So, I had this episode of It’s Another Saturday since Saturday and I was like, I’ll post it on Monday because of the public holidays. But then on Monday, I think I forgot or something very stupid like that. Then I wanted to post it yesterday but I had another post scheduled.
So, here it is…the bonus episode. Specially dedicated to erm…to you. You know yourself.
I’m not listening to a word he’s saying. All I want is to just get away from him before my feelings turn to hate. I can’t even look into his eyes right now.
“Leave me alone, Jide.”
“Just listen to me. Let me explain. It’s a pretty, simple explanation…”
I shove away his hand resting on my arm and leave the house through the kitchen backdoor.
“Honey!” He comes after me and takes my hand again. “Smoochie, listen to me, please.”
I almost melt at the pet name he has just called me. This is following a heavy make out session earlier this morning in which we got caught by mommy and she gave us the third degree about the dangers of premarital sex.
“Let me go.” I wrestle but he holds me tighter and pulls me closer, wrapping his other arm around my waist. I take just one look into his eyes and I soften but it doesn’t stop the tears from spilling.
“You know you can trust me, Honey.”
“How? After what I just heard? Jide, that’s like the worst thing to do. I’m so disgusted at you right now. Leave me!”
I pry my hand off and walk away.
“You know I won’t go after you,” he says. “If you want to leave without hearing my side of the story, then go ahead.”
I stop and wipe my tears. Okay, maybe I need to hear him but after I’m done listening, I’ll go to his place, pack my things and leave his life. Sleeping with one’s sister-in-law? I just can’t deal.
I turn around and find myself almost in his arms. I step back. He clutches my hand once more and leads me back into the house. Daddy is in a very bad mood. He is ranting in Igbo. Everyone is dead quiet. Mommy has her chin in her hand as she stares at the floor with absent eyes. Tola has settled on a side stool, crying, but nobody pays her any mind. The moment Jide steps in, daddy’s tirade hits the roof. I don’t understand what he’s saying but I think he’s telling him to leave. Jide replies in Igbo, daddy fires back, Jide raises his voice as well, and mommy finally steps in.
“Let him talk, please,” she says to her husband exasperatedly.
Daddy grunts and slumps into a single couch behind him.
“You all want to know the truth,” Jide begins. “This is the uncut version of what happened between Tola and I. Tola, if you open your mouth while I’m talking, I’ll throw you out of this house like a rotten egg. Don’t say a word.”
I have never seen his face so icy. I lean on the wall behind me and listen to him.
“I met Tola at Bobby’s wedding party. We hit it off on the dancefloor. I told her my name, she told me hers. Family or dating history never came up. We ended up in a hotel room where we spent the night. By the next morning, when I woke up, she was gone, and she took my wallet, one of my phones and wristwatch, and then called me to tell me that she was Emeka’s fiancée. She said I was to make sure Emeka got married to her or she would expose that we slept with each other. She also told me she was already five weeks pregnant then. God being my witness, I did not know who she was prior to our meeting. Tola had revenge sex with me because Emeka cheated on her with her cousin. She had it all planned and I fell into the trap. My only crime here was sleeping with someone I didn’t know. I have confessed to Emeka. I told him everything but I am not responsible for his being absent today, although I am happy he is. Tola doesn’t deserve him.”
All eyes are on Tola now. “You knew who I was, Jideofor!” she rants. “Emeka sent you pictures of us!”
“Did I not tell you to close your mouth?!” Jide growls, advancing towards her. She shrinks back and he stops, but leaves a menacing glare on her.
“Omotola, can you dispute all Jide just said?” Kalu asks.
“Did Jide just tell the truth about what happened between you two?”
Tola strikes a restless pose and I start to dislike her.
“Emeka and I were not technically together when I hooked up with Jide,” she answers in a mousy voice.
“Jesus Omotola! Or whatever your useless name is!” Elsie snaps. “You’re such a ho! And you stormed into this place, slapped Jideofor and made him out to be the villain when it was you who jumped from one brother to the other!”
“I didn’t mean to.” Tola launches into a fresh sob. I want to march to where she is and knock her off that stool this minute.
“Stop that very nonsense cry right there!” Daddy thunders. “What type of woman are you, sleeping with two brothers?! And you came here and made all of us fall in love with you when you had evil intent in your heart all along?!”
“No, daddy. I truly love Emeka.”
“Maybe a little too much,” mommy says in a gentle tone. I don’t see the anger in her eyes that everyone shares. She looks rather tired. “You’re obsessed, Tola. And it’s a bad thing for a woman to be that way with a man. It will make you do things you normally wouldn’t do.”
“Stop trying to understand the reasoning behind the abomination she has committed!” daddy tells his wife. “She is no longer welcome here! Omotola, get up from that place and leave my house this minute!”
Tola lets out a loud cry.
“Lawrence, please, calm down.”
“No! She leaves this minute! Get up, my friend!”
Tola vacates the stool but falls on her knees to plead. I want to feel sorry for her but I can’t. Not when I’m still mad at Jide for giving himself to other women so easily but denying me what is rightfully mine. This fight is so not over between us.
Tola, snake that she is, has crawled up to mommy’s feet and is putting up the shoddiest act, still making the whole thing about her.
“Woman, you are defying my orders by letting this wicked human being stain my floor with her crocodile tears!”
“Mommy, let her go, please,” Elsie begs. “The marriage is off. Her tears are unnecessary.”
Tola moans pathetically and throws herself on mommy’s laps. Mommy rubs her back and looks at her husband dolefully. Daddy doesn’t budge.
“Obasi, call the gateman to come and throw her out!”
Tola screams again, holding mommy tightly. “Mommy, help me beg him!”
As Oba heads for the door, it pushes in from outside and Emeka walks into the house. To everyone’s surprise, he is dressed in his wedding attire.
