your services any longer.” Tenisha’s voice darkened as much as her face.

Laye stood her ground. “Oh, you think you’re smart right? You think you have this down right? Oh, no, you don’t, sweetheart. I brought you into this and I will tell you when to leave too.”

Tenisha threw her head back in laughter. “You don’t know me, Laye. If you did, you wouldn’t wrongly assume that you run things where I am.” Her voice was laced with a warning.

“Just wait and watch me squash your party. I’m going to lay all your shit bare to Ken. I’ll make sure you leave this city in disgrace. You will lose all round.” Laye threatened her, eyes flashing with the power she had over Tenisha.

The laughter seemed to freeze on Tenisha’s face. She got up and held Laye’s wrist. “You won’t dare. You won’t betray me when you also had a role to play.”

“You betrayed me first, Tenisha. Whatever I do, you deserve it.” Laye released her arm from her grasp and pushed it away from her. “I give you two hours to call Ken and tell him you lied and want nothing to do with him. I’ll call Nimi in the next two hours and I want to hear the good news from her. Failure to do so…” she left the threat hanging and turned to take her leave.

Tenisha watched the proud shoulders of Laye lifted high as she made her move for the door. Rage fuelled in her like an angry inferno. No, Laye can’t win, she screamed within her. I won’t go down without a fight. I must stop her.

Her eyes scanned the room quickly and rested on the wine bottles. She grabbed one and made a move towards Laye who was about turning the door knob.

“Stop!” She ordered in a loud voice.

Laye jumped in fright and turned around. Tenisha brought the bottle down on the left side of her head just above her left eyebrow. The bottle connected with Laye’s head with a loud bang. Laye crumbled like a pack of cards, losing consciousness.

“Now go and tell let me see you.” Tenisha stood over Laye spitting in disgust. “Get up and leave my house. This is just a warning. Don’t mess with me. Get up!” No movement. She bent and peered at Laye where she laid unmoving on the floor. Blood streamed from the side of her face that rested on the floor down to her mouth.

The bottle dropped from Tenisha’s trembling fingers. She jumped back, her hands going to her mouth. “I have killed her. I have killed someone. Oh, God, help me.”  She moved backwards from the body, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her whole body shook. “Where do I run to?”

She looked around. Her eyes landed on her wardrobe. She quickly pulled out a box from it and started emptying her clothes into it. She turned around sharply when she heard a soft moan from Laye where she laid.

“She’s not dead.” She said somewhat relieved. She rubbed her tear-stricken face with the back of her palm.

“He… he…lp.” Laye muttered weakly.

Tenisha went to where the contents of her bag laid scattered. She picked out her purse and brought out the money she had kept there for the trip and expenses the previous day. She drew out the naira notes and counted them. Five thousand naira. She gave a nod of satisfaction at the amount and stuffed them back into her purse. She pushed the purse into the pocket of her PJ and went to the door.

A quick survey told her that her neighbours were all out. She made a dash for the road and flagged down the first tricycle she got.

Abeg, help me oh. My sister hit her head for wall o. I wan carry her go hospital.” She told the driver in a frantic tone.

Na charter be data bi?” the driver asked.

Tenisha nodded severally, “I’ll pay. Just help my sister.”

“Go bring her.”

Tenisha ran back to her room and lifted Laye off the ground. She had lost consciousness again. Tenisha half-carried and half-dragged her down to where the tricycle waited. When the driver saw her, he jumped down and came to help her. They successfully got Laye into the tricycle and the driver zoomed off to the nearest private hospital.

At the hospital, Tenisha filled out forms while Laye was wheeled into the emergency ward. Tenisha’s hand kept shaking as she wrote out all the details they required. Her mind kept going to Laye. She knew she would be in trouble when Laye woke up. And she couldn’t afford that now. Even Ken was not worth going to jail for. Better to disappear when she still had her freedom. She was certain that chief would gladly accept her back. Or maybe he wouldn’t. But she couldn’t think about that now. All she wanted was to get as far away from the hospital, Laye and Ken. Since she was planning her escape, the best way to do it was to keep her details off the records. If she was going to leave it blank, it would be suspicious. She had just the right person and his info for the records.

She filled out Ken’s details quickly and made necessary payment. She told the nurse at the reception that she wanted to get food. The busy nurse just gave her a nod as she continued filling out records in the large book before her.

Tenisha turned and left quickly. It was goodbye. She didn’t care how unceremonious it was. She was leaving in one piece. Let Ken clean up the mess she had made. She hoped their paths crossed no more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Love Quest Ep 15

Hey, guys. Thanks for always sticking with me despite the long intervals between episodes. While writing this episode, I shuddered at Laye’s deep hatred for Nimi. I kept wondering why one person would abhor so much hatred against another. I guess people will say love makes us do crazy things. But then, is this really love? find out more about Laye’s plot against her friend in this thought-provoking episode. Hey, mind the friends you keep.

Episode Fifteen

Three days, three full days had passed since she dropped her threat and Ken had not said anything, Laye ruminated as she stared at the desk calendar she had on her desk. What could be giving him such confidence? She leaned back in her chair, her index finger hitting her lower jaw lightly. Tenisha had not stopped calling, wanting feedback. She had nothing to tell her. Ken had appeared nothing but cool. He seemed to be mocking her even with his dressing. The bright colours he spotted seemed to be challenging her. Take his dressing that morning, for instance, he wore a deep blue shirt on a pair of black tailored trouser with black shiny shoes. His neck was adorned in a red flowered tie. His smile that morning rivalled the sun. People also noticed this and complimented him so much. Oh, Nimi had worn a huge smile of her own as compliments flew about for the love of her life.

How Laye hated her then. How she wanted to put an end to that smile, that happiness, that joy. She should be the one feeling this way if Nimi had not gone behind her to seduce Ken and get him for herself. She would have the last laugh. She would have Ken and hurt Nimi as much as she had hurt her.

She picked up a pencil and circled the days left before her victory on her calendar. At the last day, she wrote beside the circle: ‘my victory’. Her lips quirked up as she pictured Nimi’s face when her world came crashing around her. The sound would be so loud that her ears would go deaf. She burst out in laughter. Just then someone tapped on the glass on her booth. The laughter stopped abruptly, causing a cough.

“I’m sorry for interrupting.” The helper who had knocked said. “I just have something to deliver to you.” She told her.

Laye eyed the small wrapped package in her hand with suspicion. “From?” She asked warily.

The helper smiled. “Mr. Karibo.”

At the mention of his name, Laye sat up straight. Oh, Karibo. She had totally abandoned him in the past few days in her quest for Ken’s love. How thoughtful of him to send something. She collected the package from the helper.

“Thanks.” She told her. The girl gave a nod and walked away.

Laye tore off the wrapping paper to reveal a small jewelry box. A note was attached to the top of the box. She took the tape off the box and read the words that had been scribbled in Karibo’s curvy handwriting.

‘This is to say thank you for going out with me. I’m sorry it’s coming late but I wanted to do something that would give me another chance with you. Hope you would allow me to take you out again. Karibo.’

Laye’s face beamed with a smile as she opened the box to reveal a beautiful gold necklace. She picked it up gently and examined it. So thoughtful of Karibo, she mused lovingly. To think he got her a necklace. In all her years with Preye he had never gotten her anything she didn’t force out of him. Now, Karibo had done what no one had ever done for her.

She unhooked the necklace and wore it around her neck. She looked down at it admiringly.

What if you give him a chance? A tiny voice whispered within her. She jerked up in her seat.

Chance? She replied. I don’t think I want to. Ken is more of a man than Karibo.

And yet he has never shown any affection towards you, the voice countered.

No, Ken is the one for me. Karibo’s attention is good for my ego. Let me just enjoy it.

She picked up the necklace again and kept admiring it.

“Hmmm… beautiful necklace.” Nimi said, standing in front of her.

Laye smiled. “Yes, it is.” She replied.

Nimi came round the booth and sat beside her. “You just got it?” She asked, touching the necklace.

“Oh, no, I didn’t.” She answered with all pride. “This is from Karibo.” She told her.

Nimi’s eyes widened in pleasant surprise. “Wow, that guy is serious.” She commented. “I didn’t know he had this in him.”

“He’s the best, my dear. I love the way he pays attention to my needs.” Laye beamed, her hand resting on her chest. “Just imagine having such a loving guy.” The lies came one after the other.

