Meet Me Here – Episode 12

Hey guys, 

how are you doing?

I’ve spent the past weeks telling you that “George’s Pieces of Me” is coming and the truth is…

 George’s Pieces of Me #GPOM is indeed coming 😁😁😁

IMG-20170614-WA0009

It’s a blend of poetry and prose and would be available for purchase in Bookstores in a few months.

Details to be released soon.

Thank you all once again for your support.

It’s been a long time blogging and now we’re getting published 😁😁😁😁

#GPOMisComing

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

EPISODE 12


The sound of an ‘ex’ was not music to Tami’s ears. She sat quietly in Amina’s room as she thought about a million things – at the top of the list was the amateurish way in which she handled the matter the minute Kunle mentioned an ex. She had smiled and told Kunle that she would be in Amina’s room. It had been thirty minutes since she left him in the cafeteria hoping he’d run to her with an explanation but he wasn’t doing that. She was beginning to think she was stupid for expecting much from him. She needed something to distract herself but she wasn’t getting it. Amina was still asleep and Mrs. Jacobs had gone for some tea and to make some calls to check on the other girls in the foundation. Her companions were thoughts of what Kunle would think of her. She was not going to torture herself any further. She would go outside and see this ex and probably have a conversation with her.

    “Come on, Tami. Don’t be stupid.” She said to herself as she restrained herself from standing up. “What are you going to tell her? Hey, I am Kunle’s fiancée that didn’t marry him because my ex died but now we are trying to work things out and it would be nice if you didn’t come into the picture. Cheers!”

She sighed and buried her face in her palms. This wasn’t looking pretty. She had sent a message to Muna hoping that she’d come to her rescue. Muna knew how to handle matters like this. On the other hand, she never handled adversaries well. She either went in too soft or was too hard on the case. She needed to tread cautiously. She also thought about going to church on Sunday, maybe she was lapsing in that department. The devil was not going to win this time.

The door creaked open as Kunle and Tito walked in. Tami’s heart skipped a beat. First, the ex. Now, the sister. Her heart was taking too much for one day. She wore one of her best cosmetic smiles. She and Tito never had any form of relationship so she didn’t know exactly how to start off with her. The logical thing would be to greet, so she did.

    “Hey, Tito.”

Tito examined Tami with one of her cautious gazes. “Hi” She replied. “How have you been?”

    “Very well and you?”

Tito nodded, taking a seat. “Good,” she said and shifted her eyes to a sleeping Amina. “How is she?”

    “She’ll be fine. She has lived through worse.” Tami replied.

    “I am sorry about your ex,” Tito started as she adjusted in her chair.

Kunle cleared his throat. “Erm Tito, don’t you want to go and look for Wura? I thought you were coming here to see her.”

    “Yeah, but now that Tami is here, it is a good time to blend.” She replied.

Tami smiled weirdly again.

    “Tami, we’ve only met once, right?”

Tami nodded as though she was being examined. “Yes.”

    “You are pretty.”

Tami didn’t know how to respond to her. “Thank you,” she said, hoping it was a safe answer.

Tito snickered and then burst into a horrid laugh.

    “Tito, Amina is sleeping.” Kunle said.

Tito raised her hand in apology. “I am sorry,” she said with a soft whisper. “Tami, why are you so stiff? You look like you got hit by a train.”

Yeah. Doctor Wura’s train.

    “Oh, I am sorry. I am…am…just really worried about…about Amina,” Tami stuttered. “I am usually not like this.”

Tito nodded. “Yeah, right. You look like you’ve been serious all your life. How are you going to cope with my brother though?”

    “Come on, I am fun.” He said.

Tami smiled. She was not smiling because of what Kunle had said but because Tito thought about her before Wura. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “Should we call Wura?” Tito challenged.

Tami’s heart sank into the red sea upon hearing Wura’s name. The competition was on.

    “You know Tami met Wura already,” Kunle started in a bid to toss the conversation in another direction. “Wura is not a judge for fun. She is a doctor.”

Tami laughed. “Are you saying Doctors are boring? I am a psychologist.”

    “Yeah, here comes the solidarity,” Tito said. “You all are boring. You. Wura. Kunle. I don’t know what kind of marriage you guys are going to have.”

Kunle stared at Tami with a smile. “One with a lot of love.”

    “Aww you guys are so cute and it bores me. I should find someplace that is more exciting.”

Tami smiled. “That place is probably not here.”

    “I’ll just see Wura before I leave.” Tito said, rising to her feet. Tami rose to meet her.

The door opened and Wura walked in with her attending nurse. “Oh, you guys are here.”

    “Wura!” Tito said with a smile as they hugged. “Look at you. You are looking so good.”

Wura nodded. “Thank you.”

Tito took Tami’s hand. “Have you met my sister-in-law, Wura?”

    “Oh? I… I thought Kunle was not yet married.” Wura said, taking a look at Tami.

Kunle smiled as he stared at Tami. “We are getting married soon.”

    “Is there a date yet?” Wura asked.

Tito chuckled. “No. But very soon.”

    “It was nice to meet you, Doctor.” Tami said. “We’ll leave you to attend to Amina.”

Doctor Wura nodded. “Thank you.” She replied as Tami and Kunle walked out of the room. She turned to Tito. “I’ll be off duty in an hour.”

    “Okay. I’ll be waiting for you in the cafeteria.” Tito said, stepping out.

***

    “You brought a boy home?” Mrs. Ibekwe asked, peeping out of the window through the curtains.

Muna sighed. “Mummy, I didn’t bring a boy home. Tife is a man.”

    “So, why is he in the car? Tell him to enter na, abi you don’t want me to see my grandchild?”

Muna shook her head as though she was shaking off what her mother had just said. “Grandchild? How far? Where you see the grandchild?”

    “So you people will not make babies?”

Muna groaned. “Mom! We are not even dating.”

    “Yet!” Mrs. Ibekwe chipped in and then started laughing. “Your father just knocked on the window of his car. I am meeting your mystery man.”

    “No! Oh no, I just came to get something. I want to go and see Tami at the hospital.”

Mrs. Ibekwe smiled as she took a seat comporting herself. “We won’t take your time.”

The door opened and Tife walked in with Dr. Ibekwe.

    “Nwoke oma!” Mrs. Ibekwe exclaimed.

Dr. Ibekwe shot a wry smile at his wife. “I saw this young man outside and he said he was with Muna so I thought to let him in.”

    “Good evening, Ma.” Tife greeted.

Mrs. Ibekwe. “Good evening, my dear.”

Muna stared at her parents. “Mom, we’ll be on our way now.”

    “My friend, sit down there. You won’t bring man close to the house if you did not want us to see him at all. So you want us to be seeing him from afar? Nonsense.” Mrs. Ibekwe said and turned to Tife. “Sorry, my boy. Wetin be your name?”

    “Boluwatife.”

She smiled. “As God take like am abi?”

He nodded.

    “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Dr. Ibekwe said. “Muna, how come you’ve never told us about Boluwatife?”

Tife smiled as he took a look at Muna.

    “We are just friends, Dad.” She replied, taking a seat.

Mrs. Ibekwe grinned. “Tife? What would you like to eat? We give Muna’s friends special treatment.”