“Where have you been, Chukwuemeka?” mommy demands. Emeka doesn’t give an answer. He walks further and stands before everyone with a smile.
“I have a son!” he announces.
At first there is silence and then Elsie lets her baby down and gives him a hug. “Congratulations, darling!”
Mommy cracks a proud smile and calls him over as tears flood her face. When he bends to hug her, he pinches Tola’s cheek and mutters something to her. With the atmosphere suddenly changed, we all congratulate him, except daddy who retains his anger and cold mood.
“Tola,” Emeka calls, “it was this good news I was trying to share with you on the phone this morning but you heard the name Yazmin and totally flipped and concluded the wedding was off.”
“I’m sorry, baby.” Tola stands up. “I didn’t know.”
“Well maybe next time, you should try not to listen to that resident demon in your head.”
“I think they’re more than one demon, Chukwuemeka,” daddy comments. “And that is why the wedding will not hold anymore. There is no way I’ll sit back as your father and watch you marry this woman.”
Tola walks to Emeka and puts her arms around him. They look cute together in their matching attire. Why do I have a feeling that they were once crazy in love?
“Help me beg him, Mex. Beg mommy and everyone else too. I’m so sorry for what I did with Jide. I’m very sorry. I was desperate. And I’m begging you too. Please forgive me.”
Tola goes on her knees again. She holds Emeka’s sokoto and resumes her sniveling.
“Oh well, the secret is out,” Emeka addresses everyone. “Tola really screwed up but I’m taking the blame for this one too.”
“Emeka?” Elsie whispers.
“Please, let me talk.” He focuses on his father. “When we were growing up, dad, you taught us that one of the things that makes a man is when he keeps to his word. You also told me that integrity is more valuable than money. I have lost my integrity, dad. I’ve messed up in many ways. With Tola, with Yazmin, with all of you. All I have left is my word. And I wanna keep it. I promised this woman here, a long time ago, that I’ll be her husband and I’ll keep that promise today. I’ve broken one heart already today; I can’t break another. What type of father would I be to my son if I go around treating women less than they deserve? Yes, Tola slept with Jide but that was only because I screwed around too. She is not this person you see here. A lot has happened between us to get her to this point. It never used to be like this. She was my best friend and was constantly there for me. I loved her and though, I don’t feel that way now, I know we can get back what we lost. I have forgiven her for what she did with Jide and I’m ready to start all over but we need your blessing – again.”
“I don’t approve.” Daddy shakes his head. “I’m sorry, son.”
“Dad, please. Your permission means a lot to us. You’ve been in my life from the first day. Don’t leave me now.”
We all look daddy’s way. He is still shaking his head.
“You want to build your home on a faulty foundation, Chukwuemeka, and I won’t allow it.”
“Daddy, please.” Tola is out of fake tears now. I think I see genuine regret on her face. I’m not sure. The girl is hard to understand.
“No.” daddy gives his final word. He stands again and begins up the stairs. Mommy also stands.
“Lawrence,” she calls, “it’s not like she committed adultery.”
“Even those who commit adultery find forgiveness from those they hurt. Emeka has said he has forgiven her. Why should we stop their happiness?”
Daddy turns and locks eyes with mommy in silence.
“Biko,” she drops one last plea.
Daddy lifts his head and stares up the ceiling as if in communication to God, and lets it down in a sigh.
“Chukwuemeka, I’m doing this because of your mother.”
“Thank you. Thank you, mom.”
“Get up, Omotola.”
Emeka helps Tola up and she rushes into mommy’s arms for a comforting hug. The old woman blesses them in prayer, removing any curse that looms over them due to their sins. She calls on God to make them fruitful and prosper the work of their hands. Daddy’s prayer is less extravagant, but he gives his blessing, nonetheless. I’m amazed and touched by this family’s love and forgiving spirit. I don’t think my family would do the same if they were in their shoes. This makes me love Jide more, knowing he has such awesome parents.
“Okay!” Kalu lifts his hand to check the time on his watch. “I think we have a wedding to attend.”
“Before we leave, Tola, there’s one more person you need to apologize to. And from today, you are not allowed to call him by his name. He is either Uncle Jide or Brother Jide or Dede or just De.”
“Yes, ma.” Tola nods and presents herself to Jide in a meek manner. “I’m sorry, Uncle Jide.”
Uncle Jide keh. After knowing each other carnally. I’d like to see how things go from now on. The whole thing still makes my head woozy.
“And please, I beg all of you,” mommy adds, “that what has been revealed here today does not leave this house. This should be one family secret that we take to our graves.”
We all agree with her. As Kalu directs everyone into waiting cars outside, Jide strolls to me. I turn my face away.
“Are you still vexing?”
“I am. Everybody seems to have had a taste of you, except me. I’m supposed to be smiling about that?”
He laughs and takes my waist. I push him away.
“Stop fronting jor.”
I ignore him as I head for the front door. He follows me and forces his arms around me from behind, lifting me off my feet. I squeal. He leaves wet kisses on my neck and shoulders, right in the presence of daddy who doesn’t seem impressed by the brazen display of affection.
“That is how you people will doing now,” he grouches. “After una go say una no wan do again. Na only God go judge all of you.”
Jide lets me down and we join the others outside. Kalu has us in the backseat of Oba’s car. There’s a cousin in front with Oba and they kick off with some gossip about some family member while Jide and I carry on our PDA.
“Have I told you how gorgeous you look, smoochie? Like I seriously want to eat you, right now.”
“Stop teasing, Jideofor. You’re such a tempter.”
He grins wickedly and pokes me in my sides. I can’t help but scream.
