Love Quest Ep 7

The bond of love is strong even a mother can’t break it. Or can she? Let’s continue with Ken, Nimi and Laye. Happy Reading!

 

Episode Seven

Raymond sat in his parked car a few houses from his parents’ house and pondered over what had become his love life. His mother had taken over in the few days since his separation with Nimi. She and her prophet had prayed and counselled him. They had finally found someone among the choristers in the church that would be the perfect partner for him.

Raymond shook his head. He couldn’t believe that he had actually driven down the few kilometres from his house to meet a stranger in his parents’ house who would be his wife. His mother had seemed rather pleased with the lady whom he had not even seen. She had sung her praises over the phone and assured him she was the best of all. He had to meet her that very day, and so he had gotten into his car and driven down there. He had, however, slowed down when the house came into view. He never imagined he would be meeting another lady.

Where was his Nimi? Where was the one that had his heart? Could this lady fire up his blood as Nimi had done? Could she excite him as much as Nimi?

These questions kept him right in his car with worried lines across his face. He looked to the street ahead through his windscreen. Activities on the street were just picking up after the monthly cleaning on the last Saturday of every month.

A mixed crowd gathered around a tap to fetch water; women with wrappers around their chests and waist, some with babies strapped to their backs, young boys and girls were also in this group. They formed groups and discussed among themselves while the tap filled bucket after bucket in a trickle. Just opposite the place where the tap was, a woman stood over a grinding engine working vigorously as she filled the engine with tomatoes and pepper. A girl and a boy stood away from her chatting while they waited for the tomato paste from the engine.

Raymond released a slow sigh as these played out before him. Life would not be stilled because his heart was breaking. People would go on with their lives. If he wanted to be as free as the boy and girl laughing heartily, then he had to take his state of heart into his own hands and correct what had gone wrong. To do that, he had to call Nimi.

He detached his phone from his car charger and quickly scrolled through his contact. He clicked on Nimi’s number and dialled it.

The call went unanswered the first time. His heart raced in his chest when the phone started ringing again. Nimi picked it up after three rings.

“He… he… hello,” He called, stuttering.

“Yes? What do you want?” She asked in a chilled tone.

He winced at her chilly tone. He swallowed to calm his alarming heart rate. “How are you?” He inquired instead without giving an answer to her question.

She scoffed. “You have no right to know about that anymore. Get to the point, Raymond. Why did you call me?”

“Nimi,” he whispered. His heart thudded so heavily that he was not sure he could think of a single appropriate thing to say. “I am… I am very sorry.” The words came out slowly.  He heard nothing in response. If not for her soft breathing across the line, he would have thought she had hung up the phone. The fact that she had picked up was a good sign, and to think that she had not dropped the call was yet another good sign. He pushed on with as much emotion as he could muster.

“You’re all I have. You’re all my heart wants, Nimi. I can never love anyone like you.” He confessed. Was that a sniff he heard? Whatever he had heard, he would win his love again. “Forgive my error, Nimi. I can’t have the one my mother has chosen for me. I want to have you. I’m right here thinking about you while my mother awaits me with the lady she has chosen for me. Nimi, how can I have that lady when all my heart wants is you?” His eyes glistened with unshed tears.

Nimi laughed. A harsh sound that caused his ears to ring out loud with a funny rhythm like a worn-out church bell.

“Yeah right, you will have that lady, Raymond, because your mother says so. Forgive me, but I am not interested in a cry baby’s story. Go and tell this to your mother, and not me. When you win that battle, come back and talk to me. I’m not even sure I’ll be waiting. Goodbye.”

He heard the click of the phone. He moved it away from his ears and stared at it. Nimi! Nimi! His heart cried. Her words struck him then. How would he confront his mother? How would he break her heart and tell her he wanted no one but Nimi? He could still hear her joy as she told him of the lady she and the prophet had chosen. How would he cause her such sorrow to insist on being with Nimi?

He shook his head. No, he would not do that to his mother. He would meet the lady and learn to love again. If only his heart would respond. With this resolution, he turned the key in the ignition and drove down to his parents’ house to meet the one that would create new memories with him and shape his future.

**********

Nimi banged her fist on her desk causing her files to jump. She didn’t bother as they flew about the table and landed on the floor. Her cheeks coloured in anger as she replayed the phone conversation she just had with Raymond.

“The sheer nerve of him!” she muttered. “Nonsense! Let him confront his mother.”

The click sound from the keyboard next to her booth seized, causing her to raise her eyes. She looked into the concerned eyes of the copywriter that was beside her. She forced her lips to smile and nodded at him like nothing happened. She pushed her seat forward and picked the files on the ground, all the while fuming at Raymond’s call.

How could he claim to love and couldn’t do without her, and yet he was going to meet with another lady? Why did he not tell his mother off from the instant she suggested he break up with her? It was a waste of time now crying over spilt milk.

She arranged the files she had disturbed and wished she was not on duty. It would have done her much good to receive Raymond’s call at home. It would have given her enough time to rant and rave without anyone thinking she was loco. Her eyes went to the copywriter beside her. He seemed engrossed with the work they had been assigned to do that morning. The work she was doing when Raymond’s call interrupted her. It annoyed her a great deal that she had even received his call.

But she couldn’t help it.

She had spent years with him, creating memories. Those feelings would not go suddenly. But she would not indulge them. If she would move on from the heartbreak Raymond had caused her, then she would be strong and not entertain any memories that would sadden her now.

She picked up her phone and scrolled to his number. Deleting it would change nothing for his number was stored in her brain. But she couldn’t bear seeing his name on her phone and so she pressed the delete button. It was the same feeling she had that had led her to delete all of his pictures from her phone. Not even a text message had been left on her phone. Raymond was her past, and she would treat him so.

Fresh pain gripped her heart all over. She fought back tears. No! She would be strong. She looked towards the corridor to Laye’s working area. She wished with all her heart that her friend was on duty. She would have given her a shoulder to cry on and encouraged her. While her eyes were strained at the corridor, she didn’t see Ken standing before her until he snapped his fingers in her face. She jerked back in the chair and lifted shocked eyes to him.

“Sir!” She called out in surprise.

He gave a rueful smile. “Hi, Miss Tombiri.” He pulled out one hand from his pocket and waved at her.

Others around raised their voices in greeting and he nodded in acknowledgement.

“I didn’t know you were here.” She told him.

He leaned against the glass frame that marked out her working area, looking very handsome in a red and white striped polo on a navy-blue chinos trouser. His eyes twinkled behind plain fashionable glasses.

Nimi swallowed, amazed at the friendliness radiating in his eyes. She listened to his voice like soft music to her ears.

“I have some work to finish up, so I decided to work on them instead of staying back home to do nothing.” He explained.

“Oh, I see. We’re also here to work on the Diaper Account.” She replied, gesturing to the open computer in front of her.