    “Mum, you’ve not met any of my friends.”

Mrs. Ibekwe nodded. “That is why we are treating Tife well, so he will stay around. You must be a terrible human not to have any friend.”

    “Don’t mind my wife, okay?” Dr. Ibekwe said. “Would you like a drink or fish pepper soup? My wife made some for dinner.”

Tife was trying so hard not to laugh. “Muna and I had some dinner before coming.”

    “Eh yah, she took you to eat pizza abi? I am feeling sorry for you already. You should eat good food oh, so that you can stay in shape.”

    “Mum!” Muna said, cutting in.

Mrs. Ibekwe rose to her feet. “I’ll be right back.”

    “Muna, go and join your Mum in the kitchen,” Dr. Ibekwe said, dismissing Muna. He then took a stern look at Tife. “Young man, hope you are comfortable.”

Tife nodded as he sat tight. He had seen that look before. It was the same one on his father’s face the day his sister had brought her fiancé home. His sister’s fiancé sat as though he was restricted to a little part of the chair, he had thought this was ridiculous and laughed at him but it was because of his father’s game face and if that game face was anything to go by, Muna’s father was dishing it out effortlessly.

    “So, you are friends, right?”

Tife nodded. “Yes, sir.”

    “Good. Tomorrow, don’t come and tell me that the two of you are something else o.” he said.

Tife cleared his throat. He wasn’t going to misfire his shot. “Sir, we could be something else tomorrow but the friendship comes first.”

    “Interesting,” Dr. Ibekwe replied. “Tife, she’s my other baby girl. I am sure you know what that means.”

He nodded.

    “Good. It’s nice to meet you.” Dr. Ibekwe said and turned on the Television. “Do you like boxing?”

Tife smiled faintly. “Yes, sir.”

***

    “Damn! Is that the Doctor?” Muna said to Tami as they watched Wura speak to a family some metres away from them.

    “Yes, Muna.”

Muna smiled. “She is an eye candy. Is that even her real hair? Jeez! You’ve got your work cut out for you, sis. And that stupid smile on her face, what is wrong with her? She is such a show off. Remind me again, why did Kunle leave this girl?”

Tami frowned as she stared at Muna. “Muna, you are very helpful right now. Thank you.”

    “Come on, Sis. I don’t mean to hate but that babe is pure,” She replied. “But she’s nothing like you in Kunle’s eyes and that’s all that matters.”

Tami nodded. “Exactly. I can care less about her.”

    “No. You can’t.” Muna teased.

Tami rolled her eyes. “You better pick a side because this war won’t be pretty. Do you know that Kunle’s sister actually took my side? She called me sister-in-law.”

    “Okay, that’s a good place to start from.” Muna said.

Tami smiled sheepishly.

    “What is it?”

Tami took Muna’s hand and led her to a chair. “Tife is fine!”

    “Oh, that? You made it look like you wanted to say something serious.”

Tami widened her eyes. “This is serious. Mom sent a message ahead warning me to stay faithful to Kunle after meeting Tife.”

    “What is wrong with your mother?” Muna asked with a laugh.

Tami shook her head. “No idea. Do you like him?”

    “I guess so, but I don’t want to rush things. The path is new for me. I need to be sure about it.”

Kunle and Tife joined them.

“Hello, ladies.” Tife said, handing them cups of ice-cream. “Strawberry for Tami and Chocolate for Muna.”

Muna took hers with a smile. “Instinctively flavoured​, yeah?”

Tife winked. “You bet.”

    “Tami, I think we should step away from these guys. They’d pollute us with their awesomeness.” Kunle said, taking Tami’s hand.

    “See you guys soon.” Tami said, stepping away with Kunle.

Kunle stopped as soon as they stepped outside. “I want to talk to you about Wura.”

Tami smiled. “It’s fine. She’s an ex. I am not bothered.”

    “That’s good because you have nothing to worry about. I love you, Tami. I have never stopped loving you since the day I set my eyes on you and I want to love you till our very end.”

    “What are you saying to me, Mr. Kunle Olugbile?” Tami asked, scooping her ice-cream.

He smiled. “Tami, I want you. I want you to be my wife.”

    “I will be your wife,” She replied. “But are you sure about this? Like do you think we could just jump right back in it?”

    “Tami, I love you and you love me. Whatever it is, we can face it. We scaled past Justin, we’ll scale past any other thing as long as we are together and that’s all I care about, being together with you,” He replied. “Can we do this?”

Tami nodded. “I don’t see why we can’t. Sure, I am ready.”

    “Then we’ll make this happen.” He replied, pulling her close for a hug.

Tami took a deep breath. “When do we get married?”

    “Whenever you like,” He replied. “All I know is I am not letting you go.”

***

Dr. Ibekwe walked into the room carrying a tray. “Breakfast is served. Bread, juice, jam, eggs and sausage for the Queen.” He said placing the tray before her.

    “Thank you. But this one that you are serving continental dish, I hope you are not using style to tell me that you are getting tired of a local woman.”

He laughed, taking his seat beside her on the bed. “I like my babe the way she is, I am just using style to tell you that we need a vacation.”

    “Vacation? Ehen? Where are we going?” She asked.

He pulled out two tickets from the drawer. “Seychelles Island. Happy Birthday, woman.”

Mrs. Ibekwe smiled. “Thank you, Chike.”

    “You make me happy, thank you,” He replied. “Our flight is at the end of the month. I have cleared my schedule, I don’t have to consult and we’ll be there for two weeks.”

    “Two weeks? Ah? What about Tami and Muna? We can’t leave them alone for that long.” She replied.

    “You are forgetting that they are grown women with men in their lives. See, let’s give them their space.”

Mrs. Ibekwe frowned. “I haven’t been away from my girls for that long.”

    “It’s time you allowed them fly. I know you are the best mother in the world but I am sure that you wouldn’t mind being my girlfriend again for just two weeks.”

    “What if something happens to them before we are back?” she asked.

He shrugged. “They’ll fix it,” he said, taking her hand. “Babe, they are our daughters but we…you and I, we have earned this vacation.”

She took a deep breath and hugged him. “I love you, Chike.”

    “I love you too,” He replied. “Meanwhile, is Tife the finest man you’ve seen?”

She laughed. “Tife is fine oh, ahan. Muna eye sharp die, but somehow you manage fine pass him.”

    “Manage?”

She applied some jam to her bread. “Chike, you are no longer in the general market. You are only in my market.”

    “But you can put your own eyes in the general market?” he teased.

She chuckled. “I’m scouting for my daughter.”

    “Madam scout, thank you. Now, eat your food.”

She passed the tray to him. “Eat from it. Don’t think I’ll eat your poison so you can use my ticket to carry one skinny girl to the Seychelles Island. We are going together.”

Chike laughed as he took a bite of the bread. His wife was the complete package and he would not have it any other way.

***

    “Hey.”

Tami opened her eyes as she stared at Wura.

    “Good morning.” Wura greeted.

Tami stretched her arms. “Good morning.”

    “Would you like to get coffee?”

Tami took a look at Amina who was asleep. “No, I am fine. I don’t want her to wake up and not see me here.”

    “I thought Kunle was here with you?”

