Love Quest Ep 16

Schemes! Plots! Plans! This episode is for the survival of the fittest. You’re not strong, watchful and sensitive, then Laye has you cornered. Catch a the exciting details in episode 16. Please drop your contributions o.

Episode Sixteen

Laye stared at the design before her on her computer but made no move to work on it. She had a deadline for the design but she had no passion for it. Why would she waste her time designing when things were not going the way they should? It had been a full week since she dropped her threat and Ken had made no move whatsoever towards her. In fact, he seemed to have gotten more confident. She had expected his call all week but had received none. Why would he not respond? Even her ploy with Tenisha had not worked because if it had Nimi would be in tears now and not smiling like she had the whole world at her feet.
The ringing phone on her desk drew her out of her inner musing. She took her time in picking it up. When she did, it was to be reminded of the deadline for her design. She slammed the phone back down. Who cares about a stupid design when her heart was on fire? She would attend to that first before she does any design. She could even plead with Karibo to sketch something for her. He would gladly do it, that she was sure of, but she wasn’t ready to see him yet. Each time they met he reminded of another date with him. She didn’t want that now, maybe later. It was enough that she wore the necklace he gave her all the time. What she needed was a plan? She would do anything to get one.
She pushed away from her desk and made her way to Nimi. Nimi sat with Ela and they seemed to be having a chat. They wore happy smiles as they relaxed on their chairs. Jealousy burnt within her like fire. She was once like that with Nimi. They once had their own friendship ritual but all that was gone now. Laye couldn’t remember the last time Nimi shared a cup of tea with her. Laye couldn’t even remember when they had an innocent conversation. All there was to her friendship with Nimi now was her scheming to have Ken and cause Nimi pain.
How could that be all that was left of their friendship? How could that be what she was holding on to now? Yes, Nimi had betrayed her, but was she right in wanting her downfall? What was it Nimi had said about Jesus and peace? Did she not want such peace? What would be the end if she got Ken and a bad reputation alongside? Where were the precious memories they had shared as friends? What would people say if they found out she was the one hurting her own friend?
These questions halted her steps. She made no move to join Nimi and decided to turn away, but Nimi had seen her and called out to her. She forced her lips to curve in a smile no matter how fake and stiff it was. She waved at both ladies.
“Hi,” she greeted in an overly cheerful voice.
“Hi,” they both replied.
Nimi pushed back the chair beside her and invited her to sit down. “How is it going?” she asked.
Laye shrugged. “Just okay. I decided to take a break to cool off.”
Nimi rubbed her shoulders, an understanding look on her face. “The pressure is high but I know you can do it. You have beaten more than this in time past, so this is nothing new.” She encouraged.
Laye squeezed Nimi’s hand. “Thanks, Nimi, you’re always there for me.” she remarked.
Nimi’s eyes grew big with a smile. “Just as you are always there for me.”
Laye waved off the comment, changing the topic. “I know you are covered. Mr Ken will never pressure your team because of you.”
Nimi’s head went back in laughter. “Oh, please don’t delude yourself. I’m under the same pressure; although I finished a while ago that’s why you see us this relaxed.” She shared a wink with Ela.
Laye’s face contorted in displeasure at their show of friendship. Her fake smile slipped off and she didn’t bother plastering another one. “Well, you wouldn’t want to do anything to spoil the cool atmosphere around you. Just imagine doing something that would result in a big quarrel or even fight. I know you guys have never had any reason to disagree.”
Nimi’s eyes dulled a little. “Well, we’ve had our share.” She admitted.
“You don’t say?” Laye feigned surprise. “I thought you had it all. What happened?”
“Well, it’s not something I really enjoy sharing but we are past it now.” Nimi replied, sharing a look with Ela who gave her a nod.
Laye eyeballed Ela. She wouldn’t let it go. “What really happened?” She pressed.
A closed look entered Nimi’s eyes. She hesitated.
Laye drew up straight in her chair. “Are you hiding things from me now, Nimi? Is that how bad our friendship has become?” She turned to Ela. “Ever since you showed up, things have changed between Nimi and me. I don’t know what you’ve been telling her, but I was first her friend before you ever showed up and you can’t separate us.” She bawled at her.
Ela said nothing. She only smiled at Laye’s words.
Nimi touched her elbow. “Laye, calm down. Ela is innocent of all your accusations. We’re still friends, but you should know there are certain things we can’t share in the open like this. I’m only being cautious.” She explained.
“It doesn’t matter, Nimi. If you want to tell me, you will tell me. We use to talk in a coded language. That hasn’t changed, has it?”
Nimi sighed. “Fine.”
Laye smiled then, looking expectantly at her.
“Ken had a relationship before he got here. Things ended but the lady traced him here and has been disturbing him for a restart.” She told her succinctly.
Laye feigned surprise again, opening and closing her mouth. “Hmm…” Nimi gave a shrug. Laye had her opening. “Nimi,” She started cautiously. “Don’t you think you should have a rethink of this your relationship with Ken? I mean, if he has such baggage, how are you sure there wouldn’t be more surprises? Raymond is coming back too. Maybe God is trying to tell you something important. These are signs you shouldn’t ignore. Ken may not be the one.”
Nimi smiled to her amazement. “Our God is not an author of confusion. He is working things out for us. Raymond is not the answer.”
Laye hid her disappointment. She got up. “Well, thank God you told me. Just be wise, my friend. Let’s talk later. I think I have ideas for my design now.”
Nimi gave a nod. “Thanks, Laye.”
She strode off. From the corner her eyes, she saw Ela drawing close to Nimi. It was obvious they would be discussing what she had said. Ela would definitely be raising objections against her suggestion, but she didn’t care. She had her design to work on indeed; they just didn’t know the design exactly.