“Do I park the car and we wait outside till you guys are done?” Oba asks but Jide motions to him to face the road, and then he goes for my lips. Oh, sweet paradise on earth! This man is such a good kisser.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Tola got what she wanted at last. I hope she’s happy. Despite all the drama, tears and heartbreak, the traditional and white weddings are going down in history as the weddings that shut the city down. Did I mention that Emeka and Tola have a lot of influential friends? I didn’t know, being that I’ve been away for five years. Tola’s younger sister, Morenike, who is the manager of a multi award-winning rapper made sure she literally dragged the entertainment industry to both events. Then let’s not forget Novocaine Knights and the job they did as event planners. They have become so much of a household brand that people just pop up anywhere their name is mentioned and since the weddings were not strictly by invitation, the reception halls were packed to the rafters.
Honey and I have a good time, especially at the second reception. She loves to dance as much as I do, and we make the most of the dancefloor. At some point we are so lost in each other, the world around us just disappears into fuzzy colors and distant music. She alone is alive in my vista and for a passing moment I look into her eyes and see the woman I saw in my dreams while I was on my sickbed.
But like I said, a passing moment. Everything comes back to reality when I spot Mary being led by Reno out of the reception hall. She is limping and I can see blood gushing down her left leg. I hand Honey over to Bobby and leave the hall. I find Reno and Mary by a tap outside. She has her leg under running water.
“What happened?” I ask. Mary looks down. She doesn’t reply.
“Some idiot cut her with a sharp metal he was carrying.”
“Let me see.” I bend down. Mary pulls her leg away. “Let me see, madam.”
I take the leg and notice that it’s a deep cut.
“You’ll have to stitch this. Does it hurt?”
“Pele. Reno, abeg you fit use your car carry her go hospital?”
Reno apologizes. “You know say I suppose don dey work by now sef.
“I can handle myself.” Mary sits on a slab nearby.
“Handle yourself, how? You can’t even stand. Let’s not forget the risk of a tetanus infection.”
I stretch my neck to peer out the street. It’s already dark and I doubt that we would easily get a cab out there. I remember Oba had parked his car where he can access it later with no troubles. I tell Mary to wait while I go get him. Luckily, I find him yarning with some chick in a corner, just outside the entrance of the hall. He hands me his key, the look on his face telling me to handle my shit by myself. I stall. I’m still very uneasy behind the wheel but I don’t want to bug anyone else. I look at Mary; she is in a lot of pain. I breathe in and make the brave decision to take her to the nearest hospital after telling Oba to inform Honey of my whereabouts.
We get into Oba’s car. Mary looks at me as my hand shakes when it aims for the ignition. She touches me.
“You can do it, Jide. Just blank out that night.”
She doesn’t understand. I can’t blank out the most dreadful night of my life. I had experienced the type of horror one only watched in movies. I saw death coming and could do nothing about it. I recall Ezinne’s screams and how she ordered me to start the car as a trailer out of control sped towards us. But my hand had frozen over the ignition and I couldn’t move a single muscle. The last I remember hearing was her hair-raising scream before we got smashed into by the trailer. I can never forget that night. This is my first time behind the wheel since the incidence.
Mary’s hand squeezes mine. “Start the car, Jide.”
Still shaking, I turn the ignition and the car fires up. I can hardly feel myself breathe as I put the car into gear and slowly ease it out of its parked spot. It is with nerve I steer it through the tight street and unto a freer highway. At first, I drive like an old man who can’t see the night clearly but with Mary encouraging me to let go, I ease up a little. Still, I’m not sure I can do this another time.
“That’s a hospital,” Mary points out her window at an imposing structure in front of us.
“It’s a General Hospital,” I respond.
“I don’t care. Let’s just go in. I can’t stand this pain.”
I find a parking space in the hospital premises and help Mary in. Unfortunately for us, we have come in at a wrong time. An accident that had just occurred down the road with a lot of casualties has taken most of the doctors on duty. Mary and I are forced to sit and wait. Even the nurses won’t attend to us after we register.
“Let’s go somewhere else. I’m sure there’s a private clinic around.”
“I’ll wait,” Mary insists.
And so we wait. For the first time in our friendship, we have nothing to say to each other. I feel Mary wants to bring up the incidence that has put this wedge between us but she’s too nervous. And I don’t want to talk about it either.
“Nurse!” I call a nurse passing by. “How far nau? My friend is bleeding here!”
“Ehen? You didn’t see other people waiting? Or is it because you’re wearing shine-shine we should answer you first?”
I frown. She is a disgrace to my profession. I’d like to tell her that but I try a different tactic as I go after her.
“Excuse me, nurse.”
She stops and eyes me. “What is it! I’m busy, abeg! ”
“I know that. And that’s why I’m asking if it’s okay to dress and stitch my friend’s injury myself? I’m a certified nurse and midwife.”
She looks at me from top to bottom, claps her hands together and laughs. “Nothing wey I no go hear for dis place.”
I take out my wallet and pull out my ID. Curiosity erases her earlier expression and she gives me a second look. I put out my charming face that has nothing to do with a smile. She melts.
“Midwife keh.” She smiles. “This is new o. Oya come this way.”
She leads me to a room where she hands me a tray complete with everything I’ll need to fix Mary’s leg. At the same time she checks me out and becomes self-conscious when she decides I’m hot enough to spark something in her. Side note: I’m not that hot.
“You can bring your friend here.”
I rush out and return with Mary. The nurse has forgotten that she’s busy as she hangs around to see if I know what I’m doing. By the time I begin cleaning the wound, she mutters to herself and disappears.
“Jide…” Mary winces.
“I’m sorry for what happened.”
“Don’t break your head over that morning, Mary. I’ve forgotten it.”
“Seriously, I didn’t know what I was thinking.”
She laughs. “Okay. Yes, that.”
