Old Flame Ep 17

And their love blossomed… hehehe

 

Episode Seventeen

 It was time for a major clean-up. Tolu stood in the middle of his living room with his hands on his waist, looking around. Things had changed for him in the two days Eladebi and the children had been absent from the house. He was enjoying his freedom with the knowledge that he could have the love of his life to spend it with.

Ah, yes, Ebika. He sighed with deep pleasure. Ebika, the one for him, had accepted him back into her life. She was ready to create more memories with him. He made up his mind to please her. He would go extra length just to keep her by his side. The extra length he was willing to start with was to remove all of Eladebi’s pictures from around the house.

His eyes went to the first frame on the wall, just above the television. The picture had been taken on their wedding day. He took the frame off the wall and stared at the picture. Despite Eladebi’s stress that day, she had managed to smile and look good. It was he who went about looking like a lost soul.  He did feel like a lost soul then, and even now. He couldn’t understand how he went from Ebika to Eladebi back then, and how he would soon be a father. Each smile had been strained, and yet, he had kept smiling to keep up appearances. He had to be happy. He stood at the altar with Eladebi and told himself over and over again to be happy.

That happiness eluded him initially when he had to go through the awkwardness of life with Eladebi. They related almost as strangers during the early stage of their marriage, but things took a turn for good. Eladebi proved to be a wonderful woman indeed, and his heart eventually accommodated her. Too bad now that the owner of the heart had come back for what was rightfully hers. He couldn’t deprive Ebika of what truly belonged to her, even if it meant letting go of the woman he had spent years with, and the children God had blessed them with.

“Let’s hope it’s worth it after all.” He said aloud and took down the frame. He dropped it carefully on the side stool he had placed beside him.

Each frame he took down told a story of his life with Eladebi. There were pictures of both of them in the church during the children’s christening. Pictures of the boys at three and six months. He also looked at pictures of their children’s first birthday. He kept dropping them one after the other swallowing the emotions threatening to choke him. He didn’t know it would be so difficult to clean out Eladebi and his children’s presence in the living room.

The last frame he took down was a family picture of all of them together. It was taken at the New Year party organised by his in-laws a year ago. He took in their happy faces and thought again how that happiness had been there without Ebika. How had he been so happy with Eladebi? When did he stop feeling that way towards her? Was it just because their minor disagreements which Eladebi would always apologize for and do his bidding, or something else?

His heart thumped wildly against his chest in guilt. It was foolish to dwell on the issue when he knew his heart had rejected Eladebi already. He dropped the frame with the others on the stool like it was burning his hand. He had to forget Eladebi. She was his past now. His past as at two days ago.

He carried as many frames as he could and dropped them in a big carton in his study. When he was through, he dusted his hand and examined the living room. The walls only held pictures of him in various outings, meetings and all. No one would ever know he had a wife if they stepped into his living room now. That should make him happy but all he felt was a gnawing in his heart. He tried to smile but his lips won’t cooperate. His heart refused to warm to the prospect of a smile. He had to fight the sadness in his heart. He had what he always wanted. There was one way to keep reminding him of what he has now.

He ran to his bedroom and returned with Ebika’s picture. He attached it to one of his own already on the wall. He stepped back to look at it.

“Yes!” He exclaimed with smiles. “Now this is how it ought to be. This will definitely impress Ebika when she visits tomorrow.”

He left the living room and went to the guest bedroom. He picked out every incriminating item; incriminating items like his children’s toys that Eladebi didn’t go with. Hair brush, Hair shampoo and conditioner, shower cap and an empty bottle of ‘Romantic Women Perfume’ that Eladebi left in the bathroom when she stayed in the guest room.

When he left the guest room, he found himself in the children’s room. A frustrated look entered his eyes as he took in all that was in the room. He shook his head. He couldn’t clean out the children’s room. It would have to be an out-of-bound room for Ebika. He would ensure she didn’t go there.

The master bedroom was already cleaned out. It was just unfortunate that his kitchen was too organise to be in a bachelor’s pad. Then again, Ebika could stay away from the kitchen. He would be the perfect host, and if he was going to put up a good show for Ebika, then he had better do it all; all included cooking Ebika a meal.

That thought didn’t excite him at all. He left the master’s bedroom and wandered to the kitchen to start his catering practical.

 

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

 

Four years was such a long time to have forgone cooking, but for Ebika’s sake, Tolu was in the kitchen wiping up what he hoped to be his best. He had spent the entire day after the clean-up cooking.

Standing in the kitchen felt so odd. For a long time his place had been at the dining table and not the kitchen. He had never been disappointed before when he waited for Eladebi’s food at the dining. It was always right on time and very delicious. Saliva filled his mouth and he swallowed nosily. He hoped his food would also make Ebika salivate.

He checked his pot of Jollof rice one last time, then he turned off the cooker. He rubbed his palms together in excitement. Time to get set for the arrival of the queen of his heart.

His bath took few minutes, but he spent more time dressing up. Ebika liked his looks. He would ensure he satisfied her. He ran a hand across his neatly trimmed beard.

“Nice.” He said, smiling broadly at his reflection.

He pushed his comb through his afro and styled it properly, then he looked over his blue polo and combat short. It was casual enough but also stylish. He wanted Ebika to be comfortable around him. By the time the doorbell rang, he was all dressed up and ready to entertain her.

“Hi, love.” He greeted, pressing his lips to her cheek. “You’re welcome.”

“Thanks, dear.” She answered with a smile.

His eyes swept over her, and he liked what he saw. She looked gorgeous in a well-cut pencil gown that revealed curves that made her more appealing to him. He swallowed. His guilt over his treatment of Eladebi flew out of his head as he drank all of Ebika. She seemed to enjoy the attention because she flipped her shoulder-length weave-on over one shoulder and batted her eyes at him. A burning desire rose within him, such as he had never felt for Eladebi in a long while. He quickly stepped aside before the thoughts in his heart were put into action.

“You look so beautiful, my love. Come in.” He invited.

She gave a deliberate sway of her hips as she walked past him. He liked it all. He liked what she was doing to him. If she continued keeping him interested the way she was doing at that moment, then marriage should not be too far off.

He led her to a couch and he sat beside her. He gave her time to enjoy the beauty of his living room. She nodded severally in approval. Seeing the admiration in her eyes reassured him of the good work he did while he was preparing for her visit. Nothing was out of place.

Ebika’s eyes finally stopped their roaming and came back to him. “Wow, Tolu! This place is so lovely.” She stated in an admiration-filled voice.

He grinned from ear to ear. “Thanks, my love. This will soon be our place.”

She fixed him a dreamy look as she considered what he just said. Her eyes went round the room again. She jumped up abruptly startling Tolu. She moved to where he had arranged the frames and included her picture. He joined her in front of the television. She had her back to him. His eyes rested on her waist. He imagined his arms encircling it. He thought of her reaction if he did. He hesitated. It lasted only for a few seconds. He moved to her and placed his hands on her waist. She leaned into his body, rubbing her face against it.