Tami nodded. “Yes, but he had to go and attend to something. What can I do for you?”

    “I would like to talk you about Amina.” Wura started.

Tami blinked. “I am listening.”

    “I am just going to be direct about this. Amina needs stability. I understand that what your foundation does is to give these girls a home and I learnt that you’ve been taking care of her for a while and that is really admirable but you need to decide if you want to keep her for the long haul or not.”

Tami stared at Amina. “Let’s go outside. I don’t want her listening to this.” She said, leading the way out of the room.

    “What I am saying in essence is, if you are not going to adopt Amina, it might be best that you take her back to the foundation so she is forced to integrate with her friends from the community to prevent a relapse when you eventually let her go.”

Tami folded her arms. “I would have to see what Amina wants before taking any decision.”

    “I understand what you mean but I am sure you also understand that Amina would not take the most logical decisions about her choice of environment except you take that for her.”

    “No, I don’t believe that, Doctor Wura. Amina is a reasonable and smart child. She knows what she wants and if the bad news about Usman’s death didn’t come, we wouldn’t be here. I also understand she’ll get triggers but triggers can be managed depending on how best you address the issue. What I am doing with Amina is getting her into a different environment, I may not be able to do this with the other girls but Amina needs saving and re-integrating with her girls from her community isn’t right until she is ready for it. So, I’ll take my time with that.”

    “I hear you are getting married soon, isn’t that something that might affect Amina?”

Tami smiled. “Doctor Wura, Kunle and I will make the best decision for Amina. If that would be all, thank you for your concern, but I’ve got this.” She said, returning into Amina’s room.

    “You are back.” Amina whispered.

Tami gasped. “You’re awake?”

    “Yeah. How long have I been sleeping?”

Tami walked over to her bed side. “Five years.”

    “Wow! So where is your husband?” Amina asked. “And where are the twins?”

Tami laughed. “Welcome back, Amina.”

    “Thank you.”

Tami squeezed her hand. “I am sorry about Usman.”

    “I know. Thank you.” Amina replied with a faint smile.

Mrs. Jacobs opened the door. “Amina is awake.”

    “Yes, she is.” Tami replied.

Amina waved a hand at Mrs. Jacobs.

    “You have visitors.” Mrs. Jacobs said, widening the door. The girls from the foundation trooped in.

Tami watched Amina’s face light up as she touched hands with her friends. She was happy to see them.

Amina smiled as she stared at them. “Thank you, Thank you.”

Tami turned to Mrs. Jacobs with a smile. “Thank you.”

    “Always welcome.”

***

Chief Olugbile shut the door after Kunle. “On a normal day, I should not even allow you into my house but because I am older than you, I’ll try to act reasonably. What do you want?”

Kunle prostrated. “I am sorry I asked you out of my house, Dad.”

    “So, you are afraid of losing your inheritance?”

Kunle laughed, standing up. “You know I don’t need your money, Dad. I am doing fine on my own.”

    “Then why are you here?”

    “Mom slept over at a hotel.”

Chief Olugbile shrugged. “That one is her cup of tea. I did not ask her to leave the house. She chose to leave.”

    “And you are not bothered? Dad, you and I know that you haven’t been the perfect husband to Mom and if she’s revolting now, the least you can do is find out how you can straighten things with her.” Kunle replied.

He laughed. “She’ll get tired and come home. Is it today?”

Kunle shook his head in disgust.

    “What?”

Kunle exhaled. “I can’t believe you don’t even feel any remorse.”

    “Look here, I don’t have time for this. Why are you in my house?”

The doorbell went. “Sukanmi?” Chief Olugbile called. “Where is that useless boy that is meant to be opening this door?”

Kunle went to the door and returned with a letter. “This is for you, Dad.”

Chief Olugbile tore the letter open and looked through the content briskly. “Look at your useless mother, she is filing for a divorce.”

    “My mother is not useless,” Kunle said. “And I am glad that she is filing for a divorce from a man like you who can’t see her worth.”

Chief Olugbile squeezed the letter and threw it at Kunle. “A man like me? I made this family. Look at you, you can’t even get a girl to not choose a dead man over you, you don’t have the right to talk to me.”

Kunle laughed. “Dad, you are pitiful and I feel sorry for you” He said. “Tami did not choose a dead man over me.”

    “Be deceiving yourself.” Chief Olugbile replied, taking a seat.

Kunle shook his head. “Goodbye.”

    “Running from the truth? Go on. You’ll be back.”

Kunle stopped and turned to him. “My fiancée lost someone that was important to her and yes, we hit rocks but we didn’t hit rock bottom. We are back and better and getting married and you are not invited.” He concluded and walked out.

*****

Meet Me Here – Episode 11

Hey guys, how are you doing?
I know I’ve spent the past weeks telling you that “George’s Pieces of Me” is coming and the truth is George’s Pieces of Me #GPOM is indeed coming 😁😁😁
IMG-20170614-WA0009
It’s a blend of poetry and prose and would be available for purchase in Bookstores in a few months.
Details on Book events to be released soon.
Thank you all once again for your support.
It’s been a long time blogging and now we’re getting published 😁😁😁😁
#GPOMisComing
***************************************************************************************

EPISODE 11

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“She’ll be fine.” The Doctor announced as he joined Tami, Kunle and Muna outside the room. “What exactly triggered it?”

“We gave her some bad news. She lost someone dear to her.” Tami said. “Maybe we were reckless about the delivery.”

Muna exhaled. “I don’t think so. There is exactly no subtle way to give bad news.”

The Doctor smiled faintly. “Amina has some signs of PTSD which I am led to believe are a ripple effect from some of her past experiences, coupled with the recent issue. She’ll need a lot of monitoring.”

“Do we need to bring her to the hospital?” Kunle asked.

The Doctor shrugged. “It depends. I can’t exactly say if she’ll crawl out of this really fast and I can’t also tell you affirmatively that she’ll suffer much longer. It’s not one in which we can predict but with close monitoring, we would know the next step to take but Amina is a strong girl and I think you are all she needs right now.”

“Not like we are going anywhere.” Muna said with a soft chuckle, trying to douse the tension in an already tensed atmosphere. Needless to say, no one laughed.

Tami walked the Doctor to the door while Kunle remained with Muna outside Amina’s room. “So, you went Detective Grimoire on Usman?”

“I wanted to do something nice for her and all I ended up doing was bringing bad news to her life,” Muna replied. “I don’t do anything good, right?”

He chuckled. “You do a lot of good.”

“I am happy for you and Tami, it’s a good step in the right direction.”

He exhaled. “I can’t say I am a hundred percent confident about how things would go from here but I… I guess I am just happy that she’s getting out of it.”

“It’s down to you too. You’ve been a good support system for her. Thank you.” She replied.

He managed a smile. “I love her.”

“I know. That’s the thing about love. It’s quite silly.”

He chuckled. “It’s not silly. It’s selfless.”

She nodded. “Well, let’s say I’m interning in that department, should I ever need advice, I’d contact you.”

“Wait. Is there someone?” he asked, grinning. “Muna? You?”

She raised an eyebrow. “You also think I can’t fall in love.”