“It would have been a disaster afterwards if we did it.”
“I guess so. Or we would end up falling for each other.”
“I already have fallen for someone else, Mary.”
“I know. I’m just saying.”
“But you were willing to throw away your vow of celibacy just to have me?”
“I didn’t make any vow but I’m not making any excuses for what I did either. I screwed up.”
“Okay, this will hurt, boo. Little Ms. Bitchy Nurse didn’t give me any local anesthesia, so bite on my shoulder or something. I’m about to stitch you up.”
Mary rests her hand on my shoulder and I send in the needle through her flesh. She groans.
“That sound is so sexual,” I tease to ease her pain. She laughs and hits me. “Is that how you would have been moaning if we…?”
She lets out again as I make another stitch but this time she is less loud.
“You’re just a wicked soul, Olajideofor.”
“I know, boo. I’m sorry but I’ll forever tease you for that dangerous stunt you pulled because I know one day you’ll get over this silly crush and find a better man.”
“It’s that supposed to be consoling?”
“I know. By the way, nice peaks.”
She pulls my ear; I drive in the needle mercilessly. She screams. I think I hit a really sore spot.
I finish the work quickly but neatly, and then I cover the area to prevent infection.
“One last ouch,” I say as I prepare a tetanus shot for her. “Left arm, please.”
She turns but I can’t get to the spot on her arm that I need to inject. “Can I unzip your blouse?” I ask.
“Yeah, torture me some more.”
I smile unnoticeably as I unzip her to let her sleeve down.
I administer the shot. “It will hurt for some days. Please, don’t rub it.”
I let the zip up again. “Feel better?”
“Yeah. Thanks, Jide.”
I clean up the mess I’ve made in the tray and turn to see the nurse and two of her colleagues at the door, staring. God knows how long they’ve been standing there.
They all smile at me. The first nurse comes with a file and asks me to fill details of Mary’s treatment, after which she signs her own name. She scribbles on a medication leaflet and passes the leaflet to Mary. As we leave, she asks for my number. I don’t want to be rude, so I give her Honey’s.
“I’ll call you,” she promises as we walk away.
Back on the street, we hit traffic. I start to worry about Honey worrying about me. I would call her but my phone is in her purse. I ask Mary for hers; she tells me she’s out of battery life. We endure the traffic and talk while music plays on the radio. By the time we get to the reception venue, almost everyone is gone. None of my family members are present. I take Mary home and go to my parents’ to drop Oba’s car. There’s a little party there and they invite me to stay but I tell them I need to rest. They inform me Honey left about an hour ago.
I hitch a cab home. As usual, there’s no electricity. It has become the norm in my area these days. As I hike up the stairs, I grumble to myself about being too lazy to service my overworked generator. I let myself into the house and I’m welcomed by the fragrance of scented candles. Honey is not in the sitting room. I find her in my bedroom which is illuminated by candles and moon rays streaming in from one of the windows. She is lying beneath the covers and for a second I think she’s asleep but she stirs.
“You’re back,” she says, without turning.
“I’m sorry, Honey,” I say as I take off my clothes. “Mary got injured and I had to take her to the hospital where I ended up treating her myself. On our way back, we ran into traffic and by the time we got back to the venue, everyone was gone. I’m really sorry.”
Honey stays silent. I sit on the bed, unable to resist the beauty of her silhouette beneath the covers. Without asking, I slip in behind her. I hear her let out a naughty giggle. It isn’t until my hand mistakenly brushes against her nude butt that I realize she is completely naked.
She turns around and kisses me.
“I thought nudity was not allowed,” I remind her.
“The thing is,” she says, drawing lines on my chest, “I’m leaving for London tomorrow night.”
My brows pull together. “Why?”
“I got a letter from management at work. I’m to come and face a disciplinary panel to explain why I assaulted that woman.”
“Didn’t they already do that?”
“But they’ve already suspended you nau. What else do they want?”
“Just normal procedure. The bad news is that I might get my job back and be asked to resume immediately.”
There’s some sadness in her voice.
“Actually, that’s good news, Honey.” I gawk at her lovely face. The glow of the moon gives her a subtle radiance.
“I don’t want to go,” she confesses. “When will I see you again?”
I pull her into my arms; she lifts her head to search my eyes. She wants an answer to her question. I have nothing to say except that I’m going to miss her. I brush my lips over hers gently; my hands feel the smoothness of her bare skin. It is not good for my sanity. I disengage from her clutch and leave the bed. She laments with a moan that drives me directly into arousal.
“I’m sorry, smoochie. I just can’t. I…”
My voice vanishes instantly as she sits up in one swoop and throws the covers off her chest. This is the first time I’m seeing her breasts. Oh sweet lawd! I’m in love!
I’m a tit man. I was breastfed for two years and my mom said from then on I had this habit of grabbing boobs until my dad caned the addiction out of me at the turn of my fourth birthday. Well, he caned the body but not the soul. I still remain loyal. And this is my adulation of my girlfriend’s double D’s—voluptuous, rounded, taut, jutting, heavy, achingly swollen and throbbing. And her nipples—plump, flushed, peaked, pulsing, and of course, waiting. Who knew there were such pleasures beneath all the bras and clothes?
Ladies, my advice to you: STOP. WEARING. BRAS. Really, stop.
“You know I’m leaving tomorrow,” Honey purrs coquettishly and rises to a kneeling position, exposing the lower part of her beautifully-sculpted body. I take two as my eyes fall on her clean-shaven V. I try to look elsewhere. No, actually, I don’t.
“Why are you doing this to me, smoochie?”
She thrusts her lips in a dangerous pucker that snips the last strand of my resistance. My mom’s counsel echoes in my ears but only faintly. Right now, all I want is a dip in Honey’s pot. I dive into the bed and take her down with me. She squeals but I shut her up with just a touch. She hums and purrs all at once, the sound driving me wild.