Ken nodded. “That’s nice. I trust your work.”

For reason she couldn’t explain, his compliment sent a warmth through her down to her toes. She smiled up at him. “Thank you, sir.”

“Er… Miss Tombiri, I’ll like you to join me in my office.” He informed, pointing towards the corridor. “If you’re almost done with your work.” He added quickly.

“I’m done,” she answered immediately, getting up. Her face coloured with embarrassment when he smiled at her quick response. “Hmm… I mean, I’ll be done in another ten minutes.” She adjusted.

Ken gave a short laugh. “Alright, I’ll be expecting you then.”

He waved bye to the other members of her team and walked away to his office.

 

Ken waited for Nimi in his office. He powered his system and tried working but found it difficult to concentrate. All he kept thinking was the time he would have with Nimi. After his last conversation with her, he had not stopped wondering about her.

Beyond her beauty –and she was beautiful, he kept picturing her close to his heart. What was it about her that wanted to break through his carefully built wall? He was certain he wasn’t falling for her beauty. Beauty was what got him entangled with Tenisha.

At the thought of Tenisha, cold sweat broke from his forehead. She had called severally in the last couple of days, and it had gotten him so worried. Each time she called he had ignored her call. He had no courage to answer her for he dreaded what message she might pass across to him. He was scared also for himself. How strong was he to resist the beautiful and sensuous Tenisha?

No, he would not risk his newfound relationship with God. He would not gamble away his peace of mind. He would keep praying for God to take Tenisha away. Even as he thought of that, something deep within told him he hadn’t seen the last of her.

He had no time to dwell on this new feeling as Nimi knocked on the door.

He stood up when she walked in. While she sat in her booth working, he had not seen her fully. But as she worked towards him now he admired God’s handiwork in her creation. The straight, blue gown she wore suited her perfectly. Much as he hated to admit it, he noticed her beautiful figure. She smiled at him.

“You’re welcome.” He said, replying her smile with one of his own. “Please, have your seat.” He pointed to one of the two chairs before him.

She sat down gracefully. “Thank you, sir.” She replied.

He noticed she looked more relaxed than she had been the last time she was in his office, and happier too. Whatever was bothering her then must have left her or she had hidden it properly. Whatever the case may be, he liked that she was better than the last time she was in his office.

“You look more relaxed today.” He said before he could stop himself. He leaned back in his chair and regarded her.

She laughed a little. “I’m pushing out what wanted to take away my happiness.” She replied.

“I hope you succeed.”

She nodded. “I hope I do.”

Ken pushed his chair forward. “It’s important we don’t allow anything take our happiness away. I don’t believe we should give anyone or anything that power.”

“I agree, but sometimes, one can’t help it.” Her tone lost its lustre. A faraway look crept into her eyes.

Ken realized he had jolted a sad memory. He tried to liven up the conversation again. “Well, we just have to fight down anything that wants to steal away our happiness.” He winked.

She smiled. “We’ll try.” She gave a conspiratorial response.

He talked to her then about the Seasoning Company Account and his intention to include her in the team that would work on the account. She expressed her delight at this and promised to give her best. He went on to share some ideas with her and she responded with her own ideas. By the time the conversation was unwinding, they had become very comfortable in each other’s company, sharing laughter and smiles.

He was sharing one of the funny incidents that occurred in his former employment where he mistakenly sent a love message to his boss instead of his girlfriend, and how he couldn’t look the man in the eyes after that day when his phone chimed loudly. He allowed it ring for a while just so he could enjoy the joyful laughter of Nimi. When the phone kept ringing, she drew his attention to it.

Immediately he picked up the phone and saw the caller ID, his expression became clouded. His laughter got stuck in his throat. Nimi noticed this instantly.

“Is all well, sir?” She asked with utmost concern, seeing his sour expression.

He dropped the phone back on the table without answering the call. He gave no immediate response as he waited for the phone to ring again.

And it did.

It was the way it had been for days. Tenisha would call for five to six times at a time before she would rest. He shook his head in self-pity. Tenisha had called at a time when he was free from all the baggage of his past. Her call had, however, caused those baggage to return with vengeance.

“I just feel bad when I think about some things in my past.” He told her in a sad tone.

Nimi leaned forward in her chair, understanding filling her eyes. “I feel the same too.” She replied in a whisper.

“A lot of things I did should never have been done.” He looked thoughtful for some seconds, then he shook off the sad memories. He took his phone and placed it on silent mode. He smiled up at Nimi. “It doesn’t matter anymore. I have found peace in God. I hope you have too. Though I wonder what you could have done wrong.”

Nimi’s eyes became guarded. They shifted from him and stared at the laptop on his desk. “It’s… er… it’s nothing bad.” She responded in an off-hand tone.

He knew it was more than that, but he would not push. Time would come when her heart would be opened to him. The time wasn’t now. He had to gain her trust and that was what he would do. He leaned across the table and took her hands in his own, enfolding and clasping them warmly. “Miss Tombiri, all will be fine. Don’t fret over anything. God is in control.”

A soft gasp escaped her lips. She looked down at their intertwined hands on the table. She said nothing. When he was sure his message had sunk into her, he removed his hands from hers. She pressed one hand to her cheek.

“I’m truly grateful for this time, sir. I truly needed a friend today especially and you fitted properly.” A set of dazzling white teeth gleamed in appreciation.

Feelings of triumph seeped through his veins and excited him like nothing had since he started receiving Tenisha’s calls again. Somehow he felt like he had just conquered the first stage of a difficult challenge. When Nimi left his office that day, he was filled with a certainty that there was more to the two of them and he was ready to unravel what was there.

 

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Love Quest Ep 6

Karibo? Ken? someone is getting confused. Happy Reading!

Episode Six

Nimi shoulders quivered as tears spilled to her face. She recounted what had happened between her and Raymond to Laye. She felt the crush of her break up with him.

“It’s like a dream, Laye. To think the reason for our break up is something so insignificant; a storm in a teacup. How could he break up with me over my sister’s action?” She lamented. “Was it my fault that my sister preferred her husband’s friend to her husband? I also wish to know the hungry prophet that told him that such character trait was in our blood. Imagine the nonsense! Did God tell him that?” Her words blazed with anger.

Laye placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Don’t trouble yourself over this, Nimi. It wasn’t meant to be. The right man will come. Raymond is tied to his mother’s wrapper. Thank God it ended now, or your life with him would have been horrible. Don’t waste any more tears on him.” She said soothingly.

“All I was worth to him was a text message, Laye; just a text message.” Her face contorted in pain. “He sent a message to me last night, telling me he was sorry. What would his sorry do for me? I don’t need his pity.” She cried out in anguish. A few heads turned towards them.

Laye offered a smile to them and wave them back to what they were doing. “Just talking.” She muttered to them. “Nothing to worry about, or gossip about.” She added to the two copywriters opposite Nimi’s booth with a sly wink. They turned away. “Nimi, it’s okay.”