“Not exactly, but it looks like it’s going to be some work,” he said. “Poor guy. You and Tami are cut from the same cloth.”

“I hope it is good material.” She joked, pulling her phone from her pocket. “Call me if anything changes with Amina, I have to go now. Lunch date.”

Kunle folded his arms with a smile. “You are really serious, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. He is taking me to the movies. See you later.” She said, heading downstairs.

Kunle waited until Muna was out of sight before going into Amina’s room. He took his seat and watched her sleep. It was not sound. There was perspiration gathering on her forehead as she dragged her breath. He was not a Doctor but this was scaring him. He had seen similar before and they didn’t look good.

“Amina, Amina.” He whispered softly with hopes that Amina would wake up.

She wasn’t waking up. Her teeth clattered nervously as she shrieked in fear whilst asleep.

“Tamiiiiiiiiiiiiii” He screamed out in fear.

Like a cavalry, the door flew open with Tami rushing in. She was almost at the door when she heard him scream her name. She feared the worst.

“I don’t know what’s happening to her.” He said, bending over Amina.

Tami did a quick examination. She touched Amina’s face, she was burning up, her skin was pale. “Carry her. I’ll get the keys.” She said.

***

Chief Olugbile swallowed his morsel of pounded yam with a smile. “So you went to meet her and she turned you down, abi? Who sent you?” he asked, mouthful.

“Doesn’t it bother you that our kids hate us?” she queried.

He laughed and then coughed violently.

Mrs. Olugbile passed him a glass of water.  “Why don’t you finish your meal before talking?”

He gulped the water, belched recklessly in her face and smiled. “Is it not my food?”

She shook her head at one of his numerous despicable habits. Her husband had a lot of vices but she had learned to accept them because she was too weak to put up a fight. She was of the opinion that fighting never got her anything positive from him. On the contrary, it pushed her husband away. She had often failed in putting her views to him kindly. Things were much better between them when two of them were in agreement on any matter, even though it was often wrong deeds.

“I am not happy our kids don’t like us.” She started. “That is not what I want with my life. I want my kids to love and respect me, not hate me. Tito can’t stand us. I can’t take the pain anymore, it is too much for me.”

He smiled as he watched tears well in her eyes. “Look, we shouldn’t care about those things. What are we doing with their likeness? When I was sending them to the best schools and on the best vacations, did they not like us? Are we not the ones responsible for all the stamps on their passports? Or for the good life they have had? Did their likeness matter then? Woman, don’t kill yourself over small matters like these. We are still the ones who will spend the money on the wedding, so why should we allow them disgrace us on with spouses that are not our choice? It is a disrespect to our money!” he said, rising to his feet. “Mind you, these children will only act up if you give them the right to. When you go to Tito and start acting like a child by begging for forgiveness, I don’t know what you expect from her. Who carried her for nine months? I don’t recall her carrying you for nine months. Woman, they can give their opinion but if doesn’t make sense to our plans, it is invalid. Learn to assert your authorities properly.” He stopped to grab an apple from the table. “These apples are not fresh.”

“We got them yesterday.” She replied, looking away.

He tossed it back onto the table. “I hope you understand everything I have said. Makinde’s son is back in the country and I have told him that Tito is back, let’s try to hook them up. If that bull-headed son of yours still wants to collect his inheritance, he had better dump Tami like a sack of bad potatoes and meet us on this planning side. I am sick of him.”

“Damn you!” Mrs. Olugbile said, rising to meet him. “Damn you!!!”

He turned to her. “Is everything okay in your head? Are you talking to me?”

“No. I am talking to myself.”

I nodded. “I thought as much. It couldn’t have been me.”

“I am ashamed of myself. I can’t believe I have been married to an animal like you for so long. I can’t believe it.”

“Me? Animal? Are you sure you have not sold your brain to the devil? Because I don’t know where those stupid words are coming from.”

She grabbed him by the collar. “You are the devil. You are the one I sold my life to. It is because of my cowardice that I have watched and participated in the ruining of our children’s lives.”

He threw her hands off his collar. “Don’t let the devil use you oh. It’s like you want me to start beating you again. Behave yourself, woman. Behave! You’ll tell me if it is me that put you in trouble.”

“Have some shame! Leave these children alone!” she barked. “I am done with you. I am done with you.”

“Where would you go? How would you start again? Do you have any money except the one I give you? Go on! Let’s see you live without me. You are not a victim here, woman. We made those choices together and they were for our children and I’ll be damned if I regret any one of them.” He retorted and returned to his room.

She wiped her tears and purposed in her heart never to let him be the reason for her tears.

***

Tito was driving to see an old childhood friend when her mother’s call came in. She briefly contemplated answering the call and eventually pulled up to the side of the road before dialling her mother back.

“Hello.” She said into the receiver.

“Tito, where are you?”

Tito shook her head. “On the road.”

“I need to see you now,” she replied. “And you can’t say no, please.”

Tito checked her wristwatch. “We already met this morning.”

“It is afternoon.” She replied.

She sighed. “Okay. Where do we meet?”

“I am at Nino Private Beach.” She replied.

Tito rerouted her trip and in forty-five minutes, she was at the beach. Her name was enough to get her into the beach free of the usual ten thousand naira charge as her mother had settled her tab. She walked up to her mother at the bartender’s table. “Twice in one day? Mom, this is not the best way to get my forgiveness.”

“But you are here, aren’t you?”

Tito frowned.

“I need that money.” Mrs. Olugbile said. “I am going to file for divorce from your father so I need the money I have been saving with you to start my life over.”

Tito smiled faintly. “You are taking your life back after trading mine, right?”

Mrs. Olugbile swallowed painfully. “Tito, I am sorry. But don’t I deserve a chance to start my life again? I want a chance to fight for you and your brother on a clean slate. Don’t deprive me of it.”

Tito exhaled as she took her seat. “I am happy you decided to leave.” She said, reaching for her mother’s hand. “I hope you mean it this time.”

She nodded. “I mean every word of it.”

“I have bad news though,” Tito said. “I have spent your money. Ten years of not asking for that account, I had to spend it.”

Mrs. Olugbile chuckled. “I know the daughter I have.”

Tito smiled back. “How do you want it? Cash or cheque?”

“I’ll let you know once I start the proceedings with my lawyer,” she said. “I have a question. Do you want me to talk to him?”

Tito laughed. “He is married, Mom…and to a Yoruba girl.”

“I am sorry, Bolatito.”

Tito shrugged. “It’s alright.”

“What can I do to make up for the hurt I have brought to you?”

Tito smiled. “You are doing it already.”

Mrs. Olugbile sighed with relief. “Thank you. I love you, princess.”

“I love you too, Mom.”

***

Muna and Tife walked out of the cinema laughing at one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

“I could have sworn that the guy was with his girlfriend.” Tife said.

She nodded as she scooped her ice-cream. “Like, how do you even have the audacity to wrap your arms around another man’s girl in the cinema and say you made a mistake, you thought she was your girl?”

“And the boyfriend went, “Bro? Your girl? Did you bring a girl here?” ” Tife said. “But I like his response. He was like, “No, I didn’t, but I might as well take your girl home.”

“That was the line of the year for me. Even the movie could not top it.” Muna replied. “But that beating he received ehn.”