She bites her lip and drives her fingernails hard into my skin.
“How long has it been?” I ask, my lips between hers.
“Two years.” She’s breathing hard, shivering at each touch.
“Oh, you’re so going to get it.”
I kiss my way down her body. It’s going to be a long night. Tomorrow she’ll be gone and I’ll face the four walls of my loneliness again. How do I stop myself from the emptiness that will fill my days? This woman has brought so much meaning in my life in such a short time. Is there a way I can keep her with me?
She giggles. I’ve touched a sensitive spot.
“I’m sorry,” she apologizes and squeals again. “I’m sorry. I’m just so sensitive.”
I stop what I’m doing to stare at her. “Don’t go.”
“What?” she lifts herself up on her elbows.
“Honey, don’t go. You hate that job. You hate the life. It’s taken so much from you and it’s about to take us too. Don’t go.”
“Oh, Jide.” She holds a fistful of her hair and falls back on the bed. “Let’s not talk now. Please! Or I’ll rape you!”
“You said you wanted to start your own travel agency. Kalu can help you with that. There’s no business on this earth he can’t set up.”
“Okay, good. I’ll talk to him but for now, please no more words, Jideofor Onuora.”
She drags me back and locks her legs around me. With hot kisses and ravenous strokes of my aching bulge, she silences me. We devour each other like wildlings. Beneath her sweet, calm exterior is a dirty, sassy lover who takes me and my nastiness without baulking. Her waist is a dangerous tool that undoes me in so many ways. I’m usually not this intense with a woman. Sex, before this, was skillful, yet empty, a way to fill lonely nights that were always plagued with insomnia or nightmares. There was never intensity; it was always detached. But in Honey I don’t need to impress. I close my eyes and I freefall. I don’t need to give. She takes, reaching into me and bringing out that part I have long buried. Nobody needs to tell me I’m in love again.
I hold her tight when we’re done.
“I love you, Jide,” she says in a slur as she shuts her eyes in sleep. I doze off after her and wake up at the rise of daylight. She’s still in my arms. If only there’s a way I can merge her soul with mine and keep her with me.
I hear a sniffle. I pull back and look into her face. She’s sobbing. I say nothing. There has to be a way to keep us together and I’ll find it.
Mom, you’re wrong about this one. Nobody can take her away from me.
Image Credits: solomonpatrick.blogspot.com, onewed.com
It was a beautiful day to get married. Maybe a good day to die too, Uyi thought. If he lay flat on his back on the lush green lawn of the Enenches’ and stared into clear blue sky above, heaven would seem much nearer to him. But no one was speaking of death, not even Peter. It was just a beautiful day and all sadness had to be done away with. Temi’s glow was returning with each passing minute as the female in her got carried away with the excitement of being at a wedding.
“I like that woman’s gown, Uyi. What do you think about the design at the back?”
“Nice,” Uyi muttered, not seeing what she alluding to but letting his eyes appreciate something else on the woman’s back.
“Oh my God! Are those real?”
“The diamonds on her neck.”
“I guess so.” Uyi smiled. Again, it wasn’t the lady’s jewelry that caught his eyes. He looked away. His phone was his distraction. He kept glued to it as Temi continued with her excitement, turning her attention to Peter.
The Enenches’ compound was packed full as a traditional wedding conducted mostly in Idoma was well under way. The groom was a young guy, probably younger than his pregnant bride, but there was a constant smile on his face each time he looked at her, as if he had just won a lottery.
Uyi turned to the little girl that had just run to him and was tugging at his arm. She had a companion with her, both of them dressed in the wedding color of blue with gold sashes in their hair. Uyi wasn’t sure how they got to know his name; he didn’t recognize them.
“Hello. How are you, girls?” he asked and the girl who tugged him let out a large toothless grin before she said:
“I love you because you can do maths in your head.”
Uyi raised his brows and gave a short, surprised laugh. “What?”
“And I love you because you leave love bites on my BCs,” the second girl said.
“Ok. Wow. Thanks, girls,” Uyi replied as they hopped away excitedly.
“What are BCs? Broadcasts?” Temi asked.
“Butt cheeks.” Uyi laughed silently.
“Hmmm. So the twenty-eight reasons have begun,” Temi said in a whisper, making sure Peter, Ovie and Murphy who were deep into conversation didn’t hear her. “Twenty-six more to go. This is going to be fun.”
Uyi scanned the wedding area, searching for Dami but she was nowhere in sight. He kept his phone on the table before him and decided to take a walk round the massive compound. If he could get her alone, he would prefer to have her say the other twenty-six reasons while he kissed her entire body. He missed her deeply and was aching to have her in his arms again. Walking through the crowd of people that came for the wedding, he identified a good number of them from his office and others from Geek Elysium. Just as he was about to stroll towards a couple of his former colleagues, the lady with the diamond necklace that had caught Temi’s attention earlier walked up to him.
She cleared her throat and almost laughed before she spoke. “I love you because you always make sure I go to church every Sunday.”
Uyi smiled and the lady began explaining she was just a messenger.
“I know, ma’am. Thanks.”
“And please keep making her go to church. She’s a naughty girl.”
Uyi nodded and the lady walked away. At that point, he began to take things seriously. He did a 360 and wondered which of the beautifully dressed ladies in blue was going to approach him next. There were so many and none of them seemed to be aware of his presence. He waited awhile and continued his search for Dami. At the entrance of the main house, he moved away for a group of five teenage girls coming out, speaking excitedly in Idoma. Suddenly they stopped as one of them said something he knew was aimed at him. He waited but they walked off.