*********************
Laye was avoiding him, he was sure of it. Karibo paced the floor of his work area as he wondered why Laye had not given a response to his date invite. She seemed to end any discussion going that way with him, and yet she wasn’t saying no. If she wanted nothing with him, then she should come out plainly and tell him she wanted him to stay away. But she had done no such thing. She had even shown her interest by wearing the necklace he had given her. What then is stopping her? He was certain she had no one in the office. He would have heard something if that was the case. If nothing was forth coming, then he would take the bull by the horn. He would go to her and refuse to leave until she gave him an answer.
He walked down the corridor in purposeful strides. His mind was made up. He must get an answer from Laye. Enough of playing with his emotions. As he turned around the corner leading to the general work area, he sighted Laye walking down with a determined look on her face.
Good, he told himself. We will get over with you right now.
He didn’t get to her before she took a turn towards the ED’s office. He hastened his steps and followed her. If she wanted to see the Mr Ken then he would wait around until she was through. He was certain it wouldn’t take long. Just then he heard voices. The voices were coming from Mr Ken’s office and they sounded angry. He peeped around the corner and caught Laye in a bitter argument with Didi. Didi seemed to be blocking Laye’s path. She stood before the door unflinchingly despite the venom pouring from Laye.
Karibo stood looking befuddled at the scene playing out before him. Why was Laye bent on seeing Ken, and why was Didi stopping her from doing that? He understood nothing. He moved a step to intervene but halted when Mr Ken came out of the office. He didn’t look pleased seeing Laye there. He said something to Didi and the secretary took her leave, giving Laye a cold stare. Laye rolled her tongue at her in a show of victory. The moment Didi was out of earshot, Mr Ken grasped her arm and pulled her into his office. Laye didn’t utter a single word of protest to Karibo’s utter amazement. The door was slammed behind them.
Karibo stood up straight. What just happened? He asked himself confused. I must find out. He covered the few metres between where he stood and the office in tiptoes. He would not leave this mystery unsolved. When he was sure the environment was clear, he pressed his ear to the door. That was when he heard it all.
“What exactly do you want from me, Laye?” Ken asked in utmost frustration. “Can’t you tell that I want nothing to do with you?”
“You lie, Ken. I want you. I love you. Why not me? Why Nimi?” She replied in a desperate tone.
Karibo felt his heart shattered into a thousand pieces at that instant. He clutched his chest and leaned against the door. His chest thumbed loudly against his ribcage. He stared wide-eyed at the door finding it difficult to believe what he had heard seconds ago. This can’t be, he cried within. This Laye can’t be the same Laye I know. While he struggled to comprehend what he had heard, he missed the next lines of the conversation. By the time he paid attention again, Laye’s voice was hard and threatening.
“You think you’re free because you have told Nimi about Tenisha, Oh no, you’re not. I won’t sit back and watch you guys have it easy. Nimi can’t have you. I won’t allow it.”
“You need Jesus, Laye.” Ken replied in a resigned tone.
Laughter rang from within. “When you lose everything then you will come running to me for succour. Just wait and see. Nimi will leave you and go back to Raymond. Raymond is her one true love. She doesn’t even love you. You’re just a rebound. She has told me that much. You’re just a tool to make Raymond jealous. He’s back and she’s considering going back to him. If you know what is good for you, you better leave her now.”
Karibo stumbled away from the door. He couldn’t listen to more hateful words coming from a lady he had fallen for. He couldn’t fathom the depth of Laye’s obsession. He couldn’t even imagine Laye doing that to a friend; not just any friend, a very good friend. Laye was beyond obsessed. She sounded like she had dementia. What else would make a lady burn with such hatred for a friend all in the name of love? If she could be saying things like these then Nimi wasn’t even safe. No, he had to stop her. He must stop her.