Tife pulled Muna close as the said guy limped past them with a bruised lip and partly broken knee. Both burst into a terrible laugh.

“Munachimso Ibekwe?”

Muna turned to see Obinna, one of her several exes. It had been forever since she last saw or heard of him and he did bear a grudge against her.

“You came to the cinema?” he asked with a mocking laugh. “Who knew?”

Tife watched the ongoing discussion. He didn’t know how to introduce himself so he hoped that Muna would be kind enough to.

“Yeah, is that a big deal?” Muna replied, shrugging Obinna off.

He smiled. “For a woman like you who never wanted to be seen with me in public while we dated? Yes, it is a big deal.”

Tife swallowed as Obinna ran his eyes over him. He responded with a stern look.

“This one did not take nonsense from you abi?” Obinna continued. “I am happy now, you know?” he said, flashing his wedding band in her face. “I did not die after you left me like a coward because you couldn’t love me. Someone else did.”

“If you are so happy, why are you disturbing her?” Tife asked, stepping in.

Obinna chuckled. “Bro, this babe needs to know what good man she left for you and you need to open your eyes before she runs away from your bedside one morning at three a.m. when you propose to her because she can’t love you. My people warned me of her. We never went out together, she kept us low-key and I thought it was for a good reason but she never had any reason to justify why she did all she did.”

Tife took a look at Muna who looked uncomfortable. He shifted his gaze to Obinna.

“She’s playing you, I promise. This one is cold. She is not made for love or to be loved.”

Tife smiled. “Have you heard of love? Or what do you have for your wife? Spite? Because I don’t understand why a married man, sorry, happily married man would stop to comment on a relationship because his ex said no to him. Your wife probably said no to someone else to be with you. It may not have gotten to the level of a proposal but we all make mistakes and some are worth it while others aren’t and up until this moment, I feel like I haven’t made a mistake but if you say one more word to her, you’ll be paying for artificial dentition. Are we clear?”

Obinna stared at Tife from head to toe. He was clearly no match for a guy with all the muscles in the right places. He simply nodded instead of responding with a word and walked away briskly.

“I am sorry about that, Muna.” Tife said.

Muna smiled. “What exactly are you apologizing for?”

“The fact that you had to hear me threaten him.” He replied with a smile.

She raised an eyebrow. “Not that I ran away from his house at three a.m. in the morning because he asked me to marry him?”

“I believe you had your reasons so I am not bothered.” He replied.

She shrugged. “Not exactly, but I am sure that now that you know that part about me, you’d need to re-evaluate your love interest in me because I might also leave you hanging with no reason.”

“No, you won’t.” He replied.

“Why not?” she asked.

He took her hand. “You are giving me the chance you never gave anyone else and I…I am just a single guy looking for the right girl and I think I have found my right girl.”

“Don’t be too certain.”

He smiled. “I am taking my chances. Now, I have someplace to show you.”

“Where is that?”

He led the way, taking her with him. “Why would I tell you?”

***

Mrs. Jacobs took her seat beside Tami. “I came as soon as I could. How is she?”

“Stable. She’s in between emotions right now. She’s dealing with flashbacks from the past and memories of Usman in her mind.” Tami explained.

“I am so sorry. She’s been through too much already.”

Tami nodded. “Yeah and it’s exhausting that she has to go through all these.”

“What are we going to do? Do we return her to the foundation so she’s at least among familiar faces?”

“I don’t know yet, she didn’t look like she was doing fine back then with them.” Tami replied.

Mrs. Jacobs stared at Amina. “The others have been asking about her. I think they miss her.”

Tami smiled faintly.

“That’s a good thing, right?”

Tami rose to her feet. “Hopefully. Did you see Kunle outside on your way in? He said he was going to get something to eat.”

“No, maybe he is in the cafeteria. You can go find him. I’ll watch her.”

Tami shook her head. “I’ll stay here.”

Mrs. Jacobs smiled. “You know you want to go find him, why pressure yourself not to? Tami, if you are going to do this on a clean slate, you are going to have to show that you want him and that he means something to you, alright?”

“He does, I am just caring for Amina.”

The older woman laughed. “Amina is going to be fine and so are you. Go and find him.”

Tami smiled and left.

***

Muna smiled as Tife turned on the lights. “Wow!” she exclaimed.

“Welcome to my studio,” He said. “Like I told you, I am a photographer and a driver. The driving is just a cherry on my cake to earn extra bucks of course, but I’ll soon quit.”

Muna examined the frames on the walls. “These are beautiful, Tife.”

“Thank you.”

She walked up to a frame and stared intensely. It was of a boy kicking the sand at the beach. The details were the flying sand and the rising wave. She was intrigued. “Did you just happen to take this picture?” she asked, turning to Tife who was standing some metres behind her with a camera in his hand.

“Yes. Just like I took a picture of you staring at that picture.” He replied, dangling his camera.

She smiled as she walked over to see the picture. “Why are you doing this?”

“I like you, Muna. I have liked you from the minute you sat in my cab. Yeah, of course, I couldn’t but notice your beauty, but you are funny, sometimes in a mean way but you have a really kind heart and I am just giving myself a shot to know you better and I am hoping that you take a chance on me too and maybe like me back and we start something new. Both of us.”

She stared at him, her heart racing fast as he drew closer to her. She took a step back. “Don’t.”

“Of course, Muna. I want you to be sure that you want me because if for any reason you are in my bed, sorry, we are in our bed, it’s because you came all the way with me and we are married. So I am not going to ask you for anything that you are not giving.”

She nodded. “Okay.” She replied, softly.

“Would you like me to take photos of you? We could have a session here.”

She cleared her throat. “My face is not made up the way you’d need it to be.”

He smiled. “You are perfect the way you are.”

“Then, let’s make it beautiful.”

***

Tami stopped abruptly as she arrived at the cafeteria. Kunle was locked in a tight embrace with a doctor…a female doctor. She picked her steps as she drew closer to them. The doctor was pretty, oh, very pretty and her nerd glasses made her even better. As she pulled away from the hug with Kunle she had a wide smile on her lips, her dentition was perfect. Tami hoped for the doctor’s sake that she was just hugging Kunle because she was dying and it was her last wish.

“Hey, Babe.” Tami said as she got to Kunle, sliding her hand around his waist, reaffirming her stance in his life.

He smiled. “Tami, do you remember Wura?”

“Hi. Doctor Wura.” The said Wura introduced.

Tami shook her head. “Hello, Doctor,” she said and turned to Kunle. “No, I don’t remember her.”

Wura smiled again. Tami cursed her in her heart. She must have known that her smile was beautiful so she didn’t hesitate to flash it.

“This is Wura Williams. She is a childhood friend, I have mentioned her. I didn’t even know she worked here.”

Wura nodded. “Tito was coming to see me but she cancelled, I hope I see her. It has been years.”

“Nice to meet you, Doctor Williams.” Tami said.

Wura smiled. “Nice to meet you in person, Tami. I have heard and read so much about you and your foundation.”

Kunle took Tami’s hand. “Take care of yourself, Wura. I’ll see you around.” He said, leading the way.

“So, she was just a childhood friend?” Tami asked as they walked away.