Nimi sniffed. “I wish I had kept quiet about my family affairs. I wish I hadn’t told him anything about my family, especially my sister’s case. He would have had nothing to use against me.” She said in a voice laden with regret.

“This milk has been spilled, Nimi. Stop crying over it, please. You’re beautiful and kind. It is Raymond’s lost. Forget him.” She bent over her and gave her a hug. They were interrupted by a knock on the glass divider around the booth. “Yes?” Laye raised her eyes to the helper standing on the other side of the glass.

The helper came around and stood in front of them. “Mr. Ken wants to see Miss Tombiri.” She told them.

Laye pulled back from Nimi and stared straight at the helper. “What did you say?” She asked.

“Mr. Ken said I should call Miss Tombiri.” She repeated; her eyes on Nimi.

Nimi looked up then and exchanged glances with Laye. She saw the confusion in Laye’s eyes and gave a shrug in response. “Thanks.” She told the helper. “I’ll be there”. The helper strode off. “I wonder what he wants.” She said, worry creasing her brow. Her tears from moments ago forgotten.

Laye folded her arms. “Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe he wanted to send for me.” She said in a small voice.

Nimi gave a small laugh. “That would be good. I bet both of you would soon connect.” She picked her hankie from the desk and blew her nose into it. She pulled out her drawer and took her powder brush. She touched it to her face lightly. “Don’t worry, when I go there, I’ll tell him about you.” She teased, rubbing Laye’s cheeks.

Laye laughed too. “I am Josephine and you are Mr. Ken’s butler. Pass in a good word for me, will you?”

“Oh, I will, my friend.” Nimi curtsied. She drew a deep breath.  “I’m grateful for this distraction. “She said. “I can’t imagine moaning over Raymond all day.” She smiled then. “Thank God for Mr. Ken. Let me go and hear what he has to say.”

“Okay,” Laye answered, waving her off.

***********

Nimi stood in front of Ken and tried to look anywhere but at him. “You sent for me, sir.” She said, her fingers clasped behind her back. Her eyes fixed on the shelf to his left.

Ken nibbled on his biscuit. He offered her a seat. “Sit down, Miss Tombiri.” He said, mouthful. She did. He smiled. “Come and join me. I’m just having snacks since I missed lunch because of work.” He stretched the packet of biscuit to her.

Nimi shook her head at his offer. “Thank you, sir, but I’m not a fan of biscuit.” She told him.

His eyes widened at that. “Oh, really? You’re the first girl saying that, Miss Tombiri.” He replied. He shook off the crumbs of biscuit from his palms.

Nimi allowed a small smile. “Well, I just don’t like biscuits.”

“Good for you then,” Ken said. He took a swig from his bottle of coke. “Would you like a drink?” He asked, his eyes going to the refrigerator standing at his right hand.

Nimi declined. She looked down at her intertwined fingers on her laps. She didn’t want him to see the question in her eyes. She also didn’t want to scream at him that she was not in the mood for small talks. Who cared about biscuits and a drink when her heart was shattered? She sighed. He must have sensed her impatience and so went on to why he called her.

“I noticed you are the only female copywriter on your team.” He started. She said nothing. “I must say I’m highly impressed by your works. I’ve gone through your team’s previous presentations and I’m quite impressed. From what I’ve heard, you do your work very well.” He gave her an admiring smile.

His compliment did not get to her. She was used to comments like that about her ability as a Copywriter. Raymond had loved her for her attention to details. Well, that was history now.

She shoved down thoughts of Raymond and forced a smile for Mr. Ken. “Thank you, sir.” She responded.

He leaned forward. “I’ll like to hear from you the challenges you have in your team.”

Nimi gazed at him like he wasn’t serious. He had spent some time with the MD discussing exactly that with him. Why was he was asking her the same question? She smelled a rat.

He looked expectantly at her. She had no choice than to repeat the same things he had already been told. While she talked, he picked up a pen and wrote in a notepad on his desk. Her eyes fastened to his head while he wrote. She swallowed. While she stared, she stopped talking.

He looked up. “Miss Tombiri?” He called, questioning.

She covered her embarrassment with a cough. “I’m sorry, sir. I had something in my throat.” She rushed to explain. She pressed a hand to her throat and coughed again.

Ken rolled the pen between his fingers. “Your throat or your mind?”

She didn’t expect that.  She looked up at him with wide eyes. “Sir?”

He looked thoughtful for a while, then he shook his head. “Never mind.” He told her. “I have noted your points. I’ll do something about them.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“That will be all for now. If I need further help, I’ll call on you. I trust you will give your best when it’s time to work. I hope you will be available.”

She nodded. “Of course, sir.” She pushed the chair back and got up.

Ken leaned back in his chair. “Miss Tombiri, please take good care of yourself. Tough times never last but tough people do.” He smiled and waved her off.

Outside the office, Nimi placed a hand on her racing heart. Was it my imagination, or had Mr. Ken’s voice soften when he made the last statement, she wondered. No, Nimi, don’t think about that. She walked quickly back to her booth.

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

Layefa paced back and forth in Nimi’s booth. She waited for Nimi to get back. Severally she peeped down the corridor awaiting Nimi’s arrival. It took all she had not to go down to Ken’s office to eavesdrop. She was sure Didi wouldn’t mind. She, who was already married, would understand a lady’s yearning for her own man. She counted each minute Nimi spent in there. She wondered what they were discussing. Maybe she should just go there and pretend to need something from Nimi. That could work.

She adjusted her skirt. If she would appear before Ken again then she would appear better than he had seen her earlier. She powdered her face with Nimi’s powder left in her drawer. She splashed her lip gloss across her lips. She gave a satisfied smile when she looked in the mirror attached to Nimi’s powder.

Just as she stepped out of the booth, she saw Karibo striding towards her. She straightened her back and made to walk past him, but he put a restraining hand on her arm. She looked up at him with questioning eyes.

“How did it go with Mr. Ken?” He asked.

“Very well.” She replied, looking towards the corridor.

“You didn’t come back to give us feedback,” Karibo stated.

“I had to attend to something important.” She told him. She looked at her wrist that was still held in his arm and lightly pulled it. His grip tightened around her wrist. The more she pulled, the more he tightened his grip. She met his eyes, anger flashing in hers.

“What is the meaning of this, Karibo?” She quizzed.

He said nothing but kept staring into her eyes. Then he looked down at their clasped hands after a while –his large and hard, hers much softer. An ache started up in her chest. She couldn’t speak. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat suddenly. Why was she reacting this way to Karibo? Why was she even standing with him in the middle of a work area, hands clasped?

“Karibo,” she said softly, “Let me go.”

He dropped her hand suddenly as if he had just been informed that she had a plague. His expression became clouded as the sky before a storm. “I’m sorry.” He whispered. “I’ll see you later.” He turned around swiftly and left in large strides. He couldn’t have gone any faster.