Ene, who was also coming out of the house with her baby in her arms, stopped in front of him.
“I hope I got the name correctly?”
“You did, ma.”
Uyi studied her dressing and was relieved to find she had chosen the gold instead of the blue but she had a blue headgear and another shining blue piece around her waist.
“I must commend you for the work you’re doing on our Damaris. She’s changed a lot. God bless you jare. And this is your house anytime. Don’t mind Felix and his antics. You’re free to come here; you’re always welcome.”
“Thank you, ma.”
“And lest I forget, she wants you to know that she loves you because of your gizzard-eating skills.”
Uyi’s jaw dropped opened and Ene looked at him in suspicion.
“What is gizzard-eating, young man?”
“Nothing.” Uyi shrugged and tried a plain face.
“Just normal chicken gizzard.”
“Okay.” Ene didn’t look like she believed him. Uyi let out a deep breath and knew he had to find Dami fast. She was getting x-rated with her twenty-eight reasons.
Uyi turned around to the voice of Binta and was knocked over by how stunning she looked. Also dressed in blue, she was in a native attire with a veil over her hair. He had never seen her in anything out of office clothes. He couldn’t help but compliment her looks.
“Thank you sir,” she replied with an exceptional smile – another thing he had never seen her with. But what shocked him most was when his boss, Faisal, appeared behind her and protectively put his arm around her waist.
“Good afternoon, Faisal,” Uyi greeted, plain-faced.
“Uyi, my man. How you dey?” Faisal shook his hand. “I watched your girlfriend’s video today. Has the girl in the blue dress arrived yet? Me sef, I wan win Q10.”
Uyi laughed. It was a relief to have Faisal speak to him in easy tones. Their work relationship suffered.
It was clear Faisal was trying to prove Uyi was incompetent but Uyi always seemed to meet up with deadlines and dispensed his duties as he was supposed to. He was glad the light atmosphere and feeling of love in the air that was infecting everybody had gotten into Faisal too.
“Oh, just in case I forget,” Binta said to Uyi, “I love you because of the way you’re a spontaneous kisser.”
Uyi looked at Faisal’s shocked face and bolted out of the area before a fist landed on his face. He was in the house now and it was filled with people as he expected. Everyone he asked about Dami’s whereabouts had no idea where she was and in that short period, he got four more reasons why Dami loved him. He was impressed by the way she had ingeniously gotten women of all ages to find and tell him those words as if they were coming directly from her. He was tempted to let it all play out but he desperately needed to see her.
He stood at the foot of the stairs. It was against his character to venture into people’s privacies without their permission but he knew Dami was up there. He saw two little boys running down and squealing in hyper tones. He made way for them; they disappeared into the crowd of people.
“Travis! George! Come back here now!” A familiar face peeked out from the second flight of stairs and spotted Uyi.
“Omoruyi?” the owner of the face frowned a little and smiled. It was the woman who had come to plead on behalf of her husband. Uyi had forgotten what she told him her name was; it was better to refer to her as Mrs. Dike.
“Good afternoon, ma.”
“Evening. It’s almost evening. Is the wedding over?”
“No. I don’t know. I’m not sure.”
“Those boys are supposed to change for the white wedding. Both of them are page boys. Can you please help me get them?”
She disappeared up the stairs and Uyi blew out an exasperated breath. How was he to find two hyperactive boys in the endless throng of people?
“Would you like to take a stroll with me?”
Temi looked at Peter and accepted the hand he stretched out before her. They stood from their table and found their way out of the compound. Cars parked tightly flanked the exclusive street outside the Enenches’ until there was hardly any space left for any two cars to drive by at the same time. Temi and Peter said nothing to each other until they got to another street in the neighborhood that was quieter.
“I heard everything you told me earlier in the house,” Peter began as he put an arm around her.
“Why do you want me around? I’m of no use to you. I can’t make love to you, I’m scared to kiss you, we can’t get married or have kids…there’s just no future for us.”
Temi stopped walking and looked at him. “Peter, I’m as damaged as you. I think between the two of us, we’ve had more sex that we can ever need for the rest of our lives. Are you saying that there isn’t another way we can be around each other unless we’re doing it? And you know you can still totally do it if you want to, right?”
“Ha-ha. No. No, Temi. You deserve more. Let’s just break things off now while we’re still sane and everything is not blurry. I’ve come to learn in this short period that eye dey clear sharply when kasala burst.”
“We don’t want anymore kasala.” He shook his head. “As I said, you deserve more.”
“So you’re really going?”
“It’s still an option but you made a lot of sense today.”
“Your parents don’t have to know what you’re going through. Nobody should.”
“You know, in some countries, it’s against the law to be HIV positive and not declare your status. You know that?”
Temi nodded and the continued walking.
“Peter, how about Lolade?”
“Lo-la-de.” Peter grinned. “That babe hates me. I called her to apologize and she swore for me with the worst curses I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Can’t blame a guy for trying. I’ll carry the guilt all my life knowing what I did to her.”
“But everything will be fine, Peter. I promise you. Just don’t go.”
Peter smiled. “Okay, I’ll stay but give me a little time away from everything. I need to normalize. And I’m officially dumping your beautiful ass. You’re free to date any guy out there, just let him pass through my radar first, okay?”
“Right after passing through Uyi’s and Ovie’s. You guys really surprised me today. Thank you for defending me, you and your whole ‘my babe’ speech.” Temi laughed. Peter pulled her cheek and locked her head in his hold, messing up her hair.
“What is wrong with you? My hair! Peter, stop!”
He let her go. “That’s what I do to my younger sister. From now on, that’s how I’ll see you.”
“How nice.” Temi straightened her hair. “Let’s go back to the party.”