Nimi gave a nod of understanding, smiling. “I can imagine, Laye. I feel the same with Ken.” Her eyes grew dreamy at the mention of Ken’s name.

Laye’s façade wobbled. She cleared her throat loudly. “So, things are going right with you and Ken?”

“Laye, it’s the best, but don’t let me bore you with that. Let’s talk about you instead. You seem to be in love with Karibo.” She pointed out.

Laye nodded severally. “I think I am. I’ll let you know if we start anything.”

“I’m happy to hear this, Laye. You really deserve the best.”

Laye moved in to hug her. “We both deserve the best you know. Raymond is gone and now you have Ken. I have Karibo. We’ll be fine.” How she wished that was true? How she wished things were fine between them? But she couldn’t let go of Nimi’s betrayal and her love for Ken.

Nimi sighed. “Raymond is still bothering me.” She confided in Laye. “I finally gave him a chance to say what he had on his mind. You wouldn’t believe what he said.”

“What did he say?” Laye asked.

“He wants us to get back together because he loves me alone and knows I’m the only one that can make him happy. I told him it was too late and it was never meant to be anyway.”

“Didn’t you give him the insult of his life? Imagine the fool.” Laye commented testily.

Nimi smiled a little. “I’m not that person anymore. I’m stronger because I have a new reality.”

Laye eyed her suspiciously. “Really?” Is Nimi hiding anything, she wondered.

“I have encountered Jesus, Laye. I have peace in my life now because of him so I don’t need to weigh myself down with Raymond’s confusion.”

Laye’s brows furrowed in confusion. “But this is nothing new. You were a Christian before now.”

“I was just an ordinary Christian who didn’t even know my right from left. Now, I am a child of God because I have made Jesus my lord and personal saviour. Oh, Laye, I feel brand new. You should do the same too.” She held Laye’s hand.

Laye turned away. “I don’t really understand the difference, Nimi.” She stated.

“This new relationship with Jesus has broken me and moulded parts of me that needed moulding. That’s why I am so sure of Ken and me, and I can boldly say I look forward to seeing my sister again.”

Laye turned sharply to her. “Your sister? Have you forgiven her? You have let it all go?” She quizzed, disbelief colouring her words.

Nimi sobered a little. “I wouldn’t say it was easy but it was part of the breaking that took place in me. I have learnt to forgive and to be compassionate. I have learnt to avoid passing condemnation and judgement on people. I’m a work in progress and I’m learning each day. I told my mother that I am ready to welcome my sister back home not just back to the family but to introduce her to my new family –the family of Christ.” A tear slipped down her cheek. “I’ve been praying for her. We’ve been praying. She would return soon. God will see us through.”

A knot tightened in Laye’s chest listening to Nimi. How could Nimi have it all? Her words were genuine and she felt it in her heart. Even if she denied her words, what about the glow on her face? It was nothing like what she had known before. Nimi looked far more beautiful than she had ever been. How would Ken ever let her go now?

No, I can’t allow it all end like this. I can’t allow her words stop me now when I know for sure that I’d be victorious. I must have Ken. I am also a Christian so there’s nothing new there. That glow will fade when I pay her back for what she did to me. Even the Bible supports an eye for an eye.

She plastered a smile to her face. “I’m happy for everything that’s happening now, Nimi. We all need Jesus. I’m happy we have found Him. Thanks for telling me.”

Nimi gave her a quick hug and got up. “Let’s keep praying for each other. I’ll tell Ela to join us too. Let me get back to my booth.”

“Alright, thanks. See you later.”

Nimi waved and walked to her booth. Laye watched her every step. Her sway irked Laye the more. Everything about her now seemed to be irritating her. How prideful, Laye spat at her departing back. We’ll see where it all takes you.

She sighted the helper that had brought the gift earlier and signalled to her to come. The young lady rushed over.

“You called, madam.” She said.

“Yes, I did. I have a message for you.” She told her. She opened her purse and brought out a five-hundred naira note; she handed it to the helper. “During the lunch break, you’ll go to Nimi and tell her Mr. Ken wants to see her in his office. Is that clear?” She whispered, looking straight into the helper’s eyes.

The helper’s eyes widened; the message was clear to her. She gave a nod and squeezed the note into her jean trouser pocket.

Laye waved her off and she hurried away. Now the next thing: call Tenisha. Time to meet your rival. A wicked gleam formed in her eyes as she dialled Tenisha’s number.

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

Nimi walked down the corridor with a smile. It was time to meet with Ken. Every moment spent with him as two people in love meant a lot to her. Even when they related on official grounds she still found herself enjoying his presence. God was really out for her good because He kept sending sunshine to her even on days when the cloud was darkest.

She smiled up at Didi who had gotten used to her frequent visits. Didi’s smile kept wobbling as she looked up at her. Nimi raised questioning eyes at her.

“You’re here,” she said unnecessarily in a tremulous voice. Her eyes kept shifting from Ken’s door to Nimi’s face.

The hair at the nape of Nimi’s neck stood. Something was amiss. “Yes, I’m here.” She drawled, casting suspicious eyes on her. “I want to see Mr. Ken.” She told her but didn’t wait for her response before moving towards the door.

Didi sprang from her desk and flung herself before the door before Nimi could turn the knob. “Maybe you should come back later.” She remarked in a breathy tone.

Nimi stood back and crossed her arm over her chest. “What are you trying to do, Didi?” She challenged. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. It was almost as if she was meeting Raymond for their meeting that day long ago. Just as she hated the way she felt then, she hated it just as much now. “Tell me what’s going on.” She ordered in a whisper.

Didi shook her head from one side to the other but said nothing. She got into a staring contest with Nimi after that. None was giving up. Nimi stood her ground ready to see the end of Didi’s weird behaviour.

After what seemed like an eternity but was actually just a couple of minutes, the doorknob turned and out came a lady that Nimi had never seen before. Her jaw went slack at the sight of the lady accompanied by Ken. Both wore frowns on their faces, although Ken’s frown seemed deeper. His eyes burned like coals. Nimi had never seen him like that before. He looked so angry.

Nimi stepped aside for the lady to walk past. That was when Ken saw her. His eyes grew wide with shock. His lips started moving but no words came out. The feeling of dread from moments ago enveloped Nimi again. She swallowed the thick lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. What was going on here? She cried within her.

The lady, who had noticed that the charged atmosphere around her, stopped in front of Nimi and looked from her to Ken, just as Nimi was looking from her to Ken. Didi moved quietly out of the office.

Ken finally broke the awkward silence. “Nimi,” he said simply.

“Ken,” she replied in a bland tone, arms akimbo.

“Ken, what is going on here?” The lady asked in a flippant tone, eyeballing Nimi.

The lines on Ken’s face hardened. “You have no business here, leave me and don’t return.”

The lady’s mouth opened and closed. She sent Nimi a deathly stare then she stalked out of the room.

Nimi watched her departing back before facing Ken. Questions, suspicions, anger struggled for a place on her face. She wore all these as the stared at Ken.

Ken opened the office door and invited her in with a pleading look. She followed not because she wanted to but because she knew the office grapevines well enough, and if Didi stayed away from the office longer than normal, eyebrows would rise and in no time, tongues would start wagging. She would go in and avoid that.

When they got in, Nimi stood in the middle of the office, arms crossed over her chest. She didn’t make a move towards the couch in the office.

“I’m sorry about that,” Ken told her in a subdued tone. “I… I… well,” he sighed deeply, massaging his temple. “You see… things are not the way they seem, but er… I’m sorry”

Nimi seethed with anger where she stood. Her eyes grew with disbelief that Ken could not even explain himself. No, no guy would play her again. Even Raymond got served at the end. She drew herself straight and looked him in the eyes. “When you know what to say, let me know.” She hissed and left his office in a huff.

She was almost at her booth when the first wave of pain sliced through her like lightning. Her eyes pooled with tears next. She made a detour and went to the place where she could express the pain of her breaking heart, and answer the questions filling her mind like water in a tub.