Laye stood where she was watching his retreating back until he disappeared around the corner leading to the staircase. Her beating did not stop, and it wasn’t Ken’s name that came to her heart. Her mind at that time was filled with Karibo and the strange encounter they just had. While she stood thinking about that, Nimi arrived and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“What are you looking at?” She asked, peeping over Laye’s shoulder.

Laye turned to her and immediately remembered what she was going to do before Karibo’s arrival. Her eyes lit up then when she thought of hearing about Ken. Karibo was pushed to the back of her mind.

“How did it go with him? What did he say?” She rushed on with her questions, pulling Nimi to the safety of the booth.

“Yes?” She said.

Nimi smiled. “Calm down, my dear desperate friend,” she teased.

Laye huffed. “Desperate you say; I am not.” She replied. “I just like to get things over with. You know how many “miss” we have flying around here, and you know how many are available.  I can’t have them trying their luck with Mr. Ken and hitting jackpot. It has to be me.” She said passionately, looking herself over. “I am sure I fit him.”

Nimi’s lips formed an ‘oh’ as laughter rippled through her. “Yes, you fit him.” She picked some files on her desk and arranged them in order.

Laye waited with bated breath while Nimi tortured her doing one thing or the other. When she couldn’t take it again, she grasped the last set of files Nimi was arranging and dropped them on the table with a whoosh.

“Just tell me for crying out loud.” She shrieked, a vein popping in her neck.

The corners of Nimi’s mouth quirked up in a sly grin. “Alright. We didn’t say anything of importance. He just wanted to know about the challenges we have in my team and if I would be available to work on any account he wants me to work on.”

Laye screwed up her face. “That’s all?” She asked, disbelief clouding her features.

“Yes.” Nimi shrugged.

Laye’s shoulders drooped down like Nimi’s had been earlier when she had been crying over Raymond.

“Okay then.” She pouted.

Nimi touched her, comforting her as she had done to her earlier. “Hey, Ken is not the only man you know. There are so many of them, even right here.”

At Nimi’s words, Karibo’s face flashed across her heart. It jolted her out of her dejection. Why would Karibo’s face filled her mind’s eyes when Nimi was talking about other men?

He had never really appealed to her; not his squared-shaped face or balding head. She didn’t find his bushy beard appealing or the folds of fat on his belly that his average height had not hidden properly. She never even seen him more than a colleague. He was serious-minded and she liked him just like that. It kept her fantasies at bay while working with him and reserved it for people who deserved it; people like Ken.

Yes, Ken. The one she yearned for with every fibre of her being. She liked Nimi, but she couldn’t agree with her on the existence of “other men”. There was only one man for her –Ken.

Love Quest Ep 4

So my pen went on a very long holiday and didn’t get back on time. Pweee!! sorry about that. A lot also kept me away: a blown power pack was one of the lot.Well, I’m right here, and I’m taking back my space. Hey! get back here with me! Winks! I’m really giving my best to this story and I know you’ll like it, just like others.

If you have forgiven my long absence, sit down and get back on the train with my fav characters: Nimi, Laye and Ken.

Welcome Backkkkk!!!!!!

 

Episode Four

Her journey home that evening was the longest Nimi had ever taken. Tears pooled in her eyes and flowed ceaselessly. She didn’t mind the curious glances she got from people whom she shared the tricycle with. By the time she alighted at her bus-stop and made her way down the street to her house, the rain she had dreaded earlier came in torrent. This time she neither walked fast nor prayed against it. She felt no concern for her braids already soaking wet. Her tears and the rain blended together. Where one stopped, the other continued.

The street was deserted, save for the few who took shelter in front of their shops or unfenced compounds. She heard a few whistles calling to her, but she didn’t stop. The rain was less heavy than the one pouring in her heart and manifesting in her eyes.

Her heart burned within her chest. She clenched it and staggered a little. Her world had shattered. She could take no step further. She sank into the water puddle in the middle of the street few feet from her house. Around her, the rain poured. Bits of sand and stones stuck to her clothes. She felt content sitting right in the middle of the street. It made sense that she should drown herself in the sorrow that followed her breakup with Raymond.

Someone must have seen her fall, because in no time she was pulled back to her feet, and was staring into the concerned eyes of a middle-aged man.

“Are you alright?” He asked, concern outlining his words.

She looked at him for a few heartbeats but said nothing. When she didn’t say anything, he led her away from the pouring rain and under one of the roofs of a shop that provided shelter from the driving rain.

Curious glances met her when the man led her there. She said nothing, neither did she meet anyone’s eyes. She looked at the man who had helped her briefly before turning away to stare into the pouring rain.

“I’m fine. My house is close. I’ll go now.” she said in a low tone, barely audible above the sound of the rain on the zinc roof. She was about to cross the gutter separating the front of the shop from the street when she remembered she hadn’t said thanks. She turned to him, “thanks,” she added.

She walked away then. The strange silence didn’t affect her. She was sure they would talk about her. They would wonder about her strangeness, and someone who knew her among them would point out that she was the sister of the lady who married her husband’s friend. She wasn’t Nimi to so many on her streets and beyond anymore; she was the sister of the one who committed an abomination.

That had never really mattered to her. It was her sister’s life after all. Her sister hadn’t listened to any reason back when she had done what she did. All hell had broken loose. Her father threatened to disown her, her mother wept her eyes out; and she quarreled nonstop with her. In the end, they had accepted what they couldn’t change: her sister loved her husband’s friend more than she loved her husband. How it got to that was a long story she wasn’t even ready to relive just yet. She only wanted to mourn her shattered relationship because of what was no fault of hers.

She dragged herself into the quiet house disturbed by the sound of the rain against the roof. Her eyes darted right and left. The living room was arranged neatly, she noted with joy. The last thing she wanted adding to her sorrow was her mother’s nagging on orderliness. It was yet another scar her sister had left behind: her two-year-old son. Much as she loved her nephew, she couldn’t stand that they had to be responsible for him because of her sister’s irresponsibility. If it weren’t for her two younger siblings, she would have looked for her sister even if it took forever. Not loving his father didn’t mean she should not love her own son.

She walked across the living room, shoving her sister’s problems from her heart again. She had enough of her own. She padded the carpeted floor lightly to avoid being heard. That would have been impossible though because of the sound of the rain. She passed the line of rooms on the corridor. The first room was her parents’ room, next to it was the one shared by her brother. In between the rooms on one end of the corridor and the other stood two bathrooms and toilets. She walked by slowly to the room that her younger sister shared with her nephew. It was formerly her room. She caught snatches of a song as she made her way down to the room. Her room was the last. She opened the door and pulled herself in, leaning against the heavy wooden door.