“I can’t believe you kept this picture, dear.” She said in a near whisper, caressing his ear.

He kissed the ear. “I can never throw away the memories I have with you.” His voice matched hers. Her eyes drifted close as he spoke of his love for her.  “You’re the best thing in my life, Ebika. Time could not separate us because we were meant for each other. I have always loved you and still love, and I will continue loving you.”

She turned to face him then. He drew her into a bear hug.

Emotions built within him. This was what it meant to love. He thanked his lucky stars for granting him another chance with Ebika, and for giving him the courage to kick Eladebi out of his heart and life. Sending Eladebi and his children away for the love of Ebika was worth it. He dropped a light kiss on her lips as he led her back to the couch.

Their love was the topic for the day. They both pledged underlying love for each other while they ate. He kept stealing kisses every now and then during the meal. It made Ebika bat her eyes more at him and even return his kisses. He was excited beyond words. This was the kind of life he wanted.

After the meal, they lingered over the wine he had poured to celebrate the moment. He held her hand.

“I believe you enjoyed your meal. I made it specially for you.” He told her.

She smiled. “I’m impressed. If you keep doing this each time I come around, I promise to love you till infinity.” She tapped his nose with her finger.

His smile wobbled a little. Cook each time she was around? Did she mean it or was she just joking? It must be a joke. He concluded within him.

“I’ll like to eat your food too. Maybe you should invite me to your place.” He suggested.

She pulled her hand free from his. “I would love to, but I prefer you entertaining me here.” She answered with a small shrug.

The magic was slipping. He took her hand again and changed the subject. “I’ll do anything for you.”

“Oh, that’s…”
The bleeping of his phone cut her short. He picked it up and dropped immediately when he saw the caller ID. “You were saying…?” He urged her to continue.

“I wanted to tell you…”

His phone started ringing again.

He ignored it and got her to continue. When the phone rang the third time, a suspicious look came into Ebika’s eyes.

“Why don’t you just answer the call?” She said stiffly. The smile had disappeared from her face.

“It’s not important. It’s just a client I dealt with some days back. He needs some goods but couldn’t meet up with the payment.” He explained. She didn’t look like she believed him. “I’ll just turn off the phone.” He picked up the phone, but she stopped him.

“Don’t turn it off.”

“But… it’s making you uncomfortable.” He tried to reason with her.

She shook her head. “Don’t worry.” The smile that accompanied the statement made him worry instead.

Things got bad after that: two more phone calls that he couldn’t take and two messages that he was not ready to read. Ebika picked up her purse soon after.

“Let me drop you at home.” He offered when he couldn’t convince her to stay back.

Her arms crossed her chest as she waited for him to pick up his car keys. When he came back to her, he pulled her into a hug.

“I’m sorry, my love. I didn’t mean to ruin your first visit to my place. You mean so much to me, and no one is worth my attention when I am with you. Don’t leave like this.” He pleaded. He felt her body melting against his. He released a sigh of relief.

“It’s okay.” She replied, playing with the button on his shirt. “Just promise me this won’t happen next time.”

Tolu crossed his heart. “I swear it won’t.”

The moment felt like the time she just arrived. He led her out whispering words of love to her. He surprised her with the cash gift he had kept aside before her arrival. She accepted it with all smiles. He felt good that he could make her happy.

All through his drive home the feeling remained with him until he got home and found out he had to clear the table and wash all they used. He didn’t feel so good again. He pulled out a chair and dropped down heavily, then he cursed Eladebi for almost ruining his date with her calls. He still didn’t understand while she kept calling even when he had

refused to answer any of her calls. One of the messages he received was from her and the other was from Christopher. He opened her message and expected to read an apology like the ones she sent their first day apart. Instead, it was a prayer for him. She went on and on praying for him, and telling him she and the children were missing him. What baffled him was her belief that everything would soon pass and they would be back together as a family. She was putting up with a friend so that her family members would not know what was happening. What made her so confident was beyond him because as far as his heart was concerned he was done with her.

Christopher told him he understood what was happening but encouraged him to do what was right which was to get back with his wife and children.

Tolu scratched his head. His eyes back to the dishes on the table. Whatever was going on at the moment, the reality for him was that he had just finished sharing a meal he cooked for his woman and was about to wash the dishes himself. There was nothing appealing in that.

 

 

 

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Old Flame EP 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

A knock sounded on the door.

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

The knock sounded again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Few minutes passed. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Flame EP 15

Episode Fifteen

The weather was in agreement with his mood. A slice of sun peeked through the thick curtains. The brightness boosted Tolu’s positive outlook. He would not go through the day depressed as he had done for the past few days since Ebika told him of her introduction. Ebika was free. Ebika’s love was all for him. 

He looked through the suits in the wardrobe. His eyes settled on his navy blue suit. He pulled it off the hanger. He dropped it on the bed and picked out a small box that held his gold tie and cufflinks. He must look his best on the first day he was meeting Ebika as a single woman since they met again. His wife’s face floated into his mind. 

‘Eladebi.’ He called out softly. ‘Eladebi.’ He repeated again. He rested his head against the wardrobe. ‘My children.’ He held his head in his hands. Again he questioned the rightness of what he was doing. His heart beat a steady rhythm of guilt. How could he do such heartless thing to Eladebi? He pondered.

“I can’t help what I feel for Ebika!” He screamed into the silent room. He pushed away from the wardrobe, balled his right fist and banged it against the door of the wardrobe. “My heart only yearns for Ebika now. I do no wrong to Eladebi. I just need to be with Ebika.”

He repeated this a couple of times, took a deep breath and continued his preparation for work. He however lost his earlier glee. He dressed up quietly and took his briefcase. He sat on the bed and placed the briefcase on his laps. He popped open the lock and lifted some papers. Just below the papers, he took out what had prompted him to open the briefcase in the first place.

Ebika’s picture.

The picture he had carried everywhere since they met again and rediscovered their love and passion. He looked at her smiling face.

“You’re worth it, Ebika. I’ll give all up just for you.” He brought the picture close to his face and placed his roundly-shaped lips on the picture. “I love you, my heart: just you.”

A knock sounded on the door, causing him to jump. The picture fell from his hand. He scrambled to pick it up and dropped it back into his briefcase along with the papers he had removed before.

“Who is there?” He called in an angry tone.

“Good morning, my love.” Eladebi answered in a cheerful voice from the other side of the door.

“What do you want?” He demanded, all traces of affection from moments ago gone. 

“Well, I wanted to tell you that your food is ready.” She told him.

Tolu imagined her cheery face standing right outside the door beaming with smiles, sounding so sweet and innocent. And she was indeed sweet and innocent. He shook his head. Ebika was sweeter than Eladebi. He would stick to Ebika’s sweetness, beauty and intelligence.