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

Ken drove carefully into the growing darkness. Silence hung like a thick blanket in the car. He wanted nothing but to get home and explain everything to Nimi. It had taken God’s intervention to convince Nimi to hear him out. Now she sat beside him in the car but yet she felt so distant. Her eyes were glued to the passing sceneries on the street. She hadn’t spared him a look since they left the office but he didn’t mind. God had given him another chance to put things right and that was exactly what he would do. Enough of Tenisha threatening and stalking him. He would rid himself of his past once and for all. All he had to do was to open up to Nimi and plead for her understanding.

As he drew closer to his house, a strange sense of unease settled upon him. He shifted again and again in his seat, even Nimi noticed and turned to him. Why he felt that way he couldn’t explain. Lord, what is happening? He quizzed within. Could it be because of what I want to share with Nimi?

He had no time for more questions or answers because the main reason stood in front of his gate in a hot argument with his security man.

“Oh, my God!” He muttered in utter shock as the car drew to a gradual stop in front of the gate.

Nimi looked up and saw the same scene. She eyeballed him then she released a long hiss. Ken got down from the car and walked quickly to the two. The moment the security man cited him his lips curved in a triumphant smile.

“Oga, welcome,” he greeted.

Ken waved in response to his greeting. “Go inside,” he told him. The security man turned away. “What are you doing here, Tenisha?” He questioned.

“Ken, so you ordered your gateman to keep me outside right?” She replied.

“Tenisha, don’t come to my house or my office again. We have no business whatsoever. That ended a long time ago.”

“Because of her?” Tenisha asked putting at Nimi who had come to stand beside him.

He threw his arm around her shoulder and silently sent thanks to God that she didn’t shove him off. “Yes, she is part of the reason, but that’s not just it. I have a new life now; a new life in Jesus. I am not the Ken you use to know. I am a child of God. He has made me brand new. I can’t go back to my vomit. We ended things, didn’t we?”

Tears pooled in Tenisha’s eyes. “What if I accept Jesus too, will you accept me?” She asked in a wilful tone.

Ken shook his head slowly. “You should accept Jesus for yourself and not for me. Jesus loves you and wants the best for you. Don’t do it for anyone; do it because you want Him to change your life and make it better.” He admonished gently.

Tenisha took two steps away. She glared at them both. “You haven’t seen the last of me Ken, and you.” She pointed at Nimi. “I’ll be back.” She flung the threat at them before walking away.

Ken released a breath he had been holding from the moment he saw Tenisha standing in front of the gate. He turned to Nimi and noticed her face had softened. She turned to him with a sad smile. Once again, he thanked God for the turn of events. Nimi knew enough now to understand it all.

They both went back to the car and he drove into the compound. He led her into where he would be a new man all over again and things would be laid bare between them. The fear he had before was nowhere around, he felt a brand new confidence instead.

Questions: Is Laye’s hatred justified? Did Ken keep his confession a little too late? Should Nimi forgive Ken?

Share your thoughts, friends. Byeeeee

 

pl

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 Ep 12/13

Finally! The revelation is out. Nimi opens up. Catch Laye’s reaction and many more. It’s sizzling hot. (Yessir, it is.) Happy Reading, Guys.

Episode 12B

Nimi strode behind Laye as they went down the stairs to the cafeteria. Laye chatted all the way. She went from Karibo’s new attitude towards her to her team’s progress in their new project. Nimi punctuated her strings of sentences with an ‘okay’ here and there, but when the discussions went to Ken, she kept her mouth firmly shut. She felt the onset of a panic attack as her chest started rising and falling in quick successions. Her hand went to her forehead to wipe off the moist that had appeared there.

She drew in breaths and released them severally as they stepped into the cafeteria. She heard her names from colleagues around and she waved at them. She plastered a smile on her face for them. Laye also greeted friends. Karibo rose from his seat in the midst of some of his friends from various work teams and pushed his way to them. Laye batted her eyes as he moved closer, obviously enjoying it. Nimi didn’t like it at all. It would put a hitch in her plans.

She looked for the nearest free table and pulled Laye into it. That didn’t stop Karibo. He came after all. Laye rewarded him with a large smile.

“Hi, ladies,” he greeted pleasantly, placing his hand on the chair beside Laye.

Nimi put a restraining hand on it and smiled up at him when he lifted questioning eyes to her. “We have something important to discuss. Could you please excuse us?” She raised soulful eyes to him, looking like a puppy pleading for a snack or a rub behind its ear.

Karibo hesitated, but then he gave a shrug. “I’ll see you later, Laye,” he said, eyes on Laye. “Have a good discussion,” he told Nimi, then included before turning around to leave. “Talk about me, Nimi. Let Laye know that I’m a good guy, please.”

Laughter erupted from Laye. She threw her head back and held the plastic chair she sat on to keep from falling.

Nimi watched her as she laughed. She noticed the twinkle in her eyes when her head came back down and she wiped her happy tears from her eyes. Something felt at ease when she saw how Laye responded to Karibo. While she was no expert in relationships, she could see attraction when she saw one. It was clear to her that Laye wasn’t merely intrigued by Karibo’s attention. She was getting attracted, but she wouldn’t know because her head was filled with Ken who didn’t even know she had such feelings in the first place.

A conspiratorial smile tugged at Nimi’s lips. She could use Karibo as a distraction and just push him forth for Laye instead of Ken. That way Laye would not hate her for loving Ken and saying yes to him. She almost rubbed her palms together at the solution she had proffered to what had been a mountainous task.

She waited for Laye as she went to make her order for food. She turned the plans in her head. The more she thought she had it all figured out, the more her heart became burdened.

Why couldn’t she use Karibo as a cover-up? Why must she tell Laye everything the way it was without any camouflage? These questions plagued her mind. And while she warred within her, the truth stood out –she couldn’t exploit Karibo’s feelings for Laye, real or not, to score cheap points. Let Laye see everything as it was.

Nimi released a subdued sigh. ‘Dear Lord, help me.” She sent a quick prayer to heaven as Laye made her way back to the table.

Laye dropped a plate of jollof rice and fried plantain on the table. She took her seat. “I thought you’d come and get your own food.” She said, picking up her spoon. She dipped it into the plate and spooned rice into her mouth. She chewed and swallowed audibly.

“I’m not really hungry.” Nimi replied, watching her take another spoon of rice.

Laye gave a nod and started talking about Karibo coming to pay for her food. Nimi allowed her talk so she could eat well before she told her secret to her. When the food finally finished, and Laye pushed the plate aside, gulping down water from a sachet, Nimi cleared her throat.

“Laye,” She started.

“Hmm…” Laye answered, swallowing the water in the mouth. She squeezed the sachet and dropped it on the plate, then she rubbed her palms together and leaned forward. “What is it?” She asked.

Nimi shifted in her seat, casting an uncomfortable look around. Most of the tables were still occupied. She had wanted a private place for this discussion but none had turned up. She couldn’t keep Laye standing while she told her friend what would shatter her heart even if it was the right thing to do. Nimi cleared her throat and straightened from her slump. “Huh… it’s about Ken.”

A flash of excitement came into Laye’s eyes. She smiled broadly. “What about him? It’s really been a while you talked about him with me. You always allow me to do all the talking. Now, I’m eager to hear what you have to say.” She piped.

“Laye, Ken is not into you.”

Laye lifted her chin and stared straight at Nimi, her expression dulled a little. “Do you have to keep saying that? Are you trying to discourage me? I’ve told you times unnumbered that I’ll have the last laugh with Ken, and I’m sure I will. Just help me out a little.”

Nimi hated Laye’s proprietorial tone. Her chest tightened in the first rise of anger. What would make her lay claim on what is not hers with all confidence? Time to lay it all bear. “Laye, Ken asked me out and I said yes to him. We’ve been going steady for a while now.”

Different emotions chased after each other on Laye’s face at Nimi’s admittance. She went from utter confusion to shock to disbelief, then to suspicion to betrayal to hatred and finally anger. Panic spread across Nimi’s chest like a drop of wine on a white dress. She didn’t know what scared her the most: Laye’s speechlessness or the words that would pour from her lips in anger.

She waited. Laye kept fuming but had no words yet. Her chest rose in quick successions. Nimi got scared by the minute. She cast a quick glance around and noticed the cafeteria was thinning out. People were leaving. Potential saviours, Nimi thought miserably. She had couldn’t run away so she had to face it. The best was to defend herself before Laye became composed enough to attack her either with words or her fists.