He stopped and turned to her. “Actually, she’s an ex.”

 

Meet Me Here – Episode 10

Hello everybody,

Please don’t forget the upcoming release of my first published book titled “George’s Pieces Of Me”.

I’ll keep you posted with details – the cover art and information on the release date in due time.

#GPOMisComing

Help share and tell someone to tell someone.
Thank you all. 

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


EPISODE 10


Tami was trying to sleep but the doorbell would not stop ringing. Muna had the keys so she had no reason to be drumming irresponsibly on the door. Tami hurried downstairs to the door with strong words on her lips ready for the person who would not allow her enjoy her much anticipated rest.

As she opened the door, she swallowed the harsh words like a delicious morsel of pounded yam and provided her best smile for Chief Olugbile who welcomed her with a face has hard as a rock.

    “Good afternoon, Sir.”

    “Can I come in or do you prefer to send me out like Kunle has done?” he asked.

Tami reclined and allowed him into her house. Kunle sent his father out? Her brain couldn’t comprehend those words as she followed Chief Olugbile into the living room.

He turned to her in a fit of rage. “All I have ever asked for is that my son loves and respects me, but what do you do? You take it away!”

    “Sir, I don’t understand.”

He scoffed. “Kunle walked me out of his house because of you. Can’t you see how toxic you have become to my son and my family?”

Tami’s heart raced as she struggled to string words together. “Sir, I am really sorry but I am sure that he wouldn’t just do that, he must have been erm—”

    “Bewitched!” Chief Olugbile replied. “Because I see no reason why he would talk to me like that because I told him to move on without you.”

    “Sir?”

He nodded. “Yes! I told him to find someone else. No, I have actually found him someone else. Someone who doesn’t have an ex that killed himself. Someone who won’t postpone the wedding.”

Tami took a deep breath. “I am sorry about the effect of the postponement, Sir, but I felt it was the right thing to do at the time. It’s just a day. It’s not the most important day of our lives. Kunle and I understand this.”

    “Does he? Or did you make him?” he asked before exhaling. “Look, Tami, I sympathize with you. In fact, I am sorry you lost somebody but don’t you know that the longer this postponement goes on, the more dangerous it becomes for me? My career? My status? My family?”

    “My son.” Tami said calmly.

Chief Olugbile stared at her. “What do you mean?”

    “I was expecting you to use the word, ‘My son’, Sir”

He clapped his hands​ in disbelief. “What are you insinuating, young lady?”

    “Nothing, Sir, I just thought it would mean a little more to you to worry about Kunle than about the other things.”

    “Are you lecturing me, woman?”

Tami shook her head. “No, Sir. I know I have caused Kunle and your family a great deal of pain because of what happened in my life but we are working it out. Please, give us time.”

    “You don’t have time. My son will never marry you. I can swear on my life.” He concluded and walked out.

***

Kunle was not surprised to see his mom at his workplace. “Good morning, Mom.”

    “Kunle, how are you?”

He smiled. “I am fine, thank you.” He said, pointing to a chair.

She took her seat. “Have you had anything to eat today?”

He folded his arms. He was not ready to go round in circles before returning to the reason for his mother’s visit. “Mom, let us get to the matter. So, Dad told you I sent him out of my house?”

    “You sent your father out of your house?” she asked with genuine shock.

He sighed. “I thought you already knew.”

    “No, I did not. How dare you ask your father out of your house?”

    “Mom, he was overdoing it. Do you know he came to my house to tell me to leave Tami for one of your friend’s daughters?”

She gaped. “And that is why you sent him out?”

    “Part of it. Mom, Tito can’t stand either of you because of how you ended her relationship and now you want him to mess mine up because of a few challenges?”

    “No, Olakunle. I wouldn’t want to see you unhappy and I am sure that your father meant no harm either.”   

    “He doesn’t need to mean harm to cause harm, Mom. I really love Tami and I know that she’ll get past this very soon and we’ll be fine.”

    “Is that what you are trying to believe?” she asked. “Tami is a lovely girl and she’s doing the right thing by trying to heal but the question is, how long can you wait?”

He clenched his teeth. “I don’t know, Mom. But what I know is Tami is my best friend and my lover and if she’s sinking, I am not letting her go down alone.”

Mrs Olugbile smiled. “My boy, I am so proud of the man you are,” she said. “And I hope that Tami gets past this phase quickly.”

    “Mom, when are you going to talk to Tito?”

She relaxed in her seat as tears welled up in her eyes. “Kunle, I don’t know how to face Tito.”

    “Tell her you are sorry, Mom.” He replied.

She wiped her eyes. “Tito will never forgive me. She trusted me and I let her down.”

    “Ask for her forgiveness.”

She rose to her feet. “You don’t understand. Tito told me when she fell in love with him, she told me that he was not from our tribe and begged me to fight for him when she was going to tell your father and I agreed.”

    “Then what happened?”

She shook her head sorrowfully. “I chickened out when your father started talking and turned on her.”

    “Mom…” Kunle dragged with a tone of disappointment.

She nodded as her tears fell out effortlessly. “I can’t face her.”

Kunle walked over to his mother and hugged her.

    “I am so sorry, Kunle. I haven’t been enough for you and your sister.” She mumbled amidst her tears. “I am a disappointment.”

    “No, you are not.”

***

Tami gathered what she had left of Justin – his letter and made for the trash can at the back of her house. She read it for the last time and took a deep exhale that felt like a release. “Goodbye, Justin.” She muttered under her breath and tossed the letter into the trashcan. She picked the keg of kerosene sitting in the corner and sprayed some into the metal trashcan before striking a match into it. She watched it burn closely, hoping that all pieces would transform to ashes and that the wind would blow them all away, probably blow away the memories and guilt from her heart. She placed her hand over the flames and shut her eyes.

    “Are you trying to burn?” Amina asked.

Tami retrieved her hand, startled by Amina’s sudden appearance. “No. I am burning what’s left of him.”

Amina folded her arms. “But it’s your hand that is burning.”

Tami smiled. “Amina, you are impossible.”

    “Is it working? The Doctor you are seeing?”

Tami chuckled. “Come on, it’s nothing serious. Let’s go inside.”

    “I can listen to you.”

Tami smiled with a nod. “I am taking your offer,” She started. “I realised something today, I have been so wrong. I have been so blind and foolish and I have hurt others in the process.”

Amina took her seat on the step by the door. “Okay…”

Tami exhaled. “I can’t believe I am talking to you.”

    “You haven’t even started talking to me.” Amina replied with a soft laugh. “Go on.”

Tami took her seat beside Amina. “I was really in love with Justin but never the right type of love.”

    “Is there a right type of love?”

Tami laughed. “Of course. At least, I score some points over you.”

Amina frowned. “Finally.”

    “What do you mean by finally? I am supposed to be the adult here.”

Amina shrugged. “Old soul, young body. I like to think I am different.”

    “You are different and it’s so pure, Amina. You are so pure.” Tami said, touching Amina’s face.

Amina shuddered. “Let’s talk about you.”

    “Fine.” Tami said with a smile. “So…I realised today that I held on for too long to Justin and it broke me.”

    “I am sorry.”