It wasn’t long before the door opened and closed. Karibo braced himself for the confrontation. He drew himself to his full height and waited for the raging Laye. He heard her feet even before she showed up looking like a wounded lion, eyes red and spitting fire. She stopped dead in her tracks when their eyes met.
“Laye,” he called softly trying to keep his anger in check. “I heard it all.” He told her simply.
Confusion clouded her face for a few seconds before understanding dawned on her. The eyes that met his was cold and indifferent. “So what?” She challenged.
Karibo paled at her lack of remorse. If he had doubted what he heard earlier, her bravado now told him otherwise. What baffled him was that he had not noticed this side of her before. Looking at her standing before him, daring him to challenge or condemn her filled him with pity. This woman before him had no identity. It was obvious she was at her lowest ebb. His outpour of anger would do no good, but yet he would not allow her do anything dangerous.
“I will like to tell you what a lowlife you are, but I won’t do that. Even if you try to deny it and stand here with your false bravado, you know you are a lowlife right now. I don’t know the entire story, and I don’t want to know, but I want you to know that this path you have chosen is not the best. You are too good for this evil you’re displaying. This is not love, Laye; it is lust. I’m not telling because I want you for myself; I mean what man will want a lady that is behaving this way, but that is beside the point. I’m telling you this so that you can come back to your senses; so that you can know that something is wrong with you. I won’t say more than this. I just hope you don’t ruin your life.”
Laye’s eyes became bright with tears when he ended his statement. “You don’t know how it feels.” She said in a choked voice.
Karibo gripped her shoulders. “Feelings? You’re doing this because of the way you feel? You’re ready to scar yourself because of that? Oh, no, Laye, don’t go that way. Do you think Ken will love you after this? You won’t win at the end. You’ll also be miserable.”
Laye shook off his hands. “Then we’ll all be sad.”
Karibo let out a resigned sigh. “There is no reasoning with you.” He shook his head and walked away. His prayer was that it wouldn’t be too late before she realized what she was doing. Episode Sixteen
Laye stared at the design before her on her computer but made no move to work on it. She had a deadline for the design but she had no passion for it. Why would she waste her time designing when things were not going the way they should? It had been a full week since she dropped her threat and Ken had made no move whatsoever towards her. In fact, he seemed to have gotten more confident. She had expected his call all week but had received none. Why would he not respond? Even her ploy with Tenisha had not worked because if it had Nimi would be in tears now and not smiling like she had the whole world at her feet.
The ringing phone on her desk drew her out of her inner musing. She took her time in picking it up. When she did, it was to be reminded of the deadline for her design. She slammed the phone back down. Who cares about a stupid design when her heart was on fire? She would attend to that first before she does any design. She could even plead with Karibo to sketch something for her. He would gladly do it, that she was sure of, but she wasn’t ready to see him yet. Each time they met he reminded of another date with him. She didn’t want that now, maybe later. It was enough that she wore the necklace he gave her all the time. What she needed was a plan? She would do anything to get one.
She pushed away from her desk and made her way to Nimi. Nimi sat with Ela and they seemed to be having a chat. They wore happy smiles as they relaxed on their chairs. Jealousy burnt within her like fire. She was once like that with Nimi. They once had their own friendship ritual but all that was gone now. Laye couldn’t remember the last time Nimi shared a cup of tea with her. Laye couldn’t even remember when they had an innocent conversation. All there was to her friendship with Nimi now was her scheming to have Ken and cause Nimi pain.