“Listen, Laye, I didn’t plan this. It just happened.” She rushed on to explain. “Ken and I… well, we thought it was for the best. God has…”

Laye’s raised hand cut her short, causing her to swallow suddenly. She coughed in fists. Laye wasn’t moved. She leaned towards her with fierce eyes.

“I should have known you were not to be trusted.” She bit out the words in a clipped tone. “I should have known to avoid ladies like you. Ladies who think the world revolves around them because of their beauty and intelligence. Ladies who think they have it all and still want what another lady has. You could have gotten any man with your beauty, intelligence, and class, but it has to be Ken. Ken!” She said in a loud whisper, anger marking her words. “It has to be Ken because Laye, who you think is no-good and has no class, wants him.” Tears welled up in her eyes, but she wiped it off with the back of her hand. “You will pay for this betrayal, Nimi. I assure you, you will pay for it. I will watch your heart get smashed and broken into pieces. I will watch Ken deceive you and I will watch people laugh at your foolishness. You know why” She got up and stood over Nimi regarding her with a cynical smile. “I know what you don’t know. I have a weapon you can never have. And when your trouble comes, I’ll laugh and laugh.” With that, she sent the chair clattering on the floor and turned.

Nimi got up, dislodging her own chair. “Laye,” She called.

Laye neither answered nor stopped. She walked away with a sway of her hips.

Nimi ran after her, not minding the stares of those still in the cafeteria. She knew this would be hot on the gossips’ tray but she didn’t mind. Let them talk to their full. What she cared about was her ruined friendship.

She moved down the hallway and didn’t see Laye. She stood in the middle of the hall and wondered where she could have gone. She made a dash for the restroom and threw the door open. The ladies in front of the mirror jumped in fright. She mouthed a ‘sorry’ to them and moved on to Laye’s work area. When she didn’t see her there also she contemplated telling Ken about it but thought better of it. She would just confide in Ela and have her pray witAt this time when Laye sounded like a wounded bear, she needed all the prayers she could get.

Episode Thirteen

A flood of icy rage spread through Laye’s chest as she took the stairs away from the one who had betrayed herWhat right did Nimi have to say yes to Ken? What right did she have to date Ken? She would have willingly given any man in the office up if it meant keeping Ken for herself. Why would Nimi go for the one that suited her perfectly? The one she had told her mother about and bragged about his prospects. How would she go back and tell her mother that he was off the market? Something must be done to correct it. She wouldn’t leave things like that. She meant what she said about Nimi paying for it.

She crossed the hallway in long strides. She heard her name from behind but didn’t turn. She would not stand to share a word with a betrayal like Nimi. She would rather deal with everything by herself from now on. And that meant confronting Ken.

Yes, she would confront the one who made a fool of her by asking Nimi out. She would confront him with all the signs she had sent and he had not responded to. Ken couldn’t date Nimi since they were friends and both had feelings for him. He would have to let go and hurt Nimi and that would please her. If he wouldn’t listen to her and break things off with Nimi so both of them couldn’t have him, then she would initiate the breakup. She had the key to their breakup and she would use it. She was hurt and she didn’t mind hurting Nimi too. After all, the one who should have been her friend had not thought it twice before betraying her.

She was almost at the end of the hallway, just before turning the corner that led to Ken’s office area. The door to the conference room was ajar and voices flittered through the open door. Laye slowed down and moved closer to the door, all the while wondering those who would be in the conference room whispering. The room was open for briefings and executive meetings.

She tiptoed away from easy sight and perched close to the wall, her ears pressed to the frame of the door. She recognized feminine voices. She listened now to make sense of the office gossip that would have caused them to open the conference room to discuss.

“My dear, that lady is hot. The kind we refer to as ‘baby La hot’.” A tiny feminine voice said.

“I never see that kind woman for this office before o, and truly we don see many.” Another replied in a stronger voice. She continued, “wetin surprise me na the way oga face change and im psuh her quick quick towards that staircase near him office. If no be say, person dey sweep that place ehn, we for miss this kin drama for this office.” Her words burst with glee.

Laye straightened. A lady came looking for Ken. A lady that the helpers termed ‘hot’. Who could she be? While she engaged in her mental investigation, she missed the next round of statements and didn’t even know when the door opened wider and the helpers tiptoed out. They bumped into each other and jumped back in surprise.

“Good afternoon, ma.” They greeted, casting their expressions down and hands on the back of their neck.

Laye took advantage of their obvious discomfort at being caught gossiping and fixed stern eyes on them. “So this is what you do right when you are supposed to be working or at your station.” She confronted them in a harsh tone.

The one who had become the favourite in the office quickly knelt down. “We’re sorry, ma. We were just surprised.” She explained.

“By what?” Laye enquired.

She pulled herself up to her feet and exchanged glances with the other helper. They seemed to hesitate.

“Ok, let me go and see Mr. Ken and ask him then.” She threatened and moved away from them. One, two, three steps they called her. She smiled to herself, but when she faced them it was with a straight face.

“Yes, I’m listening.” She feigned disinterest.

“Er… a lady came to look for oga. She was not like the regular customers that come around.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, she was dressed like a night worker. Oga didn’t like her coming to the office because we saw him pushing her down the stairs beside his office and telling her to stay away from him.”

Hmm… interesting, Laye thought with utmost pleasure. This was getting way more interesting than she envisaged. It must be the same lady she saw with Ken at Bliss Taste and Bite. She had enough now to break Ken and Nimi up.

“How long ago was this?” She asked.

“A few minutes ago.” They said in unison.

“Now get back to your station and stop gossiping.” She chided.

Both of them scampered off, leaving her to start a new mission.

She cast a glance behind her, straightened, adjusted her shirt and took off down the stairs beside Ken’s office after the ‘hot’ lady.

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

Leaving the air-conditioned office, Laye moved into the heat of the afternoon. The sun was high up in the sky. Lunch break was over and so the traffic on the otherwise busy street was minimal. Workers must have returned back to their offices to continue their work until the close of the day. The same thing she was supposed to be doing, but here she was chasing Ken’s lady.

She was certain the lady wouldn’t have gone far. She would have to trek down a little before getting a tricycle, and if the description the helpers gave her was accurate, coupled with what she had seen the last time, then she wouldn’t just get any tricycle. This knowledge propelled her. She half ran and half walked. Sweat broke from her forehead. Her carefully styled hair came tumbling down her back in reckless abandon. She didn’t mind. It was nothing compared to the mission she had embarked on.

Just before she got to the electricity transformer that served as a major bus stop on the street, she saw the lady standing after the transformer, fanning herself with her fingers. The roasted plantain seller opposite the transformer and her customers fixed their eyes on her. The labourers who were building shops in front of a residential apartment stopped work to gawk at her. Laye could tell why even from afar.

The lady wore a dangerously short red gown that stopped on her upper thigh. She wore killer red heels like what she had on the first time Laye saw her. The sunlight caused the flashy gown to glow like Christmas light. She clutched a red purse in a hand lined with bracelets of different sizes and shapes.

When Laye got close enough, she heard the whistling from the men and the jibes from the few women around, mostly the street vendors. Laye doubled her steps. She got to her just when she was about flagging down a tricycle.

“Hi,” she said breathlessly.

The lady regarded with a look that made her feel like a troublesome insect. She flung her load of golden hair over her shoulder.

“Hi,” She finally replied in a dismissive tone.

Laye was undeterred. She smiled. “I think we’ve met.” She told her.

The lady looked back at her. She stared for a while and shook her head. “I can’t remember.” She replied, still in that indifferent tone.

Laye pressed on, “well, I remember seeing you with Ken at Bliss Taste and Bite, and in our office a while ago. I wonder why Ken never introduces you.” She threw the subtle insult.

The lady picked up on the underlining meaning immediately. Her eyes sparkled with anger. Smart lady, Laye thought.

“Excuse me,” She spat out. “I don’t know who you are and I’ll really like it if you mind your business. My business with Ken is my business and you should go mind yours. You should be in the office now because Ken told me you guys have a lot of work to do at the office. In fact, I’m going to call him now to tell him one of his employees is harassing me.”

Laye threw her head back and laughed. “I dare you to call him. Call him let’s see if he’ll pick your call.” She crossed her arms over her chest and waited.

Uncertainty filled her heavily made-up face. “Whatever,” she said. “Just get off my face, ok. I know how to settle my issues with Ken.”