    “It was my mistake and I feel bad about it and I think in a bid to compensate for it, I made more mistakes.” Tami replied.

Amina took a deep breath. “It’s not your fault that his father is angry at you.”

    “Oh, it’s my fault. I disappointed everyone and there is little I can do to change that.”

Amina shook her head. “The only person that you need to talk to is your fiancé. It’s about the both of you, not everyone.”

    “It’s not that simple. Family is a lot bigger than that. And when you hurt one, you sort of hurt all.”

    “Oh, when I marry Usman, we’ll run away from all this drama.”

Tami laughed. “All the best with that, Amina.”

***

Dr. Ibekwe watched his wife as she spoke with her pastor on the phone.

    “Pastor, this thing is from Chike’s household. They did not allow Tami marry in peace and now Muna will not even talk marriage with me.”

    “Pastor, hope you are doing fine o!” Dr. Ibekwe shouted, hoping the pastor would hear him and round-off the call that his wife was unwilling to.

Mrs. Ibekwe smiled. “Okay, Pastor, I will call you later. Goodnight. Regards to your wife.”

    “I am glad he always picks the clue,” Dr. Ibekwe started. “Why do you think it’s my people that are stopping our daughters from getting married?”

    “You know their ways, no be me go talk the thing wey dey do una for your side.” She replied.

He smiled. “Woman.”

    “Don’t call me woman o!”

He grinned. “My woman.”

    “Ehen. What is it?” she said with a smile.

He beckoned to her. “Come and sit with me.”

    “I don’t have time for this old love o, which one is come and sit with me? You were not like this some years ago.”

    “We have grown older.” He said with a chuckle.

She smiled, taking her seat by his side. “But not our hearts.”

    “I agree.” He replied and leaned in to kiss her when the door opened, causing them to pull away.

Muna cleared her throat. “Good evening, young love.” She greeted with a grin.

    “Good evening, what do you want in our house?” Mrs. Ibekwe asked.

Muna stared at them. “Were you guys busy?”

    “Was your eye paining you?” her father replied.

She laughed. “Actually, I came home because I have an appointment in the morning and if I stayed the night at Tami’s, I’d have to wake up a little too early.”

    “So you came here because you want to sleep longer? Is that how you are going to find a man to marry you? By sleeping your marriage years away?” Mrs. Ibekwe queried.

Muna laughed.

    “What is funny?”

Muna took a deep breath. “Mrs. Ibekwe, I love you but if you continue with this marriage talk and stress, I wouldn’t love you so much.”

    “What has your love done for me?” her mother asked. “Am I eating it or is it bringing grandchildren for me?”

Dr. Ibekwe laughed. “Baby, that’s a good one.”

Muna stared at them and smiled. “When I find something as pure as what you both have, or something purer than it, something deeper than what you feel for each other. When I find the one who’ll defend me the way you defend my mother, when I find a man who would lay his pride aside to cover the flaws of my frail mother, when I find the beauty in me that my mother radiates effortlessly, when I find love…or when love finds me, you won’t have to ask these questions about marriage because it will be an icing on the cake,” She said and paused. “Goodnight, Mom and Dad.”

Dr. Ibekwe and his wife stayed silent as they watched Muna go to upstairs.

    “Is Muna a poet?” Mrs Ibekwe asked.

Dr. Ibekwe smiled. “I don’t know but I am proud of that woman.”

***

Kunle arrived at work with a lot on his mind. Tami had called to cancel the appointment with Doctor James. When he asked the reason behind it, she gave no definite answer. He thought about going to see her at home but he was scared that it might be a little too much for him so he opted for work. Maybe if he could bury himself in some work and things that did not concern Tami, he’d have peace of mind.

Inasmuch as he tried to avoid it, the weirdo that he had met at Doctor James the previous day had done well to plant seeds of worry in his mind. He truly feared that Tami was on a cliff and if her calling to cancel the appointment was anything to go by, he needed to brace himself for whatever was coming.

He could also not shake the thought of how the meeting between his mother and sister would go. He had convinced Tito to meet their mother for breakfast with hopes that both would reconcile. He hoped that it would not be a disaster that would boomerang.

He had barely settled into his seat when the door opened and Tami walked in. He rose to his feet immediately. She was wearing a yellow short gown and a pair of sandals​. She let her hair down and looked ravishing. He knew his Tami but this wasn’t her.

    “Hi.”

He smiled. “Hi.”

    “I came to get a book.” She said.

He stepped away from his desk and walked over to her. “You could have asked outside.”

    “And where is the fun in that? I know the boss, I roll with the boss.”

He folded his arms. “Where is Tami?”

    “Do you mean the broken Tami or the Tami looking to make things right?” she asked.

    “Who are you?”

Tami took a deep breath. “Kunle, I am very sorry. I have taken you for granted and transferred the aggression to you and caused you a lot of problems and for this, I ask you to please, forgive me.”

    “Tami, it is fine.”

She shook her head. “No, it’s not fine and I do not take your sacrifices lightly.”

    “I love you, Tami.” He replied, hugging her.

Tami took a deep breath and pulled away from him. “Can we start over? Please.”

    “Don’t you want to complete the meeting with the psychologist?”

She shook her head. “No. I know you may think something is wrong with me but I need to step out of that environment. I have accepted my flaws, I don’t want to go through it being in my face anymore. I want to move on from it. I can handle it.”

Kunle smiled. “Hi, my name is Kunle Olugbile.”

    “Tami Oni.” She said, with her hand stretched to him.

He took her hand and pulled her close to him. “Would it be rude if I kissed you on our first meeting?”

    “Yes.”

He kissed her. “Take that down as my flaw.” He said.

She chuckled. “Let me take you out to lunch today.”

    “But it’s not lunch time yet.”

She checked her wristwatch. “True. In that case, let’s go see a movie and then we’ll do lunch after the movie.”

    “You know I am at work, right?”

She shrugged. “It’s a good thing you are the boss here.”

    “Fine, I’ll get my keys.”

She stopped him. “I am taking you out. Dude, try to relax. It’s not on you.”

    “Fine. Be warned, I like good food.”

    “Of course, I know that.” She said and stopped as her phone rung. “It’s Muna,” she said, answering the phone. “What’s up? I can’t talk now.”

    “We need to see. It’s urgent.” Muna said from the other end of the line.

***

Tito sipped on her juice slowly as her mother stared at her.

    “Tito, I’ll just go straight to the point. I am sorry,” Mrs. Olugbile started. “I don’t know if there is anything I can do to make up for what happened.”

    “There is nothing, Mom.” Tito replied.

Mrs. Olugbile exhaled. “Tito, I am sorry. I don’t know what to say.”

    “I confided in you. I trusted in you and I don’t even understand why the person I was in love with needed to be Yoruba. It’s crazy, Mom. I only came here because Kunle asked me to. I really can’t see any reason why we are talking about this.”

    “Because I am sorry. I was a disappointment and I am really sorry, I need you to forgive me. I can’t have my daughter come home and not show up in our house. I can’t have it.”

Tito downed her juice. “That place is not home for me.”

    “Are you saying that you are never going to forgive me?” Mrs. Olugbile asked. “Tito, I don’t have the right to tell you when to get over it, but please, as your mother, forgive me.”