“Just go. I’ll be right out.” He told her, picking up his suit again. He sighed with relief when he heard her departing footsteps. The earlier he sent her away, the better for his heart and his conscience.

He cast a glance at his wristwatch. “Whew!”  He had spent more time than he expected. He had an appointment with Chris. He dressed quickly after that, but he still took his time to oil his hair and style it just the way Ebika liked it.

On his way out of the living room, Eladebi stopped him, bearing a tray with a ceramic kettle, a tea cup and two pieces of toast.

“Your breakfast is ready, my love.” She informed him with a bright smile.

Tolu’s face twisted with frustration. When would she get it? When would she understand that I don’t want her again? He cried within. He stepped away from her without saying a word.

“Honey, your breakfast,” She called to him in that cheerful voice again.

He snapped. He turned to her with a menacing look. He grabbed the kettle from the tray and sent the content spilling in her direction. She jumped away at the last minute avoiding what would have been a disaster sending the tray, along with the teacup, spoon and toast crashing on the floor. His children ran out of the room at the loud banging.

“Mummy!” They both cried, holding on to her.

Tolu noticed they didn’t come near him. They clung to their mum and all three raised fearful eyes to him. He suddenly felt like the devil himself. With a loud groan, he staggered out of the house.

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

Ebika’s eyes rested on the wall clock in the living room. Bina was waiting for an answer. What would see tell him? She looked into her plate of boiled yam and fried egg with no appetite at all. She wasn’t even in the mood to go to work. Was it really goodbye with Bina? 

A hand rested on her entwined fingers on the table. Ebika jerked back. She looked up into the eyes of her cousin.

“What’s the problem, Ebika?” Douye asked, sliding into a chair opposite Ebika on the dining table.

Ebika looked away. “You startled me, Douye.” She replied.

Douye smiled. “You never complained in time past. You enjoy my creepy moves.” She teased, stretching her hand to touch Ebika’s cheeks.

Ebika dodged away from her touch. “I’m not in the mood, Douye.”

“You don’t have to tell me that.” Douye sneered. “It’s so obvious. Even the poor yam and egg on your plate knows that.” She forked a piece of yam and sent it to her mouth. “What exactly is wrong, Coz?” She quizzed again mouthful.

Ebika regarded her with distaste. “Maybe you should finish with your food first.” She said with barely concealed sarcasm.

Douye nodded and rushed through her food. All the time, Ebika thought of her predicament. Had she done the right thing by sending Tolu a message so quickly without any consideration? Should she tell Bina? She nibbled on her bottom lip.

“Done!” Douye said, letting out a belch.

Despite Ebika’s reservation, Douye had to know. After all, she was all Ebika had left. Doubara would never listen to what she had to say about Tolu and Bina. Letting go every queasiness about Douye, Ebika opened up.

“I broke up with Bina… or I think I want to break up with Bina.” She admitted, shaking her head in confusion.

Douye gulped down water from a glass before responding. “You think or you have?” She asked.

Ebika pushed back from the table. “I’m confused, Douye.”

“What is confusing you?” 

“I want to be with Tolu, but I’m not sure. I feel like I’m rushing things.” She explained, chewing on her lower lip.

Douye sat up straight, pulling on a serious face. “You are right to want to be with Tolu, Ebika. You are not rushing things. After all, you’ve known him before now.” 

Ebika stood up and placed her hands on the back of the chair. “But I’ve known Bina too.” She countered.

“That didn’t stop you from loving Tolu, did it? If your heart responded to Tolu, it’s because you allowed it. You did it because it is right. You feel right with him.” Douye went to stand beside her. “Your heart has drifted away from Bina. Don’t force it anymore. If your heart has chosen Tolu, it’s only fair that you let Bina go.” Douye touched her shoulder lightly and left her alone.

Ebika closed her eyes tight. She wanted to accept Douye’s advice, but something fought it within her. Yes, her heart has chosen Tolu, but why can’t it be happy with her choice? She shook her head. Better to follow her heart and that’s to choose Tolu. It was time to let go of Bina. She wasn’t the one for him. Destiny did not have both of them in its plan. Destiny had chosen Tolu from the onset, so despite the separation, they still found the way back to each other. No need to go against destiny. If she had no courage to face Bina, then her text message would do the work. She picked her phone from the table and unlocked it. Time to end it all with Bina and move on with whom her heart, and of course Destiny, had chosen for her.

****************
The content of Ebika’s message didn’t surprise Bina. He shuffled his phone back into his pocket. He had been expecting it for hours since dawn. Something in him prepared him for the break. Even if a little part of him still wanted to work things out. Well, her message had put an end to that hope in him. The words from the message kept replaying in his heart. ‘I’m sorry, Bina. We can’t continue with our relationship. My heart has drifted away from you. I don’t want to keep deceiving myself and you. Your lady is out there. She’s just not me. I wish you the best with her.’ 

He waited for pain to seep through his heart, but felt nothing. All he felt was sadness. Sadness that everything with Ebika ended the way it did. He felt sad for the energy put into their relationship; the emotions, the plans, all gone down the drain. He rubbed his shaved head. He still could not figure out when she stopped loving him. He would never know. If his heart had not been preparing him for this moment, he would have been completely shattered. It would just take time to put a closure to everything he shared with Ebika. People would find out soon enough that they were no longer together. Better to start telling them by himself. The first person on his mind was Doubara. 

And Bina knows his stand now. Do you think he should fight for Ebika’s love? Or should he just let go? 

Old Flame EP 13

​And the story continues…. Ebika and Tolu. 

Episode Thirteen

It was time to pour out her heart to her husband. The silence in the house was killing her, and she couldn’t take it anymore. Tolu had kept his distance for days and for the life of her she couldn’t tell why. She had to know now that the children were away in school.

Eladebi dropped the melon seeds she was shedding on the kitchen counter. She moved to the sink and looked out of the window. The vegetables in her garden were sprouting, but that was not what was on her mind. Thoughts of her crumbling marriage filled her mind. Things seemed to have deteriorated between Tolu and her. He barely tolerated her during meals. Her attempts her conversations were met with monosyllabic responses. After meals they stayed apart. His phone was fast becoming his everything. His children didn’t excite him anymore. He rarely played with them. It was almost like he was avoiding them all. Laughter, as well as love, seemed to have departed their own.

“Dear Lord, where did I go wrong?” She lamented. “Are you still punishing me for defiling the bed?” She shook her head. Sorrow marked her face like a carved wood. “You know I have been a good wife. I have loved Tolu with all my heart, even when he makes me so angry. Times when loving him was difficult, I have kept his love in my heart. Lord, it’s getting harder by the day. I am at my wits end. I can’t continue like this.” Tears pooled in her eyes. She pressed her fingers to her lips to stop her tears. “I need you, Lord.” 

‘My grace is sufficient for you.’