“Oh, no, you don’t.” Laye countered. “If you do, you would have known that Ken has a serious date now.” She dropped the bomb and waited for the effect. It came in no time.

The purse dropped from her hand making a loud sound on the tarred ground. “Don’t you dare lie to me; you know nothing about Ken and me.”

Laye gave a shrug. “I know enough. I want to help. You really need my help obviously even if you won’t admit it. Since I know you need my help, I’ll help you.” Laye squatted down and picked up the purse. She unsnapped it and pulled out her phone. She slid her thumb across the screen and it came unlocked. She let out a slight chuckle. “You’re my kinda girl. We have nothing to hide so we don’t lock our phones.” She typed in her number, saved it and returned it to her purse, then she stretched it towards her. “My name is Laye. I saved my number as Laye Saviour. Give me a call when you’re ready to get your man.” She turned around and walked away in confident strides when the lady collected her purse. She only turned when she heard a howl of laughter behind her. The ‘hot’ lady had removed her heels and was walking down the road barefooted.

Laye watched her go and knew she had her where she wanted her. This side of her had never come out. She had been building it ever since she got her heart shattered. This time, her heart was both shattered and betrayed. She wouldn’t take it lying low. She would fight back and watch with great joy when all came crumbling down around all those who had hurt her. In the end, Ken would beg her to date him and she would have him as hers alone.

**********

Laye’s fingers flew over the keyboard as she typed in her design process. She continued like that for some minutes enjoying the click sound that came from the keyboard. She didn’t stop to acknowledge Nimi who had come in during lunch break to ‘apologize’ again. She had been coming to her like that for the past week and Laye had not given her audience. She wanted her to suffer. She wanted her to see the wrong she had done to her. Why would she just let go because Nimi was sorry for falling in love with Ken; her own Ken? She had kept up her anger towards her and refused to accept her apology while she worked out her plans. The lady hadn’t called her but she was sure she would soon. She watched Ken in the last week dragging around like a wet kitten. It was time to launch her attack.

And that was the reason why she would feign forgiveness and embrace Nimi. How else would she carry out her plans if her target was far from her? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That was her operating motto.

She stopped typing and pinned Nimi with irate eyes, mouth drawn in a hard line. “What do you want?” She asked in an indignant tone.

Nimi clenched and unclenched her fingers. “You really have to hear me out, Laye.” She pleaded.

Laye’s lips turned up in a wry smile. “Hear what? How you warmed your way into Ken’s heart and arms? How you fell hopelessly in love with him? How you totally felt good about yourself at my expense? What exactly do you want me to listen to, Nimi?” She countered lividly.

“You know that’s not how it all happened, Laye. I would never hurt you.” She said forcefully, almost as if she wanted to force Laye to believe her.

Laye said nothing.

Nimi continued, “I’m sorry it all happened like this. I really don’t want us to become enemies over Ken. Please, Laye, let’s keep being friends.”

And yet you went behind my back and chase after what was supposed to be mine, you two-timing bitch! Laye cursed within. She released a resigned sigh. “It’s just sad that I can’t stay mad at you for long.” The lie rolled off her tongue easily. “This past week has been hell for me, and I miss you terribly.” She pushed away from her desk and came to stand before Nimi, leaning on her desk. “I don’t want to fight with you, Nimi. Just as you said, we’ve been friends and I really want us to continue. But I was deeply hurt by your action.” She told her.

Nimi pulled her into a hug. “Forgive me, dear friend.” She apologized. “I never meant to hurt you.”

Laye scrunched her nose behind her back. “Don’t worry we are fine now.”

A song broke into their hug. They pulled apart and looked at the intruding object. It was Nimi’s phone.

She picked it up from where she had dropped it on the desk when she came in earlier. She looked at the caller ID and in the seconds that followed her face went from happy to enrage. She drew the end button across the screen and dropped the phone on the desk, then she folded her arms across her chest.

“Annoying!” She spat out fuming.

“Who?” Laye asked.

Nimi let out a frustrated sigh. “It’s Raymond. Can you imagine.” She threw her hands up.

“I don’t get it. You mean the same Raymond?” She asked.

“Yes.” Nimi affirmed. “He has been calling me nonstop for over a week now. I have blocked his number but all he does is to use another number to call. I even picked it one time and the moment I heard his voice, I just ended the call.”

“You should have allowed him to speak.”

“Speak what? I have no time for that loser, that mama’s boy. Let him leave me alone in peace. One of these days I’ll pick the call and give him a serious warning. I’ll threaten to report him to his mother, maybe then he’ll leave me alone.”

Laye shrugged. “Just be careful.”

A smile broke through Nimi’s tight lips. “Ah, see you showing concern. Thanks, Laye. Now I know you have really forgiven me.” She gave her a brief hug and pulled back. “let me go back to my station and finish what I started earlier. Thank you once again, dear friend.” She made for the door.

“Let’s have tea tomorrow morning,” Laye called after her. Nimi gave a nod and smiled as she hurried out of the door.

When she was out, Laye drummed her fingers on the desk. Raymond is the picture now. What would be his role in this whole drama? She tapped her lower jaw with her index finger. He’d likely be useful along the line. Better to keep him on the side. All things are falling into place for me.

With that final thought, she pulled back her chair and sank into it, a wicked smile twisting her lips.

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

Tenisha stood at the bathroom entrance afraid to take a look at the pregnancy test strip that laid on the sink in the bathroom.  She had carried out the test several minutes ago and the result should be out, but she couldn’t bring herself to look at it. Her hand went to her midsection. The possibility of a baby growing inside her scared her. A lot would go wrong if the test turned out positive.

The sound of a blow-dryer whistled a deafening note from the living room. Her friend Sinivie was bent at the waist drying her hair. Tenisha envied her carefree mood. Sinivie was her long-time friend, and when she had decided to search Ken out, Sinivie had given her all her support. Even though she had advised her against forcing herself on a man who didn’t want her.

When things had become complicated in the last few weeks, she had cried out to Sinivie. Her friend handed over her gifts shop to her able assistant and made the journey to Yenagoa a week ago.

Why couldn’t life be easy for her like Sinivie?

Sinivie had graduated with good grades and met her prince charming a year ago. Her shop was booming and she already had two more opened in strategic locations in Lagos. Her relationship was moving in the right direction.

For Tenisha, things were the opposite. She had flunked out of school when it was clear she couldn’t pass her loads of ‘carry-overs’. She had moved from one man to another looking for love. Or maybe it was the money that kept her with these men. Her mother, being a single parent after her dad died when she was eleven years old, had given up on her long ago. She had told her she wouldn’t waste a kobo on someone who wasn’t ready to make anything good out of her life. She had focused on her younger ones and they had turned out well. At least, her younger brother had served and started working in a big firm in Lagos. Her two younger sisters were out of school. One was through with service and working in a bank, planning her wedding. The other was getting ready to go for service.

Tenisha on the other side had not been so lucky. Ken had seemed like the right one. Even though at the time she was with Ken, she had been two-timing him with Chief Onaga, the owner of the chains of boutiques she worked for. Ken didn’t have the money but he had the heart. That was the reason why she was still here trying to convince him to be with her.

But now the result of the test she had taken could ruin a lot of things.

She braced up and walked back into the bathroom. She closed her eyes and picked up the test strip on the sink. She opened one eye and peered at the result.

Two lines were drawn on it.

Her eyes flew open and she let out a screeching sound. The blow-dryer went off immediately and Sinivie came running to the bathroom, her hair flying wildly on her head.

“What is it, Tenisha?” She quizzed in a panicky tone.

Tenisha stretched the test strip to her. Sinivie’s eyes went to it. She also saw the lines.

“Oh, no.” She cried. “Tenisha.” She placed a hand over her mouth.

Tears pooled in Tenisha’s eyes and flowed down like a water fountain.

Love Quest 12A

 Hello, guys! Welcome again. This is the first part of Nimi’s confession to Laye. I hope to post the second part some time this week. Until then, enjoy this. P.S: I wonder how Laye will react when she finds out about Nimi and Ken.

Episode 12A

Raymond slid a key into the side door and turned it open. He let himself out into the balcony and released a deep breath. He held the rails and looked down on the mixed coloured roofs around. His eyes rested on an open compound just beyond the trees at the front of his own compound. Two women stood close to each other in what seemed to be a deep conversation. Children played in front of the compound. Raymond allowed his eyes roam the houses on the street, both fenced and unfenced. Each told its own tale. Each had secrets in them and nightmarish challenges.