Her eyes were dried with tears, saved the water dripping from her hair and falling on her face. She forced herself up and took down her towel from the door. She wrapped it around her head and pulled off her wet clothes. She took the heap and dropped them into a basket beside her bed, then she unwrapped the towel from her head and wrapped it around her body. A shiver ran through her like lightning in a cloudy sky. She hugged her shoulder and thoughts of Raymond filled her.

Why would he leave her? Why would he allow his mother dictate to him? Why wouldn’t he remember all they had shared?

 

Few hundred miles away, same questions plagued Raymond’s mind as he looked out of his window into the rainy darkness enveloping the outside.

What Nimi’s sister did wasn’t her fault. The decision was her sister’s. Hers alone. Why then did his mother shift it to Nimi? Oh no, a little voice stopped this line of thought. It wasn’t just your mother. Her prophet confirmed it; the voice reminded him. The same prophet that told you when you would get a job and you got it. The same prophet that assured your mother that your father who ran away to be with another woman would come back begging, and it happened. Why should he be wrong about Nimi now?

Raymond roughened his hair with his fingers, confusion biting deep within him like teeth on a juicy meat. Worry lines marked his forehead like tribal marks on the cheeks of a Yoruba man. If the prophet was true to his prophesies, how come he felt so guilty letting Nimi go. It was almost like a big hole now occupied where his heart was before. He felt empty and alone.

Nimi completed him. She loved him with all her heart. That, he was sure of as he was sure of the day breaking in the morning. From the moment their eyes had met in the bank that morning two years ago, he had fallen for her. The moment he asked for her pen and brushed her fingers as she handed it over to him, sparks of love had ignited within him. Each time they locked gaze and she smiled at him, he knew there was no turning back.

Starting a relationship with Nimi had been pure pleasure. They clicked right from the start like the lock on a briefcase. She loved what he loved and enjoyed what he did. Their differences were almost non-existent. He recalled each smile, each laughter; he recalled each tender moment lost in their own love world. His friends envied him and waited patiently for his wedding invitation. How would he tell them it was over now? What reasons would he give?

‘We’re not compatible spiritually. My mother wants someone who will complement me and stay with me forever. You know my father left my mother, and it seems infidelity runs in Nimi’s family. She doesn’t want me going down that road.’

A shudder ran through him. Everything sounded shallow. He hated himself and what he had done to Nimi. He hoped she would forgive him and understand where he was coming from. He could never disobey the woman who had given her all for him when his father left them with nothing. The woman who only wanted the best for her only child.

It wasn’t wrong to end a relationship because of her. He repeated this to himself. It should have made him feel good, but he felt like a trailer ran over him and crushed his heart. He placed a hand over his chest. Relief washed over him like a cleansing tide. His heart was beating. The only problem was each sound called for Nimi. Each rhythm yearned for her gentle and sweet presence.

It would take a whole lot than river bathing to cleanse him of Nimi. His mother and her prophet better be ready.

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

It wasn’t the way Layefa planned to end her day, but what choice did she have? Seeing her mother on the balcony told her she was yet to see the worst of the day. After spending hours sketching and re-sketching, just to impress the new ED, and still had nothing impressive, she had no intention of hashing anything out with her mother. The weather didn’t put her in a good mood either. She should have gone home with Nimi if not for her meeting with Raymond.

For a moment, she allowed her mind to drift from the predator that was watching her with mean eyes and thought about her friend.

How would things end between them? She pondered, concerned filled her eyes. What would happen to her friend if Raymond truly breaks up with her? She sent a word of prayer to heaven’s ears on behalf of her friend; then she faced the armored tank waiting for her.

She put one step in front of the other, drawing close to the place of war. When she got to the balcony, she greeted her mother. “Mama, good evening.” She said.

Her mother gave a long hiss. “What exactly is good about this evening, Layefa? Tell me?” She fired at her, standing up straight and adjusting the wrapper around her waist.

“Well, I went out, and I’m back safely,” Layefa replied with a sigh.

Her mother gave a mirthless laugh. “Your mates are returning safely to their husbands’ houses, Laye, not to their mother, who have toiled tirelessly to bring them up.”

“And here we go,” Laye muttered under her breath. She held on to her bag. A look of controlled misery settled over her features, but her posture straightened as though she might allay that misery with sheer physical effort.

“You have refused to see the man of God with me. This is a spiritual problem, Laye.” Her voice lost its hardness, taking a negotiating tone. The corners of her rigid mouth softened.

Her words grated Laye’s already fray nerves. “Mama, nothing is wrong with me. My man will come at the right time.” She told her calmly.

“But when?” her mother burst out in anger. “Is it when I die, or when you become too old to bear children?”

Laye knew the routine. Her mother would soon start crying. She didn’t want her to cry. “Mama,” she said, moving closer to her. “Very soon, I’ll bring your son-in-law. You will like him.” She smiled.

Her mother’s eyes filled with hope. “Really?” she quizzed, hope dancing in her eyes like embers of flame.

“Yes, very soon.” She assured her. She placed her head on her shoulder. “Let’s go inside, Mama.”

Mother and daughter walked into the house, hand in hand. It was one of those rare mother and daughter moments for Layefa. She liked it. She didn’t allow the false hope she had given her mother to stop her from enjoying the moment. What does it matter if Ken has not even noticed her? She would only make him do. She wasn’t so bad that he wouldn’t want her.

Photo Credit: Lois Temitope

 

 

 

Love Quest Ep 2

​Welcome back, enjoy this episode.

Episode Two

The conference hall was packed on Tuesday morning as people awaited the arrival of the Chief Executive Officer. Gradually DAA staff members filed into the hall in groups, whispering. The hall soon filled up in no time. Since no one knew the reason for the meeting, they all drew their own conclusions. The Managing Director didn’t give any reason for the meeting when he announced it that morning during team briefing. Guilty eyes roamed the hall. Team members shifted in their chairs.  It was a known fact that the CEO didn’t visit without coming to address an omission or a commission. They all wondered what it was that day.

Nimi and Layefa sat close to each other. They, like others, were anxious about the CEO’s visit. Layefa drew close to Nimi. “Why is he coming?” she asked in a whispery tone. Nimi gave a shrug in response. “I thought he addressed all issues when he visited a few weeks back when we lost the Blue Sea Account.”

“I really don’t know why he is coming, Laye. I just wish he’ll address the issue of shortage of staff in certain departments. I’m tired of working like a ‘Jackie’” Nimi replied. She smiled as she replied her messages on WhatsApp.

“You’re so relaxed.” Layefa accused, eyes going from her face to her phone. “What if he’s coming to deal with us for something we have done?”

Nimi raised her eyes from her phone. She turned to Laye. “We didn’t do anything. Just relax. I don’t know why you’re so worried.” She looked over her shoulder at the person to her right. Her tone dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “If anyone should be worried, it should be Mr. Uwem.” She smiled.