The reminder from the word of God swept through her heart. Her breath caught at how fast she remembered the scripture she had read that morning during her devotion. While she had just read it as part of her daily Bible reading, it made more meaning to her now. God’s grace was sufficient for her, even in the turbulence her marriage was becoming. God’s grace was sufficient even as she made up her mind to talk to Tolu.

She heaved a deep sigh and moved to the bedroom. The room that she had been spending time alone as her husband spent more and more nights in his study.

Tolu didn’t look up from his phone when she entered. She stood before him and waited to be noticed. He kept his eyes glued to his phone. She got tired and spoke up.

“Darling…” She called softly.

He said nothing.

“Darling” She repeated.

Silence.

She gave up and moved closer to him on the bed. When he seemed not to notice her, she touched his shoulder. All of a sudden, a slap landed on her left cheek. She fell backwards, mouth opened in shock. Tolu stood over her.

“Don’t you ever disturb me when I don’t want to be disturbed.” He spat at her, his face twisted with fury.

No words came out of her shocked lips. She just stayed right there on the floor looking at her husband like he had become someone else. In truth, he was someone else, for in all their numerous disagreements, he had never raised his hand to hit her before.

“Get up at once and leave this room! Don’t show your annoying face here until I invite you.” He snarled.

With a heart wrenching sob Eladebi got up from the floor and ran to the kitchen. She fell against the counter when she got there. Her world was crashing. The storm that was brewing was just a disguise. What was happening in her marriage was a tsunami. 

Eladebi’s heart shattered in pieces within her. The pain was excruciating. 

“Oh Lord, help me! Help my troubled heart.” She wept.

‘Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’

She straightened as the words from the Bible settled in her heart. It wasn’t one she read. It was from her pastor’s message the previous Sunday. 

How long would she endure? How long would she bear? Her human heart had no answer.
Tolu stood in the middle of the bedroom watching the door, arms akimbo. What had he just done? His beating heart told the story of his reaction. He had raised his hand against Eladebi. Eladebi, his wife and the mother of his children. What possessed him? He wondered.

The truth was glaring at him.

 He was possessed by Ebika’s love. He would do anything to keep her love, even if it meant hitting the woman who had given him her all. He winced at such thought. He wasn’t wrong, was he? Ebika’s love was worth it. With this new line of thought, his weak limbs regained strength and carried him back to the bed. He threw his left leg across the bed while the right remained on the floor. He forced a smile through his hardened lips. He had set in motion his plans to chase Eladebi out of his life. He wouldn’t back down. Her departure would make way for Ebika’s arrival. 

Ebika, the love of his life. The one who gave him joy. The one who made his made his world complete. He would give anything for her.

The only grey spot in his bright sky was her fiancé. His lip set in a hard line again. That man can never have my Ebika, he growled, nostrils flaring. She would be mine and no one else.

He picked up his phone and scrolled through his new messages on whatsapp. Ebika’s message was among. The message he had been unable to read because of Eladebi’s intrusion. Now he read it with great pleasure. She had promised to call everything off with her fiancé in a couple of days after which she would be free to be with him.

He read the message over and over again. It was the best news he had received so far. It made him forget what he had done to his wife. All he had to do was to use the time Ebika had given him to also push Eladebi out of his life and wait for Ebika’s green light.

He was certain Ebika would give him a positive answer.
*****************

Ebika clasped and unclasped her trembling fingers. She pressed them against her thighs to still the trembling. Her eyes rested on her phone on the table before her in the cafeteria. She had tried reaching Bina all through yesterday to break the news to him in person, but that had been impossible. Each time she picked up her phone to dial his number, her courage failed her. Doubt plagued her as she turned her hasty promise to Tolu over in her mind. The ‘what ifs’ kept her from calling Bina. It was the same doubt that kept her from reaching Bina now.

Tolu had asked for progress report during their chat the night before. She had nothing to tell him. He had spent up to fifteen minutes pleading with her to call off her introduction with Bina. The question on her heart however was if she was ready to call things off with Bina. 

She desperately needed someone to talk to. Her eyes moved around the busy cafeteria, resting on the ladies in groups enjoying a good meal and company. Laughter filled the air. People were relaxed, having. She was the only one alone and with no appetite. She truly had no close friends among her colleagues. She loved her privacy while she ate. That had made it difficult to keep close friends. It hadn’t really bothered her in time past when all was good and well with her, but she didn’t feel so anymore. What she would give to have good friends around her now, advising her. 

She heaved a sad sigh, shoulders drooping. Doubara was her best friend, but she couldn’t discuss her predicament with her. She already knew what Doubara would tell her. She didn’t want a one-sided advice. Same reason she didn’t talk to Douye. She needed someone who would consider both sides of the coin before concluding.

 “Oh, what do I do?” She scratched her hair. She was already regretting her new hairdo. The crotchet weave was killing her, but it was the least of her worry. Her mind was drifting from Bina to Tolu and Tolu to Bina. She had had very good times with Bina, even though her heart now favoured Tolu and wouldn’t recall her time with Bina. 

What if she gives Bina reasons why they should call off the introduction for a while without making it sound final? She sat up straight at this thought, light shining in her eyes. She could keep Bina in the pipeline while she figured out Tolu’s plans for her. She snapped her fingers. The pieces had finally fallen in the right places. No more worries. 

Whew! Thank you, Lord, for wisdom. She smiled. Having settled that, her appetite came back with full force. Telling Bina to hold on for a while was much easier to tackle than calling things off with him. It could still happen in the future if all went well with Tolu, but she didn’t have to consider that at the moment. Right now, she was at the top of her game and she would keep it that way. Her new slogan was live, love, spend Tolu’s money and be happy. She giggled as she went to order her lunch. 

Episode question: Do you agree that people fall out of love even after all promises and progress made in a relationship?

Old Flame EP 12

Something big happened in this episode. Find out what. Happy reading!

Episode Twelve
Something was off with Ebika. This thought laid like a heavy burden on his chest as he watched her across the table. He knew it wasn’t her new hairdo that made him feel this way. Her provocative hairdo was a surprise, but it didn’t give him so much concern. It was more of the I-don’t-care posture she assumed since they got to the restaurant to discuss their forthcoming introduction. 

Her interest had been more on her phone than on the budget she placed before him for them to peruse together. His eyes scanned her face, but she took no notice of his intense look. Her lips curved into a wide smile as her fingers flew across her phone’s keyboard. Warning bells jingled loudly in his head.

Could she still be angry because of her birthday gift? Worried thoughts made his heart their dwelling place while Ebika spent the next couple of minutes typing on her phone. 

He cleared his throat to draw her attention. She didn’t look up. She kept on typing. It was almost like she had forgotten she was with him in the restaurant. He could as well have been invisible. Whatsoever was off with her must be put back in order. 

He cleared his throat more loudly. She looked up at him with a slight frown. Her eyes were impatient as they glared at him. He tried not to let her look bother him. He delved into the reason why he had invited her to a restaurant on his first off day of the week.