Just as his own apartment was becoming a nightmare.

He sighed, then he turned around and went in to get his notepad and laptop. The apartment held no appeal whatsoever to him anymore. He pulled a handkerchief over his nose as he moved from the hallway to the bedroom. He left the door ajar when he went in. In quick strides, he found himself beside the nightstand. He picked what he needed and left quickly, closing the door with a slight thud behind him.

“Honey, is that you?” A feminine voice called from somewhere in the house.

Ray paused in his steps and stood on his toes. He made no reply to the question but instead, he tiptoed through the hallway and out to the balcony.

“Whew!” he released a sigh of relief. “That was a close call.”

He pulled a white plastic chair close to him with his leg and dropped his laptop and notepad, then he arranged the table in front of the white chair and positioned his laptop and notepad on it. He took his seat then pulling close to the table.  He powered on his system. He turned his neck from one side to the other as he waited for the system to come on. He picked his notepad and went through all he had to do before the balcony became too dark for him to continue working and mosquitoes invaded his privacy. He was grateful that he had done most of his work at the office, and he had little to do now. He would never have been able to meet up with his deadline if not for the extra time he put in at work. He knew he could hardly get a lot done at home and it was all because of one person –Nene.

Ever since she moved in with him months ago the balcony had become his favourite place in the house. He had abandoned the store he converted to an office, the living room and even the master’s bedroom. The balcony was his hideout where Nene had not yet invaded with her spiritualism. That made the balcony the only place free from the obnoxious smell of the incense she burnt regularly to chase away evil spirits lurking around and fighting against their union. He had ensured the safety of his hideout by keeping the key to the balcony to himself. He didn’t want to get back from work one day and find lit candles burning around. He wondered what his neighbours thought of him now. The smell must be getting to them too.

He sighed deeply and scrolled through his system. Her presence bothered him a lot but he couldn’t do anything about it. His mother loved Nene and couldn’t even wait for them to pick a wedding date. It still baffled him that the prophet had seen no harm in two unmarried people moving in together; in fact, he had even supported it, assuring him that Nene’s presence would make it impossible for any girl with a strange spirit to come close to him. Nene had a strong spiritual relationship with God and that would guide him always. His mother had not thought it twice before agreeing on his behalf.

He knew now what they meant by strong spiritual relationship because Nene ensured no day broke without her burning incense and no night passed without the same ritual. She was always in the spirit even when she was in the kitchen. Her tailoring business forgotten, she spent all her time at home “taking care” of his spiritual needs.

She is nothing but a monitoring spirit, Ray muttered under his breath, anger crossed his face. What made him accept her still confused him greatly. Was it his mother’s continuous plea? Or her strong belief in her? He had again fallen in line with what his mother wanted. The same way he broke up with Nimi just for her sake. Now he was stuck with Nene, the spiritualist, still because of his mother.

He ran a hand over his shaved head. How would he ever free himself from this mess without hurting his mother? He had no feelings whatsoever for Nene. She didn’t appeal to him and yet he must stay with her and even marry her. He pounded the table causing his laptop to jump.

What do I do? He wondered, staring at the bright screen of his PC. Just then he heard a slight rap on the glass window behind him. He turned around and found Nene, in a red and white cap, smiling at him. He grimaced, pushed his chair back and went to the front of the window.

“What?” he asked in the coldest tone he could muster, crossing his arms over his chest.

“It’s time to end our fast for today.” She chirped happily.

He looked as confused as he felt. Questions filled his eyes. “What do you mean ‘fast’?” He quizzed. “Are we fasting?”

“You see why I keep telling Mom that you are not taking this relationship seriously. How could you not remember that this week is the consecration week before we choose our wedding date?” She pouted, arms crossing her chest.

Ray opened and closed his mouth. No words came out. He just kept glaring at Nene on the other side of the window.

At his lack of immediate response, Nene continued chiding him. “This attitude of yours is so discouraging. Is this how you want us to start our own family? You don’t even pay attention to simple spiritual injunctions that will help us. I’m standing here talking to you across the window because you locked me in. That’s how poorly you think of me.” Her words were punctuated with tears. She coughed a little. “I’ve made sacrifices for you, Brother Raymond. You should do the same for me.” She turned around and walked to the dining area in a huff.

Who calls her fiancée brother? Raymond wondered. What kind of trouble had he gotten himself into? He felt the onset of a headache as he went back to his seat.

“Week of consecration for a wedding date? Hiya! What nonsense!” He muttered angrily, using the pads of his index and middle fingers to massage his temple.

Headaches would continue if he didn’t find a solution to his so-called relationship with Nene. His answer was with one person. His freedom also depended on that person. Time to take a bold step and damn the consequences. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and punched in her number. His prayer was that she would answer.

 

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

Nimi’s body was shaking all over and she couldn’t stop it. She turned the key on the Ladies door and locked herself in. No one must come in and see her in her current state or hear the secrets of her heart as she poured it out to her reflection in the mirror.

She paced the floor length, fists clenched together. A couple of minutes passed and she felt no relief. She heard a knock on the door. She paused and waited for the person to leave. The knock continued for a few more seconds, then she heard it no more.

The person must have gotten tired, she mused. She resumed her pacing. After a while, she stopped and faced the mirror.

“Laye,” she started. “I hope you’ll understand and forgive me. What I’m about to tell you could break your heart but you just have to see things the right way.” She paused and covered her face with her palms. “This is not flowing. Oh, how do I tell her?”

The same question had been on her lips since she started going steady with Ken. That was over a week ago. Each moment she spent with Laye had been laden with guilt. Each time she heard Laye talk about her love for Ken, her heart had skipped beats. She had to do something to stop her friend’s obsession. How to do it was what she didn’t know.

She slumped forward with her head bowed and arms on the sink. “Lord, help me.” The simple prayer left her lips. Praying was becoming a part of her daily routine since the time she had with Ela. She liked the feeling it gave. It was like a place to pour her heart and still feel safe that no one would find out. No one would pity her, and her heart would be at peace. It was quite refreshing.

“Lord, help me.” She prayed again. She closed her eyes and meditated on the scripture Ken had shared with her the previous night. ‘God is a present help in times of trouble.’ It sent warmth through her. She felt strengthened. The trembling had stopped. She moved away from the sink and looked at her reflection again. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, Nathaniel Bassey’s Olowogbogboro –her new ringtone– started playing. Startled, she jumped a little. Her hand went to her suit pocket where she had kept her phone while hurrying into the ladies after briefing. She pulled it out and looked at the screen. The number flashed across caused her to release a long hiss. She turned the ringer off and dropped it back in her pocket.

“What is Raymond’s problem? Why wouldn’t he stop calling me?” She asked, anger glazing her eyes. “I don’t need his drama now. I’ve got plenty of my own. He sho…” She paused when she heard voices outside the door.

“I tell you someone is inside. Someone locked it.” Someone said.

“Are you sure? Maybe the cleaner locked it after cleaning and forgot to return the key.” Another suggested.

“Hmm… maybe. Let’s look for the cleaner then.” The first speaker replied.

Nimi heard the shuffling of feet outside the door. She straightened and walked to the door. She turned it gently. The door clicked and came opened. She peeked down the hallway and hurried away leaving the door ajar. She kept throwing glances back at the two who went to look for the cleaner praying they wouldn’t see her hurrying away. Just as she turned around the corner towards the general work area, she bumped into someone.

“Oh, sor…” She started to apologize then she realized she had bumped into Ela. She placed a hand on her chest. “Thank God it’s you, Ela.” She said, releasing an audible sigh of relief.

“Thank God,” Ela replied. “What’s happening? I noticed you left the conference room in such a hurry. What’s going on?” She quizzed.

Nimi placed a hand on Ela’s shoulder and looked from the right to the left. “Let’s talk somewhere safe.” She whispered.

Ela gave a nod in understanding. She took her hand and pulled her towards the gents. They stopped beside the door.

“Office gossips hardly come here.” Ela winked at Nimi.

Nimi looked doubtful, her eyes scanning the area. “Are you sure?” She asked.

“Trust me,” Ela answered, touching her chest.