Layefa smiled too. “Ah, that’s true.” She agreed. “He hasn’t been punished for failing to submit the final design for the Blue Sea Account before we lost it”

The tension left Laye’s body. They had figured out who would be punished when the CEO came that morning. The Blue Sea Account was a major account that would have given the Agency global recognition, but they had allowed it slip out of their hands. The CEO came down hard on all teams and threatened a salary cut for their lost. It took several appeal letters before he reconsidered and launched an investigation into those responsible for the lost. That conclusion pleased Laye as she was not on the Blue Sea team. Nimi, was however on the team; even though Mr. Uwem had a larger part of the blame. 

Laye watched Nimi now who kept chatting on her phone, completely lost to the events in the hall. Her narrow oblong face with angular cheekbones and a pointed chin was beautiful. Her pencil-thin eyebrows rose slightly as a smile spread across her face while her hands flew over her phone’s keypad. The smile lightened up her already glowing, dark skin. It was no surprise that Nimi had the best of all; she was beautiful through and through. She had the love of her life, even if they were having problems. She still had others showing interest in her, and it would definitely be Raymond’s lost to let go of her. 

Laye heaved a deep sigh, fighting the envy rising within her. Nimi was her best friend. It was wrong to be envious of her, but she couldn’t help it. She didn’t have Nimi’s face, neither did she have her figure. The men wouldn’t even notice her. Beside Nimi, she felt like an ugly duckling. Forget the fact that she had an abundance of natural curls while Nimi couldn’t even uncover her short hair. Nimi outshone her in all. If Nimi had been an Art Director in the Agency, she would have been better than Laye. Being an Art Director was her only strong point, and yet she couldn’t judge by that. Nimi was one of the best Copywriters in her team, while she was just struggling to be recognized. She allowed the cold arms of self-pity envelope her as she thought more of her disadvantages. Her mother’s words danced in her head with heavy steps. Her head started aching as she thought of the last argument they had. Her mother had accused her of being an ingrate. She had told her in no simple terms that she was deliberately staying away from men so that she, her mother, would continue in sadness. This conclusion had been based on the number of men she interacted with every day and her refusal to date anyone of them. Her mother couldn’t believe that she was yet to attract any of her male co-workers. What would she do? She rubbed her aching forehead. Her eyes went over the men in the room, from copywriters to art directors, from designers to production artists, name it; DAA had them in shapes and sizes. Who was the one for her? Who would love her as much as she had loved Pere, and not break her heart like he did when it was almost time for them to discuss walking down the aisle?

These questions plagued her mind, sending a resounding headache across her head. Pere had such effect on her. The mere thought of him could cause a panic attack. She could already feel one coming as her heart started beating fast. She clutched her chest and placed a hand on Nimi’s shoulder. Nimi turned to her. Her eyes widened when she saw Laye breathing fast. Before she could react, The MD walked in to inform them of the arrival of the CEO. They all stood up. Nimi kept looking at Laye with concerned eyes. Laye fought for control of her emotions. She repeated the mantra she had recited over and over since her breakup with Pere two years ago and his wedding last year after dating for seven years. Just as she drew a steadying breath, the CEO walked into the hall with a young man. Immediately, Laye’s eyes settled on him, her breathlessness from moments ago was forgotten as her eyes followed the man to the front of the hall. His confident strides struck her and caused a stirring within her. Her mind went to Pere. A stirring course through her body and made her shiver a little. She turned sharply when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

“Hello, handsome,” Nimi whispered her eyes on the young man. “Is he the new Art Director?” She quizzed but continued without waiting for an answer. “I hope he’ll be on someone’s team.” She gave a knowing smile. 

Laye cracked a smile despite her mood. “I know.” She replied in a conspiratorial tone, just as the MD welcomed the CEO. 

The CEO adjusted the mic in front of him, cleared his throat and started speaking. “Good morning to you all.” He greeted. The staff chorused their greeting too. He continued, “Let me start by appreciating you all for the effort you put into making this Agency a great one. It is my prayer that God will reward you accordingly.” A chorus of amen followed his prayer. He expressed his thanks for a few minutes and encouraged them to work harder before moving to the crux of the matter. “I don’t want to dwell on the accounts we have lost, I’m believing that we would do more and get more accounts. To achieve this, I came here today with someone I trust so much and rely on.” He turned to the young man who bowed slightly in acknowledgment of the commendation. “Let me introduce to you the one who will manage the affairs of the Agency in my absence. He is my nephew, but I see him as a son. I introduce to you this morning, the Executive Director of DPassion Advertising Agency, Mr. Ken Timinipre.” He smiled at Ken and drew him closer to him.

The staff applauded the CEO’s announcement. Some faces beamed with smiles while others, in confusion. Laye belonged to the former. She kept grinning from tooth to tooth as Mr. Ken acknowledge their applause with a smile and a nod of the head. When the applause died down, the CEO urged them to work with him and give him all the needed support to make his work easy. He ended by asking Ken to speak to the staff. Laye moved forward in her chair as the ED took the mic.

“I’m glad to be here, and I know we’ll work together for the good of the Agency. Please, feel free to communicate with me if you have any problems. I look forward to a wonderful time with you all. Thank you.” He said.

The staff applauded again. The meeting came to an end, and they all got up to return to their different work areas. Laye pulled Nimi to the Art Office. She quickly shut the door behind her. “Oh, my God! Nimi, what do you think of our new ED” She asked, eyes dancing with delight like a child who found a pack of sweet.

Nimi gave a small smile and shrugged. “Well, he seems cool, but I can’t draw any conclusions yet. It’s his first day after all; in fact, his first hour. Let’s wait and see.” She reasoned.

“There’s something striking about him. Did you notice?” She asked.

Nimi shrugged. “I did.” She admitted. “But I’m not drooling over him like you.” She told her.

Laye opened the door slightly and peeked out. “Working in DAA just got better, Nimi. Everything has changed.” She closed the door and faced Nimi. “We have a young, handsome, hot…hmmm” She closed her eyes.

Nimi came to stand in front of her and snapped her fingers at her. Laye’s eyes flew open. “Snap out of it, Laye. For all you know, he could have a wife and children.”

Laye’s smile wobbled. “That’s true o. I’ll check his hand whenever I’m close to him.” She commented. “Just imagine me taking that ‘hottie’ home to meet my mother; she’ll be off my case forever.” A dreamy look came into her eyes. She turned back to the door.

Nimi laughed. “Dream on, girl. It cost nothing after all.” She teased. Just then, her phone beeped, notifying her of a text message. She drew her lock pattern and read the text. It was from Raymond.

‘Hey, Nimi. How is your day going? Can we meet after work? We need to talk.’

