Old Flame Ep 20B

Episode 20B

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they did flow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Forgive me, Ebika. Please forgive me”

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

“I have a…” he hesitated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But…” Ebika chipped in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ebika, I’m sorry. Please for…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE END.

Dear Readers,

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

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

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

Faith P.I

 

 

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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?