“Ebika, you seem to have forgotten why we are here.” He told her, trying not to grit his teeth in disapproval.

She huffed. “What do you mean, Bina?” She challenged, eyes spitting fire. “You asked me to come with the budget I drew, and I’m here with it. Do you want me to go over each item with you?” She stopped short of snapping at him.

Bina’s mouth opened and closed at her harsh tone. The sound of the warning bells that started earlier grew louder. Ebika’s eyes left his and went back to her phone. He clenched his teeth in anger.

“Ebika,” he said, reigning his anger. “Don’t you think you should focus on the reason why we are? You seem more interested in your phone than in plans for our forthcoming introduction.”

She placed her phone carefully on the table and faced him. “What do you want us to talk about?” She quizzed in a tone heavy with sarcasm.

Bina sighed. If he wanted to get things in order then he would not take the bait she was throwing at him. He would keep his anger in place no matter what. Although that had been difficult for a while now. Ebika had gotten him so angry in such a short time as opposed the-once-in-a-while disagreement they had in the past. It was the roughest time of their relationship so far. He still had no answer for the tension that was building between them. He rubbed his jaw. His hand brushed a roughened jaw. He sighed. Ebika seemed to take more and more of his mind lately, and it wasn’t because of positive things.

Time to settle it all. His face softened with a smile. “Ebika, it’s okay. Let’s not argue.” He said in a reconciliatory tone.

Her face lost some of its antagonism. “I’m not arguing with you, Bina.”

“Fine. Let’s just talk about our introduction.” He fingered the piece of paper on the table. “Thank you for taking your time to prepare the budget. I just have an observation.” He stated.

She cast him a suspicious glance. “What is that?”

“The budget is way more than we can afford. I think you should reduce it. I mean this is just our introduction. We should make it small.” He said.

Her expression hardened. “How small are we talking about, Bina?”

Bina shifted in the cushion chair he was seating on. “Just a small gathering, Ebika. I don’t want us to spend so much on the introduction.” He reasoned.

“I don’t know why you keep using ‘we’, ‘us’. This is your responsibility, Bina, and you should shoulder it like a man.” She stuck her nose in the air.

Surprise crossed Bina’s face. His mouth snapped shut. How was it possible that Ebika had made so much change in just two weeks? What happened to her we-are-in-it-together song?

“Don’t look so surprised, Bina. It’s the right thing for you to do. You are the man. Besides, I have spent what I planned for this introduction on my family issues. If you were supporting me enough as my fiancé, then I would have enough to put down now.” She told him in a nonchalant tone. She picked up her phone and started scrolling.

Bina rested his back against the chair, gawking at Ebika. She refused to meet his eyes. His mind was boiling –with confusion and anger. Anger was winning the battle. It rose to the top within him. 

“If this is the way you feel, maybe we should not bother then.” He said in an icy-chilled tone.

Ebika’s eyes flickered. Bina noticed it. Fresh emotions flooded his heart. This time he recognized doubt and fear. For a moment he had seen the flicker of joy in Ebika’s eyes, even though it went away immediately. Could it be that she wanted out? He pondered within. No, he shook himself. He waited for her to respond. No need to draw his own conclusions.

“Has it gotten to that level?” She asked him. Her tone matching his.

He gave a shrug in response. “The budget is high and I can’t afford it.” He copied her earlier nonchalant tone.

They both regarded each other in silence, each with his own thought. At the end it was Ebika who gave in.

“Fine. I’ll see what I can do to the budget. We can’t just take a rash decision because of a trivial issue.” She forced a smile. “We’re fine, Bina.”

He doubted her. “Are you sure?” He asked, casting a worried look at her.

“Yeah, sure.” She said in a dismissive tone.

He handed the budget over to her. She collected it and kept it in her purse. 

“Don’t scare me like that again, Ebika.” He touched her hand lightly across the table.

She pulled it away gently. Again, she didn’t look at him. “All is well.”

“Thank you.”

Having settled that, they both spent the next few minutes going over other plans regarding the introduction. Ebika’s lack of enthusiasm did not pass Bina. He read it all from her responses. By the time they both entered his car, he was certain something big was coming –and it wasn’t a good thing.

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

Ebika broke down in tears the moment she got into her room. She clang to her pillow and wept into it. Things were going bad. When did I become like this? She wept. Why is my heart torn between Bina and Tolu? Who is the one for me, Oh Lord? 

She flung the pillow across the room and pulled off the bed sheet from the bed. She screamed into it. It is not my fault that Bina’s love is dying in my heart. I can’t help it.

‘Are you sure you can’t help it?’ she heard the question in her heart.

She swiped her tears on the bed sheet. I can’t. she screamed with all confidence. Bina is not what I thought he was. He doesn’t dress well. He is not romantic. He doesn’t even have a good car. He can’t give me good gifts. How many times have I heard that what is not done outside marriage won’t be done in marriage? God must have me in mind for bringing Tolu my way. 

She sat up straight as that thought settled in her heart. It made sense. Otherwise why would Tolu come back into her life just before she committed her future to Bina?

‘Are you sure God has a hand in this?’

Yet another question. It also got her thinking. She knelt beside her bed, hands clasped together and head bowed.

“Oh Lord, please hear my cry and help my heart. I am caught between two roads and …” A loud sound from her phone cut short her prayer. She eyed it with uncertainty. The call soon ended when she made no move to answer it. She took her prayer stance again. Before she could get any word out, her phone started ringing again. She threw her hands up and picked it. A smile broke through her sad lips when she saw the caller ID. She pressed the answer button.

“Hello.” She said, trying to force down her sudden excitement.

“Hello, the queen of my heart. Are you home now?” Tolu’s deep and attractive voice floated across the line. It was like music to her ears.

“Yes.” She said, taking a sitting position on the floor beside her bed. She curled her toes.

“I miss you so much, my love. I wish I could see you every moment of the day.” He said. His tone growing intense.

“Well, we can’t help being apart. We have our separate lives.” She replied, injecting flattery into her words.

Tolu growled. “ I really want to put an end to our separate lives. It’s time we have one.”

“How?” Ebika quizzed, eyes dancing in pleasure.

“Call off your introduction, darling. Please I beg you. Just give me a couple of weeks and I’ll straighten everything between us.”

She swallowed. This was her opportunity right. This was what her heart had been yearning for ever since her reunion with Tolu. Ever since he awoken her deep love for him. Her heart thumped ever so slightly as her answer came to her.

“Darling, are you still there?” 

“Yes.” She quickly answered, then she took a deep breath before giving her final answer. “I’ll call off the introduction, Tolu. Let’s work things out between us.”

“Yes! Yes!” Tolu squeaked in delight. “This is the best news ever. Oh my God! I wish we were together right now, Ebika. I would have given you the biggest kiss ever.”

Warmth flooded her heart. “Oh, there would always be time.” She teased.

“Really? I will take you up on that, Ebika.”

“You’re free to.” 