The mirth disappeared from her eyes when she read the text message. She suddenly felt afraid. Her heart pounded in her chest. Is this the solution I’ve been praying for, or the end I’ve been expecting? She pondered. No, she shook her head. The text sounded ominous to be a solution. For crying out loud, he even addressed her as Nimi. Whatever happened to ‘my honey bunch’, ‘sweetie’? Hmmm… what really is behind Raymond’s change? When all should be going well, he suddenly grew distant and cold. For two years, they had it good. He took her to see his mother a few months back, and that was the beginning of his new attitude.

Nimi shook her head in confusion. If the woman didn’t want me, she would have shown it. But she was all smiles and love. 

Laye, sensing the sudden silence, moved away from the door and turned to her friend. Sad lines drew lines on where smiles had brightened just moments ago. “Hey, where did you travel to?” She asked, pushing her lightly.

Nimi drew a deep breath. “Raymond sent a text.” She said simply.

Laye studied her for a while. “What is it about?” she asked, carefully. From Nimi’s look, she surmised it wasn’t a good one.

Nimi gave a light shrug. “Nothing much. He just said we need to talk.” She moved into the office and rested against the window frame. She closed her eyes, trying not to show her fear.

 Laye could read her of course. They have been friends for years, and she has had her own share of heartbreak. She could read the signs, but she would say nothing. She came to stand beside Nimi. “Everything will be fine, Nimi. You and Raymond will work things out. Don’t assume the worst until you meet him.” she placed a comforting arm on Nimi’s shoulder.

Nimi tried to smile, but her lips would not cooperate. They grew tight with anxiety. “I really hope so, Laye. From the depth of my heart, I hope so.” 

The loud knock on the door, followed by a booming voice stalled further discussions. “Laye, open the door! I have things to tidy up.” 

Their eyes went to the clock at the same time. Nimi gasped. “Oh, my God! I have a something to show my Creative Director. See you later, Laye.” She hurried out of the office, almost running into the other Art directors sharing the office with Laye. At the door, she turned to Laye. “Don’t spend your entire day mooning over the Executive Director.” She teased.

Laye’s laughter rang after her as she made her way to her work area. It was time for serious business. She needed it to keep her mind from drifting to Raymond.

**********

Ken sat behind his uncle’s large oak desk. The office was twice the size of that of the manager of the company he worked for in Lagos. It wasn’t his first time being in his uncle’s office, but it was the first time he was there as the boss. He swirled around in the leather chair. His eyes moved from the shelf to the file cabinet; to the television and DVD sets on a small table and to the refrigerator beside the table. Everything was spic and span. He closed his eyes and sent a prayer of thanks to heaven. He didn’t deserve this, but God had made it possible. 

He turned back to the table. He frowned when he saw the piles of files on it. He picked a pile and looked through them. There were application letters and proposal letters. He dropped them. There would be time for all that, he told himself. Now, he had to familiarize himself with the running of the Agency. He pressed the intercom and asked the MD to see him. 

The MD arrived in a matter of minutes. Ken pointed him to a seat in front of him. “Thanks for coming.” He said. The MD nodded. He was a few years older than Ken, but he was a hard worker. Uncle Doutimi had told him that much and had encouraged him to work with him. “I just want an update on the Agency’s activities.” He told him.

“No problem, sir. I’ll get all information across to you.” He replied.

Ken shook his head. “I prefer you call me Ken.” He stated.

The MD laughed. “I’ll think about it.” He winked at Ken. 

Ken smiled. “Alright then. I’ll like to meet with members of the staff after closing tomorrow. Please inform them.”

“Okay. Is that all?” 

“Yes. For now.”

The MD got up and left. Ken looked through more files. God had given him the opportunity, and he was going to make the most of it.

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to drop your comment and share.

Love Quest Ep 1

So I’m breaking my silence today! Yes! This is a new series. Join me on this ride as we become a part of Nimi, Laye and Ken’s lives. Happy reading!

Episode One

It was a cool Monday morning, just the way Nimi liked it. She was out of the house at the first light of day. The rain all through the night had not stopped her from her usual practice ever since she joined the staff team of DPassion Advertising Agency. The office was far from her house, and she couldn’t afford to be caught up in the mad traffic of the morning. In fact, she couldn’t afford any delays if she wanted her salary intact at the end of the month. DAA had a zero tolerance for lateness and laziness. It wasn’t as if the salary commemorated the staff input. Still, she loved her job. Working as a copywriter gave her much pleasure. She had only been in DAA for seven months, but she already developed an attachment to her job and her colleagues.

Traffic was light that morning due to the weather. She got a cab in no time and settled in for the twenty minutes’ drive to the office. Her eyes drifted closed and opened as the cool wind blew against her face. Most of the shops they drove past were not opened. The weather had given people the rest they needed but couldn’t afford. Nimi smiled, giving a dramatic shiver. The day would be good, she could tell. Right inside of her, excitement bubbled. For what reason, she couldn’t tell. It was definitely not because of Raymond. A slight frown creased her brows at the thought of him. She shook it off and looked forward with the same enthusiasm from moments ago. Her day would be good and that was all that mattered. Thoughts of Raymond would just have to wait.

When she arrived, she was happy to note that she was the third person to clock in that morning. It was still twenty minutes before the actual resumption time. She straightened her suit skirt and sauntered to the general office. One of the office’s helpers rushed to her and offered to take her bag. She smiled her thanks and handed it over to the girl. The girl joined the Agency a few weeks back when she parted ways with her wicked aunt who brought her to the city as an unpaid maid. Her hardworking and humble personality endeared her to many.

Nimi looked around when she stepped into the office. A satisfactory smile spread across her lips when her eyes fell on her desk. Not a pin was out of place. Her files were stacked neatly on one side of the table, and her team’s files also occupied one part, neatly arranged. Her desktop computer sat comfortably in the middle of the desk. This was the way she loved her desk looking. She pushed her chair back and took her seat. She said another thanks to the helper who carried her bag.

It was time for tea.

She opened her bag and brought out her water flask. She pulled out a drawer and took out two cups. She gave a small smile. It was time for her morning ritual with her friend Layefa. Layefa was never late. When she signed in earlier, she had seen her name as number one.

Nimi got up. She carried the flask and the two cups and went down the hall. Layefa was in her office. She pushed the door and went in.

“Good Morning.” She greeted with a bright smile.

Layefa looked up from the screen of her computer. Her face broke into a smile too. “Good morning, beautiful. You look so goooood.” She commented, looking Nimi over.

Nimi gave a short laugh, waving her off. “Oh please, Laye. You look better.” She replied, also taking in her perfectly shaped ash-coloured suit.

Layefa shook her head. “Forget it, Nimi. You are the brightness of the day.” She countered.

“Then, you are the best rival I have.” Nimi winked at her. They burst into laughter. It was part of their morning ritual to compliment each other’s look until one gave up. It also gave them a good feeling to be complimented, especially on mornings when one stood out; just like this particular morning. Nimi loved everything she had picked out that morning: from the body-fitting suit to the red shoes she had on to match the navy-blue suit, to her beautifully made up face and neatly-packed hair, Nimi knew she was outstanding. She dragged a stool and sat on it. She placed the flask and the cups on the desk. She opened the flask and poured the already made tea into the two cups.