How could that be all that was left of their friendship? How could that be what she was holding on to now? Yes, Nimi had betrayed her, but was she right in wanting her downfall? What was it Nimi had said about Jesus and peace? Did she not want such peace? What would be the end if she got Ken and a bad reputation alongside? Where were the precious memories they had shared as friends? What would people say if they found out she was the one hurting her own friend?
These questions halted her steps. She made no move to join Nimi and decided to turn away, but Nimi had seen her and called out to her. She forced her lips to curve in a smile no matter how fake and stiff it was. She waved at both ladies.
“Hi,” she greeted in an overly cheerful voice.
“Hi,” they both replied.
Nimi pushed back the chair beside her and invited her to sit down. “How is it going?” she asked.
Laye shrugged. “Just okay. I decided to take a break to cool off.”
Nimi rubbed her shoulders, an understanding look on her face. “The pressure is high but I know you can do it. You have beaten more than this in time past, so this is nothing new.” She encouraged.
Laye squeezed Nimi’s hand. “Thanks, Nimi, you’re always there for me.” she remarked.
Nimi’s eyes grew big with a smile. “Just as you are always there for me.”
Laye waved off the comment, changing the topic. “I know you are covered. Mr Ken will never pressure your team because of you.”
Nimi’s head went back in laughter. “Oh, please don’t delude yourself. I’m under the same pressure; although I finished a while ago that’s why you see us this relaxed.” She shared a wink with Ela.
Laye’s face contorted in displeasure at their show of friendship. Her fake smile slipped off and she didn’t bother plastering another one. “Well, you wouldn’t want to do anything to spoil the cool atmosphere around you. Just imagine doing something that would result in a big quarrel or even fight. I know you guys have never had any reason to disagree.”
Nimi’s eyes dulled a little. “Well, we’ve had our share.” She admitted.
“You don’t say?” Laye feigned surprise. “I thought you had it all. What happened?”
“Well, it’s not something I really enjoy sharing but we are past it now.” Nimi replied, sharing a look with Ela who gave her a nod.
Laye eyeballed Ela. She wouldn’t let it go. “What really happened?” She pressed.
A closed look entered Nimi’s eyes. She hesitated.
Laye drew up straight in her chair. “Are you hiding things from me now, Nimi? Is that how bad our friendship has become?” She turned to Ela. “Ever since you showed up, things have changed between Nimi and me. I don’t know what you’ve been telling her, but I was first her friend before you ever showed up and you can’t separate us.” She bawled at her.
Ela said nothing. She only smiled at Laye’s words.
Nimi touched her elbow. “Laye, calm down. Ela is innocent of all your accusations. We’re still friends, but you should know there are certain things we can’t share in the open like this. I’m only being cautious.” She explained.
“It doesn’t matter, Nimi. If you want to tell me, you will tell me. We use to talk in a coded language. That hasn’t changed, has it?”
Nimi sighed. “Fine.”
Laye smiled then, looking expectantly at her.
“Ken had a relationship before he got here. Things ended but the lady traced him here and has been disturbing him for a restart.” She told her succinctly.
Laye feigned surprise again, opening and closing her mouth. “Hmm…” Nimi gave a shrug. Laye had her opening. “Nimi,” She started cautiously. “Don’t you think you should have a rethink of this your relationship with Ken? I mean, if he has such baggage, how are you sure there wouldn’t be more surprises? Raymond is coming back too. Maybe God is trying to tell you something important. These are signs you shouldn’t ignore. Ken may not be the one.”
Nimi smiled to her amazement. “Our God is not an author of confusion. He is working things out for us. Raymond is not the answer.”
Laye hid her disappointment. She got up. “Well, thank God you told me. Just be wise, my friend. Let’s talk later. I think I have ideas for my design now.”
Nimi gave a nod. “Thanks, Laye.”
She strode off. From the corner her eyes, she saw Ela drawing close to Nimi. It was obvious they would be discussing what she had said. Ela would definitely be raising objections against her suggestion, but she didn’t care. She had her design to work on indeed; they just didn’t know the design exactly.