“Thank you, my love. You won’t regret this.” He assured her.

“No, I won’t.” She answered with the same assurance.

When the call ended, her excitement fizzled out as she thought of how to break the news to Bina. What would he do when she would tell him to call off the introduction? She would never know until she faced him. Facing him was her biggest challenge.

 Did Ebika make the right decision? Hmmm… 

Old Flame EP 10

Episode Ten

When she accepted Tolu’s invite for lunch to celebrate her birthday, she had wondered what she would tell Bina. But he had made everything easy for her when he called that morning to tell her he was on morning shift and would see her later in the evening. She made her calculations and noted with relief that her date with Tolu would be long over before Bina would meet with her.

Despite all she had told herself after Doubara’s counsel, she couldn’t stop the flutters in her stomach as she thought of being on a date with Tolu again. She rushed through her work as the clock ticked towards the time she would be with Tolu. She accepted birthday wishes from friends and colleagues. Her phone kept ringing. Everything was putting in her in the mood for a great time; even her mother had called her. Her call put a broad smile on her face. Her recovery was quite fast and it made her happy.

When she finished her major work that morning, she turned over the others to her partner whom she had planned with that morning. She went into the ladies to retouch her makeup. She would not meet Tolu looking ordinary. She must appear her best. It was the reason why her dress had been specially picked out that morning. The red gown was as daring as her mood. It was a long, flowing linen gown with a cut that ran from her knee downwards, revealing straight legs that were her pride. She left the ladies with so much confidence. As she swayed towards the reception to await Tolu, her steps faltered. She must tell Tolu the truth. She couldn’t keep up with their fantasies all in the name of old love. Yes, her heart was attuned to the feelings from the past, but she had to do the right thing. Tolu must know about Bina. Whatever the consequence, so be it.

That didn’t give her joy. She didn’t look forward to their meeting again. She dropped heavily on the metal chair in the reception. Her face was sad and withdrawn. Her hand rested under her jaw as she read the messages on her phone without her earlier glee. Her face brightened a little when she read the post Doubara had made for her on Facebook. Tolu arrived while she was at this.

He breezed into the office with the aura of the wealthy man he was. In his right hand was a bouquet of flower. His blue blazer glimmered in the bright light. The hair she loved was neatly combed. The fragrance of his perfume filled the area immediately. Heads turned to him. Some didn’t return to what they were doing before. It angered her that two ladies sitting in front of her were making ‘google’ eyes at him. She stood up then. Time to claim ownership of the fine specie that seemed to be everyone’s fantasy.

His eyes sparkled as he set them on her. The corners of her mouth widened in a smile until she felt they would tear. When he got to her, he dropped a kiss on her cheek.

“Happy Birthday, beautiful.”  He whispered into her ears. His free hand curved her small back.

If she was fair, her face would have become as red as a ripe tomato. “Thank you, handsome.” She replied in a husky voice. She met the eyes of the two ladies who had been looking at him with open admiration when he came in earlier. She didn’t expect friendly looks from them and she didn’t get them. What she saw was what would be seen in the eyes of defeated ladies: jealousy. She winked at them. One huffed and turned away.

Ebika laughed.

Tolu moved away from her and ran his eyes from her head to her toe. “You look more beautiful each day, my dear.” He told her, longing in his voice.

She giggled like a love-struck teenager. “It must be because of you.” She replied, batting her eyes at him.

He touched the tip of her nose. “Don’t kill me, Ebika.”

Another giggle. She looked around. They were the centre of attention for everyone. “We’ve given these lot a good drama. Now, let’s go before they declare war on us.”

He looked around then and guffawed. “You’re right.”

He led her through the slide doors and into his car. He drove down to a private guest house a few kilometres away from her office. He told her he had made reservations for them right there.

It was an exotic place. The environment was serene. Flowers adorned the drive way. A lawn tennis court occupied one side of the drive way. Just after it was a large swimming pool. A small shelter for relaxation was built beside it. The other side of the road had small hut-like shelters built with bamboo sticks for relaxation too.

Ebika took in the whole place in sheer delight. A place like this would have cost a small fortune. She said as much to Tolu, but he laughed it off. She was worth more than that, he told her. Ebika agreed too. It wasn’t wrong to be pampered this way, even if the one doing the pampering was your ex-boyfriend that you never broke up with.

Tolu guided her past the glass paned lobby. The desk clerk greeted him with a big smile. He got the key to the room he had paid for and led her there.

The room was quite exotic too. All was prim and neat. From the beautiful oil paintings on the wall, to the leather upholstery and the flat screen TV on the wall. She turned around. A fridge stood beside the king-size bed, laid with white bed sheet.

Tolu motioned for her to take her seat on the couch. She did with grace. If he saw her worthy to be brought to a place like this, then she would act the part of a well-cultured lady too.

She watched him as he made a call to room service. In a few minutes, a table was rolled into the room, and a feast was set before her. Her mouth opened in total surprise.

“Wow! Tolu. This is a lot.” She cried in delight.

He reached up a finger to her face, touching it with a feather-soft stroke. “You deserve this and more. This is what I would have given you if things hadn’t gone the way they went, but I’m here now to always give you this.” He stared at her with intense, burning eyes.

A strange sensation crept up her body as she looked at him. She swallowed the desire filling her senses quickly. Things were getting heated. What would be the state of her heart after this awesome time with Tolu? Her heart hammered in her chest. She looked away from him.

“You know how to make me feel special, Tolu. No one has done this.” She told him in a small voice.

He placed a hand under her chin and brought her face back to him. “I’ll do it always.”

No, you won’t, a voice cried within her. She is taken. She belongs to Bina.

Ebika shook off the voice. Tolu was not proposing to her, she told the voice.

“Come, let’s eat.” He said.

The fireworks that were on the verge of exploding moments ago eased as they moved to safer conversation during the meal. They shared stories of childhood birthday celebrations. She laughed easily at his jokes and stories. By the time their meal was over, they had relaxed considerably.

They moved to the shelter of the balcony with their drinks. The balcony overlooked the flowered garden in the compound. Tolu dropped a bottle of wine on the table that was placed alongside two chairs on the balcony. He pulled out a chair for her and took the other one.

He looked up at her, his intense gaze scanning her face. “I’m happy to be spending this time with you, Ebika. I don’t know what I would have done if you had rejected my invite.” He said.

Her gaze swept over his face. “Thanks for making this day very special for me. I won’t forget this in a hurry. It will be in my memory for a long time to come.”

He brushed her cheeks lightly with warm fingers. “I don’t want you to ever forget, Ebika. Let us build more memories.” His voice was very soft, pushing through the walls of her heart.

She lifted one dark swooping brow at him. “What do you mean?” She asked.

He placed his warm hand over hers that had gone cold, causing it to tingle. He looked like he was going to bear his heart to her, but then he shook his head. “Time will tell, Ebika.”