“So, how was your weekend?” She asked Layefa.

Layefa shrugged. “The usual. Mama didn’t stop nagging me about a husband.” She said. Nimi laughed. A sad line crossed Laye’s face. “Really, Nimi, if I knew where they sell husbands, I would have gone to purchase one.”

Nimi threw her head back in laughter, almost falling off the stool. “That’s hilarious, Laye.” She said.

“It’s hilarious to you because you are not in my shoes, Nimi.” She brought the cup to her lips and sipped its content. She lowered the cup. “Mama is really getting on my nerves. She reminds me daily how she single-handedly sponsored me when my father died and left her with a pile of debts. She wants to eat the fruit of her labour before she journeyed to the great beyond.” She gave a resigned shake of her head.

NImi placed a comforting hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Don’t let it bother you so much, Laye. God’s time is the best. Your own man will come at the right time, my dear friend.” She assured her.

“I wish you’ll come and tell my mother that, and she’ll believe you.” She smiled a little. “By the way, what about you and Raymond?” she asked, changing the subject.

Nimi sobered. “It’s the same story, Laye. He hasn’t said anything. He has neither assured me of our future together nor told me why his mother won’t accept me.” She looked down at her cup. “I keep wondering if there’s something I don’t know. He pretends we are okay, but I can see the growing distance in his eyes. I think he’ll call it quit soon.” Tears pooled in her eyes.

“Ah, don’t be like that, Nimi. Don’t let Ray spoil your day. If he’s not man enough to stand up for what he wants then he doesn’t deserve you. You’re one in a million, my friend; the best Copywriter in the whole city.” She praised her.

Nimi rolled her eyes. “Oh please, Laye. You like teasing me.” She coughed a little to clear her choked up throat.

“You know I’m telling the truth.” Laye raised her hands.

“Alright then. Thank God I have the best Art Director as a friend. Now finish up your tea and let’s go to the conference room for team briefing.”

Laye nodded and downed the rest of her tea. She raised the cup as a form of salute to Nimi. “Thanks, Nimi. Now we can boldly face a typical day in DAA.”

Nimi laughed. They got up and walked up the stairs to the conference room. Team briefing in DAA was as important as the actual work.

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

Ken watched the scene before him in utter dismay. He hated being the reason for any argument how much more between his uncle and his aunty. The argument had been on for over five minutes, and each minute made him more uncomfortable. If he knew heeding his uncle’s call would cause so much problem, he would have stayed back in Lagos. At least, he wasn’t jobless, even though the job offered little. But he would never disobey his uncle, the man who had taken care of him when he lost his father while in junior secondary school two. Having lost his mother at a tender age, he was orphaned in secondary school. God had used his uncle to bring him up. He was grateful for this. However, he didn’t want to be a problem now that he could stand for himself.

He listened again as his aunty poured out malicious words. “Darling, you can’t continue to spoon-feed Ken. Let him find his own way.” She said, throwing Ken a bitter look.

Doutimi sighed heavily. “Nene, how many times will I tell you that Ken is part of my family, and I can do anything to make him comfortable?”

Nene’s face tightened with displeasure. “Fine, but must you give him our son’s inheritance?” She asked, arms folded across her chest in defiance.

Doutimi took his seat and crossed his legs. “Nene, Douye is a medical doctor. He wants nothing to do with DAA. He has made that clear over and over again. Ken is the right man. He has administrative knowledge. Making him the Executive Director of DAA will make a great impact on the Agency, and it would be for the best.” He explained.

Nene didn’t back down. “But there are directors in the Agency. What is the need for another director?” She demanded.

Doutimi straightened, his patience waning. “Yes, we have directors, but I said executive director. I want someone to monitor the activities of the Agency. You know we’re not stable in the country. I want someone that can be reached easily when we are away on one of my numerous business trips.” He told her gently, trying not to snap at her.

“It’s just so unfair.” She muttered tears in her eyes.

Doutimi regarded her calmly, reigning his anger. He knew what she was doing. She wanted to pull the guilt card on him. It had worked other times, like when she insisted Ken attended a federal university instead of a private one like their son. It won’t work this time. He would help his nephew whether she liked it or not. His recent trip to Lagos confirmed what he suspected all along: Ken was living poorly. His job was nothing to write home about. He couldn’t have all this luxury and see his nephew struggling to make ends meet. He fixed Nene with an unyielding look. “Sorry, Nene, you can’t have what you want this time. Ken is now the Executive Director of DPassion Advertising Agency, so deal with it. I’ll take him to the Agency tomorrow to be introduced to his staff.” He told her.

She looked at him maliciously for a few seconds, then she stormed off in a huff. Doutimi watched her go. She would get over it when she sees the result of Ken’s hard work in DAA, he assured himself. He turned to Ken. “Congratulations, my dear.” He smiled at him.

Ken shifted uncomfortably in his chair. His eyes kept going to the way his aunty had stormed off. “I’m sorry, Uncle, but I can’t accept your offer.” He said, not looking at him.

The smile slipped off Doutimi’s face. “Why, Ken? Because of your aunty?” He inquired. Ken gave a small nod. “Don’t worry about her. You should be used to her after all these years. Listen, Ken, I really need your help in DAA. Things haven’t been going so well for some time now. We lost two major accounts last month and the team of directors couldn’t explain what went wrong. I need you, Ken. I trust your administrative skills. Please do this for your old uncle.” He appealed to him.

Ken considered this for a while, then he smiled. “Alright, Uncle. I’ll work as DAA’s executive director.” He answered.

“Excellent.” His uncle beamed at him. He got up from the couch and offered a hand to Ken. “Welcome on board, Ken.”

Ken accepted his uncle’s handshake. “Thank you, Uncle. I won’t disappoint you.” He assured.

Doutimi gave a nod. “Yes, yes. I know you won’t. Just give it your best shot.” He encouraged.

“I will,” Ken said, more to himself than to his uncle. It was time to prove himself as a man, no matter what his aunty thought of him.

IMG_20171120_134539

This is how I look when I know the holiday is near and  I have enough time to tell stories. Yay!!!!! Thanks, guys, for all your support. Thanks for taking your time to read my stories.

Photo Credit: Me, myself and I

Cover Photo Credit: finding love: Google images

Old Flame Ep 20

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

Episode Twenty

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

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

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

The undertone was apparent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tolu.” Someone called from behind.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Old Flame Ep 19

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

Episode Nineteen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebika’s smile slipped.

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

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

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

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

And what about Doubara?

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?” Douye asked, coughing too.

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

“What happened?” Douye asked again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douye gaped at her. She could not say anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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