Uyi held Travis and George in both hands, all three of them soaking wet. The two urchins had gone to the backyard where the swimming pool was located and had taken a dive into the deep end. George being a better swimmer was able to get to the surface but Travis had begun to drown as Uyi approached the pool area. There were hardly any adults there, except a couple relaxing on the only pool lounger by the pool, oblivious of what was happening around them. Uyi was only able to get his shoes off before he plunged in to save Travis. He wasn’t a good swimmer himself and he came to the surface coughing as badly as the little boy in his arms. But he was rewarded for his stress when Travis said, “Uncle, see big catarrh coming out of your nose.”
Uyi burst out laughing and wiped his nose before grabbing both boys and heading back to the house. By now, the traditional wedding was over and the compound was being rearranged for the white wedding which was to take place in less than an hour. With people now dispersed, there was a swarming sea of partiers and Uyi knew it was only smart to take a different route. Led by the boys, he found his way in via the backdoor, wading through the women in the kitchen. As he neared the stairs, the five teenage girls he had come across earlier approached him with their matching attires.
“Uncle Omoruyi, we have been looking for you o,” the shortest amongst them said. Uyi knew what they were up to but he played along.
“Okay. How may I help you?”
“I love you because you have two left feet…” the girl began. Travis looked down at Uyi’s feet and at Uyi’s face and back at his feet again as the girl retrieved her phone to complete her message.
“…but you do well when you try,” she put the phone behind her and smiled, pinching the girl on her right as a cue to say her lines.
“When I don’t want to be nice to anyone, and I get bee… bee…”
“When I don’t want to be nice to anyone and I get all bitchy, you don’t judge me. You actually think it’s cute.” The short one corrected with a roll of her eyes. Clearly, she was the brain amongst them.
“Uncle, what is bitchy?” Travis asked and Uyi ignored him.
The third girl spoke. “Erm…I love you because you don’t get em… embraazed…
Miss Short and Brains butt in to save the day again, taking out her phone to read the lines. “I love you because you don’t get embarrassed even in the most uncomfortable of situations.”
Uyi smiled uneasily. He was gathering a small crowd around him even though the main doors of the house had been shut to curtail the people thronging in. The girl continued.
“I love you because you dance for me with those two left feet when I’m sad.”
Travis looked at Uyi’s feet again; George did the same.
“And I love you because you debunked the myth about the first time hurting like hell. It felt like a prick. LOL! It was.”
“Okay, thank you, girls,” Uyi said hastily when he caught sight of Anyebe walking towards him. He rushed up the stairs.
“Uncle, what is bitchy na?” Travis repeated his question.
“It’s that Bar Beach in Lagos o! Tra, it’s Bar Beach!” George answered.
“Yes, it’s Bar Beach in Lagos.” Uyi affirmed and stopped when he came to the second floor of the house. “Which one of you want to tell me where Damaris is?”
Travis broke away from Uyi and ran to a door a few feet from them. With a smile, Uyi edged forward but a familiar voice calling his name stopped him.
“You’re not allowed to see her yet,” Ene said coming to him. “And you’re wet. What happened?”
“Uhm…” Uyi looked around and saw that the boys had disappeared. “Long story.”
“Follow me, please.” Ene led him to the nearest room where someone who was sleeping on the bed stirred but kept his back to them. “Na wa for you o, oga.” Ene commented. “You said you came for wedding and you came here to sleep.”
“It’s not my fault,” the person replied. “I hardly had a wink last night.”
Ene laughed and pointed Uyi in the direction of the bathroom. “Take off your clothes, let me have one of the boys tumble it in the dryer for you. It won’t take long.”
Uyi walked into the bathroom and handed her his wet clothes with a word of gratitude. After she was gone, he came out to the bedroom and perched on a stool by the bed.
“Try not to make any sound while you wait. My head hurts.”
Uyi said nothing to the person who had spoken. His silence seemed to cause the man to turn and Uyi was at last, face to face with the infamous Dike character.
For a few seconds they observed each other closely until Uyi, out of respect for Dike’s age, looked away.
“Looks like we’ll be seeing more of each other. We better break this awkwardness between us now.” Dike sat up and let out his hand for a shake.
“Elvis Ogbudike. Just call me Dike.”
“Omoruyi.” Uyi gave him a firm handshake and they went into another bout of silence.
“So, she’s really serious about you? Dami?”
“Wish you guys the best.”
Uyi nodded, not masking the suspicion in his eyes. Dike went back to sleep and a short while later, the door opened and a boy walked in with Uyi’s clothes all dried and ironed. Uyi got dressed, mumbled to Dike he was leaving and walked out.
At the hallway, he spied the door Travis had shown him earlier and began heading to it but Ene appeared again from another room and handed her baby to him.
“She has a message for you,” Ene said hurrying off. “Check her hand!”
Uyi looked at the baby’s left hand that was stuck to her mouth and pried away a note clasped in it. The baby started to cry and he bounced her up and down as he read the note written in Dami’s writing.
“I love you because you introduced me to Naruto. Now I can’t seem to have enough.”
Uyi tapped the baby’s back to placate her but she barfed a mouthful of breastmilk on his shirt.
“Oh God,” he muttered and doggedly headed to the bedroom Dami was in. He knocked once and when he got an answer, he walked in. Dami, who was before the mirror, shrieked when she saw him, and threw a powder puff at him.
“You’re not supposed to see me now! I’m a mess!” she exclaimed as she got up, showing him the t-shirt she was wearing and her hair that stood in spikes over a makeup free face.
She melted at his tone briefly and went back into her frenzy.
“You have to go back downstairs! And what are you carrying?”
“I know it’s a baby. Look what it’s done on your shirt.” She burst into the bathroom and came out with a towel to wipe the baby vomit.
“Uyi, please, go back downstairs.” She took agitated swipes on the shirt.