Nimi drew in a deep breath and released it slowly. “I want to tell Laye about Ken and me.” She told her.

Ela gave a small smile. “That’s the right thing to do, Nimi.”

Nimi nodded severally, drawing her lower lip in between her teeth. “But why is my heart beating so fast? It’s as if it’s going to burst out of my chest.”

Ela threw a comforting hand around her shoulder. “It’s normal to feel that way, Nimi. Doing the right thing is not always easy but it must be done.” She encouraged.

After a few heartbeats, Nimi gave a single nod. “You’re right, Ela. I’ll do it.” She resolved.

“Does Ken know about this?” Ela asked.

“No,” Nimi answered, shaking her head. “I don’t want to tell him. It will only put Laye down before him and I don’t want that.”

“That’s thoughtful of you, Nimi. God will help you.”

“Amen.” Nimi responded.

Ela held her hands and they prayed together. Nimi echoed loud ‘amens’ to the prayer made by Ela. She needed God to hear and give her a quick answer because she was meeting with Laye during lunch break.

Love Quest Ep 11

We’re back! Let’s continue with the our love triangle. Happy Reading!

Episode Eleven

The week after Ken’s meeting with Tenisha crawled slowly. It was the Friday of the following week and he still couldn’t figure out what to do with Tenisha or his growing feelings for Nimi. He was also concerned about Laye seeing him with Tenisha, but she seemed to be handling it maturely. She hadn’t said a word about it to him and he was sure she hadn’t told Nimi or else she would have said something to him. The only thing that gave him the chills about Laye keeping their chance meeting a secret was the way she looked at him each time their eyes met or they passed each other in the hallway. He had lost count of the times she winked at him and sent flirtatious smiles his way when she thought no one was watching. That made his concentration horrible. Twice during the morning briefing that week, he had forgotten what he was supposed to say and given an assignment to the wrong team. He couldn’t meet Nimi’s eyes when the MD drew his attention to this.

He winced at the thought. This was all Tenisha’s fault and Laye’s, who thought everything was funny. He crumbled the file in his hand and dumped it in the wastebasket close to his desk. His face was drawn in a hard line. The work he had wrongly assigned had been poorly done and it was totally his fault. If he had not given wrong information, the team would have done much better. Everything seemed to be working against him. He held his head in his arms and bit his lips to keep from screaming out his frustration.

Lately, since the return of Tenisha, he had been thinking more about screaming. Tenisha filled his every thought in a bad way. From the moment they met in Bliss Taste and Bite, she seemed to have gotten a certain power and she exerted it over him. Once she mentioned coming over to his house or his place of work he would find himself sweating and shaking. Instead of having her create a scene in his house or the office, he would rather meet up with her. That had led to meeting her thrice in the course of the week after their initial meeting.

Each time they met she was more determined to have him back and she did so with the whole of her might. Her dressing, her facial expressions, and her body language were all geared towards seducing him. The Ken he was before would have been up for it, but that Ken died months ago and he didn’t dare resurrect him. His greatest fear, however, was becoming a double of himself. He couldn’t afford to be carried away by Tenisha’s strong advances. He also couldn’t share this with anyone. His only weapon was prayer.

And he had been praying. He would keep praying, even though guilt kept rising within him. This was one storm he had to overcome. A lot depended on him overcoming. One of such was his growing feelings for Nimi. He had to put an end to what Tenisha represented in his life so he could be free of his horrible past. If he wanted to be with Nimi, then he had to be free and open for her. She didn’t deserve him bringing along a baggage into something new.

He shook his head and smiled. What was he even thinking? He hadn’t even told Nimi anything and he had started analysing what it would be with her.

‘Ah,’ he called out, stretching. He moved back to his desk and placed his hand on his chair. He made to pull it out but stopped when he heard a slight knock on the door and the doorknob turning. He straightened and waited for who was coming in. He expected his secretary but Nimi walked in.

His knees buckled under him when his eyes rested on her. He quickly grabbed the chair before him to steady himself. It wasn’t the first time she was walking into his office without his secretary alerting him since he had instructed her to grant Nimi access to his office whenever she came to see him. However, it was the first time he was caught off-guard. While he was thinking about her and his feelings for her, and lamenting Tenisha’s appearance, she showed up. He felt his heart thumping.

She came closer and flashed the smile that always melted his heart. “Hi, Ken.” She greeted softly. “What’s up?”

Ken took a deep breath and released it to calm his nerves. He replied her smile with a bright one too. Gone was the troubling thoughts of Tenisha. All he could see was beautiful Nimi looking all angelic in a creamy turtleneck gown suit. She had a red scarf around her neck with matching red shoes. Her hair was curled and combed to the right side of her face. He swallowed. The thumping of his heart was no longer out of fear. Excitement took the place of fear.

“Wow! Nimi, you look so beautiful.” He gushed.

Nimi laughed a little. “Thank you, kind sir.” She said curtsying. She stepped forward and took a seat.

Ken did the same. “I must have closed my eyes during briefing this morning.” He joked.

“Nah, you were busy screaming the head off Karibo’s team for their poor work.” She responded, her eyes taking a serious glint.

Ken winced. “It was that bad, right?”

Nimi nodded. “Very.” She said.

Ken rubbed his palms together and looked away. “You blame me too, right.” He said in a small voice.

Nimi sat forward and touched his entwined palms on the table. “I don’t blame you. I just feel something is not right.” Her voice softened reflecting her concern as she spoke. “Maybe you’re stressed and you need to rest. Maybe you are taking things too hard. You’re trying so hard to get it right.”

A line appeared between Ken’s brows. How I wish it was that easy, he thought within. He looked at her. “I’m trying to avoid a disaster.” He simply said.

Nimi leaned back in her chair, releasing his hands. “It wouldn’t be a disaster if you allow others to help with it. The way we did with the Seasoning Company account and now we await the good news.” She countered.

Ken shook his head. “No, some things are better done alone. Alone with God in heaven.”

At that Nimi threw her hands up. “Well, if the matter is with the big guy up there,” she raised a small finger to the ceiling, “then, I have nothing to say. I just want you to be fine.”

His expression dulled at her offhand reference to God. If she felt that way towards God, why was he so drawn to her then? Why was he almost spilling his guts about his feelings and his troubles to her? What kind of relationship would they have? Maybe she would take him more seriously if he just told her how being friends with her was making him feel. He shook his head. A little while, Ken, a little while.

“You should make peace with God.” He told her, eyes fixed on her.

A look he guessed was sorrow marked her face. Her smile from before left her lips and she looked away from him. “I’m at peace with God.” She replied fingering the company’s wristband on her wrist.

“Are you sure? You know you can trust me right, Nimi.” He pressed.

She kept her eyes firmly away from him. “I know.”

“Then why won’t you talk to me? You mean a lot to me, Nimi.” He said in a near whisper.

She turned back to him, questions in her eyes.

He cleared his throat, got up from his chair and came to stand before her. “You’re more than a friend to me I must confess. I really want to share your burden. I really want to be happy with you.” He placed a hand on her shoulder. “What I just said is straight from my heart.”

As the seconds ticked after his bombshell, he remained where he was in front of Nimi watching the different emotions flicker through her face like a child’s painting. He felt her heartbeat on the inside of his palm as a rumbling thunder. Regret gnawed at him then. He should have waited as he had always told himself. What made him spill his guts to her like that, catching her off-guard? He still had Tenisha to worry about and now he was about to lose the friendship that gladdened his heart.

He drew back his hand from her shoulder and placed it on the table behind him. He drew a deep breath and spoke up when she kept mute. “I’m sorry if I scared you. I didn’t mean to. I just couldn’t keep it any longer. Please bear with me.” His explanation was lame and he knew it –especially when Nimi jumped off the chair she was seated. A look of realization outlined her features.

“I’m sorry too.” She said. He stretched his hand to hold her but she moved back and placed a hand over her mouth. With a soft gasp, she fled the office. He took two steps after her but stopped himself. They were still in the office. That wouldn’t change because he loved Nimi.

And his true feeling was out.

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

Nimi ran down the corridor and didn’t mind the strange looks she got from colleagues and teammates. All she wanted to do was to get away from what she had dreaded for a while; what she had known for a while but had no courage to admit. If she was truthful she would even admit that she had yearned for it. She had wanted it badly, so bad like a child reaching for a cone of ice-cream.

