Chike knocked on the door. he was eager to see the woman his heart yearned for. He wished she followed him to Owerri for the Christmas holiday. He missed her so much. He planned to take her out that evening and ask her out. He was beyond confident that she was going to say yes. He was excited that after waiting for a long time, she was finally going to be his.
The door opened. Kike smiled when she saw her niece’s friend, “Chike, is this your face? How are you?”
“I am fine ma,” he smiled back at her.
“When did you return?”
“Welcome. It’s good to see you.”
“And you too ma.”
“Your friend has gone to the saloon to make her hair.”
“Oh… okay. Is it Iya ibeji’s place?”
She nodded in affirmation.
“I will go and meet her there,” he was familiar with the route that led to the local hair stylist wooden shop.
“All right,” she stepped back into the room.
He turned around and headed out of the building.
“Chike!” Bukky halted at the side of the road when she saw her friend coming out of the house.
“My pretty baby,” he beamed and walked up to her. The plaited hair made her look like an African Princess. He liked it.
“When did you arrive?” she was very happy to see him.
“Last night,” he seized her up. She seemed to have added a little weight. Her hips were curvier and her chest was fuller.
“Welcome back. Happy New Year in advance.”
“Same to you,” he smiled at her.
She smiled back at him, “Let’s go inside.”
“No, I want to take you out.”
She raised an eyebrow, “Where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise,” he beamed.
“Okay,” she looked at her toe-length blue chiffon gown.
“You look great. Let’s go,” he took her by the hand and led her down the street.
“How are your parents and siblings?”
“You should have followed me to Owerri,” he eyed her.
She rolled her eyes.
“Has your ex gone back to school?”
Her heart missed a beat. She hasn’t told him that she had given her ex another chance. Whenever he called while he was away, she always avoided talking about Gbemiga. She cleared her throat thrice and glanced at him.
“What?” he sensed her jittery composure.
“He has returned to school, but…”
“He, we… em… he asked me to forgive him.”
He halted and stared at her with full concentration. She avoided his intense gaze and tried to still her racing heartbeat.
“I… I …em… I forgave him. We… we have started over.”
Chike let go of her hand. Pain seared his heart. The sudden news paralyzed his mobility and made his head dizzy.
“He… he has changed,” she looked up at him. The pain in his eyes gnawed at her. “Gbemiga is different and I think things might work out for us this time around.”
What did he expect? The guy was her first love. He was the one that deflowered her. Of course, he had a lot of influence over her emotions and self-will. She had definitely not gotten over him.
“What about us?”
She swallowed hard.
“I have been waiting for you to get over him, but, you went behind my back and… and gave him another chance,” he shook his head in disappointment, “Don’t come running to me when he hurts you again. This time around, leave me out of it.”
“He… he has changed,” she tried to convince him.
He eyed her. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe she didn’t like him as much as he thought. Maybe whatever she felt for him couldn’t withstand the enormous affection she had for her ex, now her boyfriend.
“It is your life. You can do whatever you want. After all, you are a big girl and you are not a baby.”
“You have made your choice. I will not stand in your way,” his voice trembled with emotion.
“Chike…” she tried to hold his hand, but, he stepped away quickly.
“I planned to ask you out tonight.”
Her hand flew to her mouth. She would have said yes. She would have loved to date him. If Gbemiga had not asked for a second chance, Chike was the man she would rather be with.
“There is no need for that anymore.”
“Chike, I am so sorry.”
“I wish both of you well.”
“Have a lovely evening,” he started to walk away.
“Chike!” she wrapped her arms around her body. Her eyes brewed with unshed tears. She hoped she wasn’t going to lose him. She wasn’t sure if he would remain her friend after that day, but, she hoped and prayed that he wouldn’t let her go.
He didn’t respond. He kept on walking. Hot tears streamed down his round brown face. His chest burned and he was finding it hard to breathe. It hurt that she had chosen her ex over him. it hurt that he had lost her, just when she almost became his. He hated the way he was feeling. He decided not to allow such circumstance to befell him ever again.
Bukky paid a year rent for the self-contain apartment which was four houses away from their former accommodation. Her aunt had been ecstatic and overjoyed when she informed her that the money for their rent was complete. They moved in, in less than 72 hours. It was a relief that they wouldn’t be sharing kitchen, toilet and bathroom with dozens of people. They had been able to get permission from their new landlord to construct a shed outside the compound and sell their wares. Many of their customers liked the new place. Some say it was bigger and others liked the cleaner environment.
When she called Gbemiga to inform him, he rejoiced with her and thanked her for the money she paid into his account. He was happy that he wouldn’t need to disturb his parents for funds.
Her junior waec exam was around the corner. Although she was a bit scared, she believed that God would see her through. If Chike hadn’t made himself scarce, he would have helped her to revise and prepare, like the last time. He seldom came to their shed to buy akara and bread or fried yam with plantain. He rarely picked her calls or returned her text messages. Whenever she visited him, he was never home. She had a feeling that he was avoiding her. She missed him. She knew that her decision to go back to Gbemiga had hurt him badly. She felt she was doing the right thing. More so, she still loved Gbemiga and he had turned a new leaf.
She hoped Chike would find it in his heart to forgive her. She didn’t want to lose him as a friend.
Watch Out for Chapter Twenty-Six…