*********************
Laye was avoiding him, he was sure of it. Karibo paced the floor of his work area as he wondered why Laye had not given a response to his date invite. She seemed to end any discussion going that way with him, and yet she wasn’t saying no. If she wanted nothing with him, then she should come out plainly and tell him she wanted him to stay away. But she had done no such thing. She had even shown her interest by wearing the necklace he had given her. What then is stopping her? He was certain she had no one in the office. He would have heard something if that was the case. If nothing was forth coming, then he would take the bull by the horn. He would go to her and refuse to leave until she gave him an answer.
He walked down the corridor in purposeful strides. His mind was made up. He must get an answer from Laye. Enough of playing with his emotions. As he turned around the corner leading to the general work area, he sighted Laye walking down with a determined look on her face.
Good, he told himself. We will get over with you right now.
He didn’t get to her before she took a turn towards the ED’s office. He hastened his steps and followed her. If she wanted to see the Mr Ken then he would wait around until she was through. He was certain it wouldn’t take long. Just then he heard voices. The voices were coming from Mr Ken’s office and they sounded angry. He peeped around the corner and caught Laye in a bitter argument with Didi. Didi seemed to be blocking Laye’s path. She stood before the door unflinchingly despite the venom pouring from Laye.
Karibo stood looking befuddled at the scene playing out before him. Why was Laye bent on seeing Ken, and why was Didi stopping her from doing that? He understood nothing. He moved a step to intervene but halted when Mr Ken came out of the office. He didn’t look pleased seeing Laye there. He said something to Didi and the secretary took her leave, giving Laye a cold stare. Laye rolled her tongue at her in a show of victory. The moment Didi was out of earshot, Mr Ken grasped her arm and pulled her into his office. Laye didn’t utter a single word of protest to Karibo’s utter amazement. The door was slammed behind them.
Karibo stood up straight. What just happened? He asked himself confused. I must find out. He covered the few metres between where he stood and the office in tiptoes. He would not leave this mystery unsolved. When he was sure the environment was clear, he pressed his ear to the door. That was when he heard it all.
“What exactly do you want from me, Laye?” Ken asked in utmost frustration. “Can’t you tell that I want nothing to do with you?”
“You lie, Ken. I want you. I love you. Why not me? Why Nimi?” She replied in a desperate tone.
Karibo felt his heart shattered into a thousand pieces at that instant. He clutched his chest and leaned against the door. His chest thumbed loudly against his ribcage. He stared wide-eyed at the door finding it difficult to believe what he had heard seconds ago. This can’t be, he cried within. This Laye can’t be the same Laye I know. While he struggled to comprehend what he had heard, he missed the next lines of the conversation. By the time he paid attention again, Laye’s voice was hard and threatening.
“You think you’re free because you have told Nimi about Tenisha, Oh no, you’re not. I won’t sit back and watch you guys have it easy. Nimi can’t have you. I won’t allow it.”
“You need Jesus, Laye.” Ken replied in a resigned tone.
Laughter rang from within. “When you lose everything then you will come running to me for succour. Just wait and see. Nimi will leave you and go back to Raymond. Raymond is her one true love. She doesn’t even love you. You’re just a rebound. She has told me that much. You’re just a tool to make Raymond jealous. He’s back and she’s considering going back to him. If you know what is good for you, you better leave her now.”
Karibo stumbled away from the door. He couldn’t listen to more hateful words coming from a lady he had fallen for. He couldn’t fathom the depth of Laye’s obsession. He couldn’t even imagine Laye doing that to a friend; not just any friend, a very good friend. Laye was beyond obsessed. She sounded like she had dementia. What else would make a lady burn with such hatred for a friend all in the name of love? If she could be saying things like these then Nimi wasn’t even safe. No, he had to stop her. He must stop her.
It wasn’t long before the door opened and closed. Karibo braced himself for the confrontation. He drew himself to his full height and waited for the raging Laye. He heard her feet even before she showed up looking like a wounded lion, eyes red and spitting fire. She stopped dead in her tracks when their eyes met.
“Laye,” he called softly trying to keep his anger in check. “I heard it all.” He told her simply.
Confusion clouded her face for a few seconds before understanding dawned on her. The eyes that met his was cold and indifferent. “So what?” She challenged.
Karibo paled at her lack of remorse. If he had doubted what he heard earlier, her bravado now told him otherwise. What baffled him was that he had not noticed this side of her before. Looking at her standing before him, daring him to challenge or condemn her filled him with pity. This woman before him had no identity. It was obvious she was at her lowest ebb. His outpour of anger would do no good, but yet he would not allow her do anything dangerous.
“I will like to tell you what a lowlife you are, but I won’t do that. Even if you try to deny it and stand here with your false bravado, you know you are a lowlife right now. I don’t know the entire story, and I don’t want to know, but I want you to know that this path you have chosen is not the best. You are too good for this evil you’re displaying. This is not love, Laye; it is lust. I’m not telling because I want you for myself; I mean what man will want a lady that is behaving this way, but that is beside the point. I’m telling you this so that you can come back to your senses; so that you can know that something is wrong with you. I won’t say more than this. I just hope you don’t ruin your life.”
Laye’s eyes became bright with tears when he ended his statement. “You don’t know how it feels.” She said in a choked voice.
Karibo gripped her shoulders. “Feelings? You’re doing this because of the way you feel? You’re ready to scar yourself because of that? Oh, no, Laye, don’t go that way. Do you think Ken will love you after this? You won’t win at the end. You’ll also be miserable.”
Laye shook off his hands. “Then we’ll all be sad.”
Karibo let out a resigned sigh. “There is no reasoning with you.” He shook his head and walked away. His prayer was that it wouldn’t be too late before she realized what she was doing.

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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

 

 

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?