She cornered at the end of the hallway and dived into the Ladies. Two ladies from Account department stood in front of the mirror with powder brushes and smiles that told the tale of gossipping than powdering. Caught in the act, they fell silent the moment she entered and went back to actually powdering their faces.

Nimi didn’t mind them. She had no business with them just as they had none with her. She wasn’t even close to them and so couldn’t be bothered by what they were discussing or her dishevelled state. Her curls were flying all over and her scarf had shifted base to the back of her neck. She met the eyes of one in the mirror and adjusted her scarf first. They soon packed up and left her alone. The moment the door closed behind them, Nimi fell forward, placing her crown on the mirror.

“Oh, Nimi, what have you gotten yourself into?” She lamented. She placed a hand over her heart. “This heart is beating so fast because of your foolishness. How could you allow things get to this extent? Oh, why didn’t you stop it?” She drew herself from the mirror and pressed a finger to her reflection. “You want to be like your sister, right? You want what your friend wants?” She snarled, eyes flashing like a hot coal. The next second she sobered. “But he chose you and your heart responded. There’s no crime here. You are not your sister. You will never be her. Never!” She screamed and broke into sobs. She held the sink and went down gradually still sobbing until her backside connected with the cold tiled floor.

Right there she wept for what she felt for Ken and what would happen to her friendship with Laye when everything came out. She wept for fear of being labelled her sister. She wept for her lack of willpower to open up to Laye about her feelings for Ken too. Feelings she could no longer hide and wanted to explore as much as he wanted to too –now that he had admitted it too.

Hands drew her slouched body up and circled her in a bear hug. Her chin rested on the shoulder and she knew who it was. Ela was at the right place at the right time. Just when she needed to talk and she needed some talking to.

“It’s Okay, Nimi, all will be well,” Ela said in a soothing voice that warmed the coldness in her heart.

Nimi gave a strong nod as if her life depended on it. She had to believe that all would be well. She washed her face at Ela’s instruction and applied a little powder that Ela provided to her face.

“Much as this place seem private for this kind of things, it’s still the toilet and we had better leave. I got held up in here when those two drama queens came and won’t stop talking about the chief accountant’s son.” She smiled. “All the same thank God I was here when you came in Nimi.” She added.

Nimi nodded. She didn’t trust her voice yet to give a response.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Ela asked.

Yet another nod.

“I know just the right place. Let’s go.”

Ela led them to the office of one of the Creative Directors. He was on leave and Ela had the key to his office. They soon sat opposite each other.

Ela waited. Nimi cleared her throat and what her meltdown in the Ladies was all about came tumbling out. She told it right from Raymond. She included her sister.

“That’s all,” she said when she ended the long story of what her life had become.

Ela heaved a deep sigh. “Some secrets are meant to be told and not kept to avert future disaster. Is it not better Laye knows everything now and especially from you than for her to find out later or through the grapevine in this office? I need not tell you what would happen then. Do the right thing, Nimi.” she advised.

Nimi rubbed her forehead, eyes shut tightly. “I fear Laye’s reaction.”

Ela touched her arm. “Talk to God about it. Pray, Nimi.”

Nimi bit her lower lip fighting back another wave of tears. Would God listen? She had fought him for a long time now. Why would He listen to someone like her? She shook her head.

Ela drew closer to her. “Nimi, when we turn back to God we find out He has been looking at us all the while. We are the ones who move away from Him. It’s time to go back home, Nimi.”

A tear fell on her cheek. “But how do I get over the fact that God allowed His so-called children to treat us badly? How come He never for once rebuked them for the way they judged and condemned us? I mean He’s supposed to be a father to us all and not to a few who claim to be so perfect.” She rasped, her sobs cracking her voice.

“You know, Nimi, man’s judgement or condemnation doesn’t mirror God’s heart towards the condemned or judged. I won’t go into who is to blame and who is not to. Neither will I talk about the right or wrong approach of the church, but I’ll state one clear fact: God will not judge us on that last day based on any man’s misdoing towards us; He would judge us for our own misdoing. If it is so then it is better to leave every man to his conscience and to God, the righteous God.

I know it could be difficult sometimes when the people who hurt you are of the household of faith but be strong and courageous. Let God guide your heart and grant you wisdom to deal with them. Remember right on the cross, Jesus prayed for those who crucified him. Just like Jesus, forgive those who hurt in the church for they do not know what they’re doing.”

She held Nimi hands. “Never let any man’s action or reaction cause you your relationship with God. You will be miserable if you allow that happened just like you are now. God loves you, Nimi, and He has no business with how some people in the church see your family. I’m sure not everyone in the church behaved badly towards your family.”

Nimi gave a small nod biting back more tears. The wall she had built around her heart against God and the church was cracking and she liked it. For a long time, she had bottled up her anger and had carried it like a cross on her neck. She had allowed it fuel her hatred towards the church council but Ela’s soothing words cracked that hatred and anger she wore like a shield and she liked it. She liked the freedom she could feel in her heart. She liked the feeling of letting go. While it would take a total crumbling for her to be completely freed she knew Ela had set her on the right path and with a friend like her she was sure all would turn out well.

She sniffled a little then wipe her face with the back of her hand. “You know my mom remained in that church and she has friends. The times I care to listen to her talk about the church she would always let me know we were always asked after in church. She would tell me about those who send their greetings, but my response to all these had always been suspicious. I read meanings into their greetings and what I now see as innocent questions about our welfare. Ela, this thing has been eaten me up for a long time, I hope you will help me. I really want to let go. I really want to see my dad happy again and I really want our family to come back to the way we were before.”

Ela flashed a bright smile. “I’m so happy you made this decision. God will help you and see you through. However, it’s important for you to forgive your sister. She made a mistake. What she did was wrong and it hurt your family but please, forgive her. Soften your heart towards her and allow her to come back home. See her as the prodigal daughter and welcome her as the father of the prodigal son did.”

Doubt crossed Nimi’s face. “But what about my father?” She asked.

Ela patted her shoulder. “Just do your part first and let God take care of the rest. Let us pray.”

As Ela’s sonorous voice lifted to the heavens with words of prayers, fresh tears spilled down Nimi’s cheeks but this time, they weren’t tears of pain, anger, hurt, hatred and fear; they were tears of sweet relief. God was mending her broken spirit.

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

When Ken didn’t hear anything from Nimi for the rest of that day at work, he prepared himself for the worst. He prepared his heart towards losing a friend who was special to him. He blamed himself for it. He should have waited. He should have sorted out Tenisha’s issue first before making a move with Nimi but something had pushed him from within. Looking at her that morning with all the concern she felt for him showing, he had seen a worthy partner and so he had taken the leap.

His heart bled when he knew he had lost her and that had given him the courage to snap at Tenisha and prayed like he hadn’t since Tenisha’s arrival. So he was totally shocked when she sent him a text some minutes after seven and suggested they meet. His mind went to restaurants around but fear of running into Tenisha made him suggest his house, and she agreed.

Now they sat together at his dining, a bottle of malt and a glass cup before her, pouring out their hearts. In truth, Nimi was the only one doing the pouring as she told him everything about her family, relationship with God and Raymond. While she talked about the encounter she had with God that day through Ela, he felt stirred in the spirit to also open up to her about Tenisha. He waited for an opening but got none. Nimi kept talking and the burden increased within him. When she finally paused to take a sip of her drink, he quickly spoke up.

“I have something to say.” He said.

Nimi dropped the glass on the table. “Let me just conclude, Ken.” She replied. “When you confessed your feelings this morning, I was not ready. A lot went through my mind at that moment and I left. I have told you about it all now. I feel fresh but I know there would be challenges and all, but if you’re by my side and God on our sides, a lot will be worth it. So I…” She paused for effect, the corner of her lips lifted in a smile.

Ken stretched his neck and waited for the conclusion.

“So I confess my feelings for you also, and I accept you with the whole of my heart.”

Before she ended her statement, Ken was out of his chair, his arms wrapped around her. Her last words were muffled into his chest. He didn’t mind he had gotten his answer. He whispered promises to her and assured her of a great time together. They spent the rest of the time reminiscing about their meeting and how it all started.

Nimi left a little past nine leaving Ken excited beyond words. It was when he knelt down to say his night prayers that he remembered that he had not told Nimi about Tenisha.