Ebika shook her head. “I don’t have time.” She told him in a tone heavy with sadness, her eyes looking into the distance.

He gave her a quizzical look. “What do you mean, Ebika?” He asked, making her turn back to him. He stared across at her.

Ebika let out a long breath. She felt her emotions brewing over like a cup of hot tea. She had to do the right thing.

“We’ve been separated for a long time, Tolu. A lot has changed between up.” She said in a tone that was just above whisper. Tolu fixed a steady gaze on her. She closed her eyes tightly and opened them gradually. She wanted the moment to pass by quickly. What if she was wrong about all that had been happening between them since they met again? What if Tolu was just being nice? He could have someone too, and was just being a good friend to her for the sake of old times. She sighed, let me just tell him, she decided within.

“Tolu, I’m engaged.” She said in a rush, staring into Tolu’s eyes to see his reaction. He seemed not to have heard her. He tilted his head to the left, a disoriented look on his face. He said nothing, just kept giving her the strange look. Worried lines etched her forehead. “Tolu.” She shook his hand. “Did you hear me?” She asked.

Only a small nod told her he was still with her. She sighed with relief. But then, why was he not talking, she wondered?

After what seem like forever, Tolu’s eyes refocused and gave her a conscious stare. “What do you mean ‘engaged’?” He asked her in a raspy tone. He downed his wine to wet his dry throat.

“I met someone else a couple of years back, and we are planning to have our introduction in three weeks.” She explained to him.

Tolu looked like she struck him. He got up from his chair and went to stand in front of the rail, his arms crossed his chest. His chest heaved up and down in quick succession. Fear moved down Ebika’s spine like tapping fingers as she watched him. He stayed that way for a while. All the time she kept wondering if she had kept her engagement to Bina too late. Guilt twisted her heart.

Tolu whirled, coming to her with burning eyes. He wrapped his fingers around her slender wrist. “Don’t leave me, Ebika.” He pleaded with her in a shaky tone.

Ebika swallowed at the intensity of his tone. “I’m right here with you, Tolu.” She replied. She was held captive by his gaze and so she found herself staring into the depth of his eyes.

He shook his head. “I love you, Ebika.” He admitted.

Laughter rippled within Ebika and rushed to the surface. She guffawed in his face. “That’s funny, Tolu.” She said, lifting her chin in disbelief. Her voice was calm, in spite of her runaway pulse.

Tolu shook her hand. “I mean it, Ebika. Meeting you again has proven that what I felt for you never died all these years. I can’t go a day without you now.”

She gaped at him as he spoke. He touched a finger to her lips. She felt heat move up her neck all the way to her hairline. It was happening for real. Tolu wanted her. If that was the case, then nothing was holding him back too. What would hold her back? Could her love for Bina stop what was building in her heart for Tolu? She listened to him as he spoke.

“I know I don’t have a good record of keeping a promise, but this is different for me, my love. I want to be with you. I feel it strongly like I felt it the first time I saw you. Just think about it, Ebika. While you do, you could put off the introduction. I want you be the one that would walk down the aisle with me.”

The walls in her heart were crumbling. She could feel it. She placed a hand over her chest as if she could stop it, but she knew she couldn’t. Tolu appealed to her a great deal. What she felt for him made her alive. She didn’t need to make her decision immediately, and there was no need for her to rush into anything with Bina. She would have this time with Tolu and make the right decision.

“Alright, Tolu.” She finally said, smiling up at him. “I’ll think about it.”

He circled her in a bear hug. “You won’t regret this, my love. Just give us this chance.”

“I will.” She said. Her words were muffled by his chest.

When he moved away from her, his eyes were happy. Gone was the deep sorrow from before. “I have something special for you.” He moved into the room and came back with a small jewellery box. He stretched it towards her. “Happy Birthday, my dear.”

She took the box from him. “Thank you.” She said.

“Open it.” he nudged.

She did. It was a gold wristwatch. She looked at the expensive wristwatch. “Wow, this is beautiful, Tolu. I will treasure this always.” She gasped in awe.

He gave his usual shrug. “You deserve the best.”

She left her chair and flew into his hands, dropping a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you.”

He wrapped her hands around her trim waist. “I’ll do more for you. Just love me.”

Sounded easy enough to Ebika. She could do this. She would only make the right choice between Bina and Tolu.

The rest of the time spent together kept tugging her heart towards someone. It wasn’t surprising that the name wasn’t that of the one whom she was engaged to.

 

Promises! Decisions! Crossroads! the web is so tangled, friends. Don’t forget to share your thoughts.

Old Flame EP 9

When an advice is given, one either takes it or leave it. What will Ebika do? Happy reading!

Episode Nine

Doubara was watching her with that weird look again. Each time she picked up her phone to reply Tolu’s chat, Doubara’s eyes would become suspicious. It must be because she kept smiling and laughing as she typed on her phone. The chat that started the previous night had continued early that morning. She was totally charmed by Tolu’s show of affection and care. If she hadn’t fixed up the meeting with Doubara days before, she would have spent the evening with Tolu again with the way he gushed over her, and the time they spent together the previous evening.

She dropped her phone and looked up at her friend, the smile still in her eyes. “What were you saying, Doubie?” She quizzed.

Doubara eyed her from across the table they were sharing in HiBooks cafeteria. Her eyes went to the phone and back to her. “Who is putting these smiles and laughter on your face, Ebika?” She asked.

Ebika laughed a little. “It’s a secret.” She said. Her phone beeped again. She made to pick it, but Doubara placed a hand on her hand.

“Tell me the secret. You told me Bina is on morning shift, so who are you chatting with?”

Ebika ran her fingers through her hair. Today, she wore it down. She held the front with a green headband to match her green blouse. The ‘selfies’ she took that morning had already been sent to Tolu, who had not stop talking about how beautiful she looked. Now, she looked at her friend.

“It’s not Bina.” She admitted, looking straight into Doubara’s eyes.

“I know already.” Doubara threw her hands up in exasperation. “Who?”

Ebika regarded her with caution-filled eyes. Would she understand? Would Doubara understand the reason for my attachment to Tolu? She sighed. “I’m chatting with Tolu.” She said simply.

“Tolu? Tolu?” Doubara called the name slowly, her eyes lifted up. She placed a hand under her jaw and thought more about it. “Toluuuu?” She repeated. She shook her head after a while. “Sounds strange. Is he a new member in our church?” She asked.

Ebika shook her head, twisting her fingers on the table. “I told you about him long ago remember. He was the one I was with in school.” She explained.

A look of remembrance filtered into Doubara’s eyes. Confusion however took the place of remembrance the next second. “I thought you lost contact years ago. Why are you chatting with him?”

“Because we found each other again after all these years. It happened a week back.” She told Doubara with all glee. She couldn’t resist the smile that followed her statement.

Doubara’s eyes closed up in suspicion again. “Found each other again?” She drawled. “What do you mean by that?”