“No, I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere.”
“Has the bride given you her reason yet? She’s number twenty-seven.”
“How about my aunt from my mom’s side. Have you met her?”
“And the girls from my village? The four teenage girls with one other short one I put in charge of them? Have they met you?”
“Yes, they have. And so far, I have gotten eighteen reasons why you love me, during which period I have walked the length and breadth of this house looking for you, almost drowning to save a naughty boy from the swimming pool, meeting your ex and abandoning my friends. I am hungry, I have missed you and I just want us to bury all this madness between us and move on.”
The door opened and Ene poked in her head. “My baby!” she announced and Uyi passed the baby to her. “And you two, no hanky-panky here, okay?”
Dami and Uyi nodded. Ene shut the door and Uyi locked it altogether.
“I have been planning this for weeks, Uyi. Every one of the people that came to you today is from my family apart from your PA. I put her in last minute. Why did you come in here and spoil everything na? I was supposed to meet you outside with the one final reason and kiss you after saying it.”
Uyi sat on the bed and pushed aside a heap of clothes. “I’m here, now. You know I don’t like the public thing. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. I don’t want to share you with the world or have them poking their noses into our affairs. I know you don’t mind but Dami, you have to draw the line somewhere, luv.”
Dami moved back to the dressing table and leaned on it. “So, we should forget the other ten reasons why I love you more?”
“No. I’m listening. Please, tell me.”
“Oh-oh-oh! You spoilt everything, Uyi. It was so perfect.”
“Nothing’s perfect, Damaris. Not me, not you, not life. And I’ve decided to take things and people as they are. When I look at you, I don’t see perfection; I just see Dami. And I think that’s why I love you.”
Dami’s lips spread out wide and a familiar sparkle lit up her eyes. “You said you love me.”
“Let’s not get into that romantic movie rubbish. I love you. I don’t even know what that means but if I can get to the point where I can say it and I say it comfortably, I think it means I’m in love.”
He got off the bed and made his way to her. putting his hands to rest on the table by her sides, he looked into her eyes.
“Number nineteen,” he cleared his throat. “I love you because you’re crazy and you make no apologies for who you are.” He looked at her feet and his adoring gaze moved all the way up to her lips. “Number twenty: because you have the sexiest body on earth even beneath ugly clothes and a mad woman’s hair.”
He lifted her off the table and she wrapped her legs around him. “Twenty-one: because you’re skinny and I can carry you any way I want.”
He landed her hard on the bed and she screamed, erupting in laughter afterwards. He watched her in her amusement and smiled.
“Twenty-two: cos you are my therapy and you don’t charge me for it.”
“Awww.” She pulled him to the bed. A kiss waited for him on her lips but he refused it and chose to keep his eyes locked in hers while his hand tickled her sides.
“Stop it,” she giggled.
“Twenty-three,” he went on, “cos you smell like heaven no matter what time of the day.”
“Uyi, stop it!” she smacked his butt and wiggled away from him but he drew her back and kissed her without warning. She held the kiss and her eyes went misty.
“Twenty-four,” he spoke through her lips, his hand snaking up her things. “Because of the way you know what I’m about to do before I do it.”
“That’s because your hands are always there first, silly.”
“Keep quiet and enjoy it. Twenty-five: cos I don’t know much about you but I know it’s going to be an exciting adventured, explorrrrrring…”
“Uyi…” Dami called weakly as she squirmed under his touch.
“Damaris! Omoruyi!” Ene banged at the door and Dami rolled her eyes.
“I can shoot her right now.” Dami clenched her teeth but left her legs wrapped around Uyi.
“Dami, you’re the maid of honor. The bride is ready! Come out now!”
They heard the sound of Ene’s stilettos leaving the door before they faced each other.
“Come on, get dressed and go and do your bridesmaid things.”
“How about twenty-six to twenty-eight?” Dami asked as she got off the bed.
Uyi smiled. “I’ll leave those ones for you.” He winked and walked out.
The wedding dragged on for four more hours but Uyi enjoyed every bit of it; at least, the bit where his eyes never left Dami. He wasn’t going to admit it to anyone but it was his first time falling in love, ever in his life. Weirdly, he wasn’t feeling like he was floating in the skies, nor did he have any funny butterflies in his stomach. For the first time, he was very in control of every faculty in him; his mind and heart were finally united. Gone was the clueless look in his eyes. He had a sure stare as he fixed his heart on the one person he wanted with him.
He smiled, she was running to him. She could just walk but she was running, Dami style – the girl in the sky-blue dress . She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him really tight and spoke into his ears her last three reasons why she loved him more. At that moment, he didn’t care who was watching. He accepted her kiss and enjoyed the hooting from his friends. After they broke apart, Uyi bade them a good night and took her home.
Seated beside Peter in the backseat of Ovie’s car as they drove home, Temi logged on to Twitter.
She waited while her Uber app loaded fully and listened to the lighthearted comments Murphy was making about the wedding.
She began a new tweet:
I thought I was infatuated until I had to let go today. Turned out it was love and I didn’t know it.
My heart is broken. I’ll miss him. But the look in his eyes is priceless. I hope that makes me happy
Temi blinked away the tears that were forming in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” Peter asked. She nodded and he held her hand. “Don’t worry; he’s in good hands and you’ll be fine too.”
Temi looked at Peter and smiled, withdrawing her hand for her final tweet. It was funny how when she listened to Dami tell Uyi her last three reasons why she loved him, they echoed exactly what she felt for him deep in her heart.
She set her fingers to her keypad and almost changed her mind. She swallowed the aching in her throat, pushed down her pain and typed:
#Dami’s28 U luv him cos he’s helped u grow. cos he loves u just the way u are. cos u can’t help but love such an amazing person.