“We met by chance at Royalty bank, and since then we have been trying to bridge the gap of eight years between us. You know getting to know each other all over again.”

Doubara gaped at her like something was wrong with her. Ebika wondered why. “What?” She asked when Doubara kept staring in silence.

Doubara shook herself. “Getting to know each other again? What does that even mean?”

Ebika rolled her eyes. Her patience was wearing out. She was also itching to read Tolu’s chats on her phone. She placed a hand on her phone, but the look on Doubara’s face stopped her from picking it up. “Doubie, Tolu and I are trying to be friends again, no big deal. We just don’t want to lose contact like we did before.”

Doubara sighed. “I don’t know why I feel something is not right. Just friendship and you have been chatting with him since I got here over thirty minutes ago? I haven’t seen you smile like you are doing when replying his chat.”

The ringing of her phone halted Ebika’s response. The call was from Tolu. She mouthed an excuse to Doubara and picked the call. He wanted to know why she had not been replying his chats. She assured him she would once she was through with what she was doing. She dropped the phone and faced Doubara.

“Just friendship.” Doubara sneered.

“It’s nothing really.” Ebika insisted.

“Does he know about Bina?” She asked the question that always filled Ebika with guilt each time she was with Tolu or chatting with him.

Ebika shook her head slowly.

“When do you intend telling him?” Doubara questioned, looking straight at her.

Ebika looked away. “It’s still early. When the time is right, I’ll tell him about Bina.” She responded.

Doubara touched her arm drawing her attention back to her. “Listen, Ebika, the time will never be right from what I can see. If you’re getting to know each other again, then it’s better you let him know about your fiancé. He should have someone too, I’m sure. He couldn’t have possibly waited for you until he found you. You should ask him this. I can see the look in your eyes, Ebika. This is not just friendship. Don’t let the devil deceive you with what is glittering. You don’t know what you’ll find when you unwrap it.” she squeezed Ebika’s hand gently. “I trust you to do the right thing, Ebika. You are a Christian, Ebika. Stand firm. Tell him about Bina and your forthcoming introduction. If he still wants to remain your friend, then set boundaries. Keep your Christian values so you won’t fall.”

Ebika felt torn within her as she listened to Doubara. She couldn’t fight against what Doubara had said because it was the truth. Her excitement with Tolu had stopped her from praying about her relationship with Bina. She spent more time fantasizing about life with Tolu than life with Bina. She had deliberately kept Tolu in the dark about her relationship just so she could have the kind of love they had in school. It was time to wake up. She couldn’t ruin it all because of romantic feelings. She couldn’t be seeing Tolu as the balance in her life when she had God.

“I have heard you, Doubara.” She said, regret etched on her face. “I would not be carried away. When next I meet Tolu, I’ll tell him all about Bina, so we could be clear on the kind of friendship we are building.”

Doubara nodded her approval. “That is better, my dear. God will give you grace.” She held her hands and said a short prayer with her.

The relief she desired didn’t come immediately. While she concluded her discussion with Doubara on their choir uniform, a heavy feeling of sadness settled on her. All she could think of was Tolu’s reaction when she told him about Bina. Would he still be with her, or would he keep his distance? She hoped for the former.

 

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

 

Tolu stared at his phone lying lifelessly on the table. The veins stood in his balled fists which cushioned his jaw. He kept waiting for it to ring. The aroma of the fried rice his wife had prepared for dinner did not appeal to him. He wanted to hear from Ebika. His wife kept sneaking peeks at him as she spooned her food into her mouth. His two sons played with their food, giggling as they made patterns with grains of rice scattered on the table.

Their action grated his nerves. “Stop that now!” He ordered sharply.

Immediately, Tari and Timi sat up right. His wife eyed him, but he wasn’t bothered. His mind was somewhere with Ebika. She whispered to them, and they ate peacefully after that. He on the other hand couldn’t get anything through his closed throat.

He kept wondering why Ebika stopped replying his chats and wouldn’t take his calls too. He picked his phone and dialled her number again. He listened to the phone ringing. When he heard the dial tone, he knew she had ignored the call again. Was there something he had done wrong? He rubbed his forehead.

His wife dropped her spoon on her plate of rice and faced him. “Are you alright, honey?” She asked.

He pushed away from the table. “I’m fine. I just don’t have appetite tonight.” He got up from the table.

The eyes she lifted to him were worried, but he could do nothing to alleviate it. Should he tell her he was pinning for an old love? Of course not. He touched her shoulder lightly as he walked past her chair.

“I’m fine, my love.” he reassured her.

She nodded slowly, looking unconvinced. He said nothing and went straight to the bedroom. When he got there, he dialled Ebika’s number again. He lost count of the number of times he called her before she finally answered.

He sat up straight in bed. “Ebika.” He called, letting out an audible sigh of relief.

She sounded distant when she responded. “Tolu, I’m sorry.”

“What happened?” He asked.

“We’ll talk about it later.” She replied.

“I want to take you out tomorrow to celebrate your birthday.” He told her.

A short pause. “Okay.” She finally said.

He did a sign of cross. “Thanks. I’ll pick you up in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be available.” She said.

“I’ve really missed you. Let’s talk online.”

“Okay.” She said.

He punched the air when the call ended. He let out a whoop of delight. The ache in his heart left immediately as her response to the messages he had sent earlier came. He positioned himself and replied her message. He was this way when his wife came in.

“It’s time for night prayers.” She informed him.

His eyes drew in irritation as he looked up at her. “Go ahead. I’m busy.” He replied, typing a reply to Ebika. She hesitated. He didn’t keep the irritation off his voice when he addressed her this time. “Go. I’m busy.”

She said nothing after that. While he smiled and laughed with Ebika through their chat, his wife’s voice carried through the room as she sang with the children. The guilt he felt was nothing compared to the pleasure he got chatting with Ebika.

Eladebi soon returned to the room after the prayer. She pulled back the bed cover and joined him in bed. He turned slightly, shielding his phone from her.

“I noticed you don’t wear your wedding ring anymore.” She said softly, adjusting her pillow.

His head came up at that. He looked at his ring finger. He had taken off their wedding ring when he was angry with her, before he met Ebika again. But since he met her, and felt the chemistry between them, he didn’t see the need to put on his ring again. It would only scare her, and he didn’t want that. Again, he couldn’t tell his wife that. An excuse would be good, or a white lie. He shrugged.

“I have a little injury on my finger.” He said.

She drew close to him. “Oh, I didn’t know. Let me see.” She peeped over his shoulder.

He turned completely away from her. “It’s nothing. I’ll be fine soon, and I’ll wear my ring again.”

“Okay.” She muttered. She wrapped her hands around his waist. “Good night, honey.” She said, nuzzling her cheek against his back.

He pushed her back a little. “Good night. Just sleep. I’ll join you soon. I want to check something in my study.” He got up and walked away from his matrimonial bed without a backward glance at his wife who watched him go with tears-filled eyes.

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