    “As my mother, you should have helped me.”

Mrs Olugbile sighed. “I know, I made a mistake. Have you never made a mistake in your life? Please, just forgive me.”

    “Mom, I am sorry but you can’t demand my forgiveness.”

    “I am not demanding it, Tito. I am begging for it. Plus, it’s not as if you guys got married and I came over to your house to scatter things.”

Tito chuckled. “You see the thing about love is, inasmuch as you love someone, you’d want your family’s support and maybe my mistake was waiting for your support which was never going to come,” she replied. “I should have damned the consequences and found a way to be happy.”

    “Tito, I know I am not saying all the right things but the only thing that is true is that I miss you and I want you back in my life. Please.”

Tito shook her head. “I don’t know.”

***

Amina stared at Tami, Muna and Kunle as they sat opposite her. They had not said a word since they sent for her.

    “Is there a new wedding date?” she asked, breaking the silence.

Tami smiled faintly. “Very soon.”

    “Good. So, why is everyone acting somehow?”

Tami took her seat beside Amina. “I don’t have good news.”

    “I know,” Amina replied. “This place is awkward enough to know something is wrong. What happened?”

    “We hired someone to look for Usman, he finally got back to us. Usman is dead,” Tami said. “I am so sorry.”

Amina took a deep breath. “Innalilahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon” she said and then wept.

***

Meet Me Here – Episode 9

Hi everybody,

Here’s a reminder about the upcoming release of my first published book titled “George’s Pieces Of Me”.

I’ll keep you posted with the important details – the cover art and information on the release date in due time.

#GPOMisComing


Help share and tell someone to tell someone.
Thank you all. 


And yes, we’re also now on Instagram @tommyslavisland. Please do follow us

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

EPISODE 9

       “I can’t believe that Nigerians pay to see Shrinks!”

Kunle stared at the slim and pretty lady in black kicks, skinnies and a loose crop top that wouldn’t stop ranting in the last thirty minutes. He wondered what had her so cranky. She had initially gone on a rant about the poor state of Nigeria as a country and how it was enough reason for anyone to go nuts. He had ignored all her talk and was thankful that she had not asked him any question directly.

    “Hey man, are you here to see the shrink too?”  

Kunle shook his head.

    “That’s worse. So who is crazy? Your wife? Your Mom? Wait, let me guess, you ex?” she replied.

He looked at her in the eyes. Bad idea. She had pretty eyes. He exhaled and looked away. “What do you have against shrinks?”

    “A lot of things. Like they are wasting my time and my money, technically, my parents’ money. I would actually love for them to say that my brother is a waste of time and dump him in one facility rather than charge us twenty thousand Naira for one hour.” She replied.

He shook his head. “Your brother would be happy to miss you.”

    “Trust me, you just need to live with him for a day and you’ll be signing him into a mental facility. He has gone mad. That is what happens when you are always using drugs. He could just jump into this room and light us up with his madness. I believe I have inherited some part of his craziness.”

    “I agree.” Kunle said.

She laughed. “Damn it. Sometimes I don’t even recognise myself. This is what chilling with a crazy person does to you.”

Kunle took a deep breath. He couldn’t understand why she was so comfortable with referring to her brother as crazy.  “Have you always seen your brother as crazy?”

    “No. It’s a slow fade, man. Initially, I thought it was just the heartbreak of his babe leaving him but then it became something else. He started dealing with the pain the only way he knew how to and look at where we are. We are seeing a shrink and I am sure that talking won’t be enough so he’ll need to get locked up.” she replied.

    “Do you want him locked up?”

She nodded. “I feel it’s going to help him and that’s because I haven’t seen any progress from being out here with us.”

Kunle’s heart pounded. He hated the words he had just heard. Could he one day speak of Tami with resentment.

    “Are you scared you are gonna hate him or her?” The lady asked.

Could she could read his mind? Kunle shook his head, dismissing her words.

    “It’s okay. I didn’t think things would get this crazy with my brother too.” She replied.

Kunle smiled and fetched his earphones, plugging them into his ears. That was it. He wasn’t going to have any more of her negativity.

***

    “Justin was…he was really handsome, tall, always with a squint in his eyes, that squint that left me guessing what his next move was always going to be,” Tami started. “He was never predictable, hot and cold. I guess the only thing consistent about him was the fact that he always found a way to hurt me.”

    “What were your happy days like?”

Tami took a deep breath. “It left me wondering…it left me thinking about the next sad moment because I knew it would always be short-lived.”

    “Did you always expect sadness with him?”

Tami nodded.

    “Then why did you stay that long?”

Tami sighed. “It felt like a duty. I was there to tend to him. To care for him. To love him. To never leave him. I felt like he’d be lost without me. I felt committed to him.”

    “You left him shortly after you met Kunle, right?”

Tami nodded.

    “Why?”

Tami smiled. “You know I am used to sitting in your chair, asking these sort of questions, right?”

    “I know.”

Tami fixed her eyes on the loose button on her Doctor’s brown suit. She knew that if she was his wife, she wouldn’t let him leave home without fixing the button. In a way, she considered herself a fixer and maybe that was why she was always sticking around for others, the only person she didn’t know how to fix was herself and that was why this man was here.

    “Tami?” he called, bringing her back to consciousness. She looked lost. “Would you like me to repeat the question?”

Tami shook her head as she wiped a tear drop from her eye. She knew his last question, she only needed a moment before answering it. “Kunle oozed love,” She started. “I was taken away by his warmth, his kindness, his attentiveness, his soul, his vulnerability. I was struck by the purity of his love. I felt like a kid with my ice-cream around Kunle. Warm, fuzzy, lovely man. I left Justin because I found better and I wanted better.”

    “So, Justin wasn’t better?”

Tami shook her head. “Toxic. He was toxic. Very toxic.”

He scribbled in his notepad and stared at her. “Do you like toxic?”

    “Excuse me?” Tami retorted almost immediately.

He blinked. “What I mean is—”

    “I know what you mean.” She replied. “I am a psychologist too, you know?”

He nodded. “Of course, Tami. But, I would want to know why you missed or ignored the signs.”

    “Because people make mistakes.”

He shrugged. “Continuous mistakes are choices.”

    “I loved him.” she replied. “And when you love people, you give them second chances.”

He dropped his notepad and folded his arms. “Second chances to hurt you?”

    “And third chances if the need be and hope for redemption.”

He smiled faintly. “Did you at any time in your relationship with Justin consult for him?”

Tami clenched her teeth. “Yes, I did.”

    “So you were not only his girlfriend, you were also his doctor?”

Tami nodded. “I know what you are driving at. You think that I compromised?”

    “No. I think you were a woman in love who gave chances to the man she loved and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”

    “Did I make the right call?”

He wore a smile. “You know I can’t answer that question.”

She nodded. “Of course, I can only give myself the answer” She said and rose to her feet. She took a walk to the window and looked out into the city. “Nice view.”

    “Thank you. Let’s talk about Amina.”

She turned to him. “No. I don’t want to change the subject”

    “You already did.” He said with a chuckle. “What do you hope to get out of Amina?”

Tami took a deep breath and leaned against the window. “I just want to help her. I feel like she needs help. She wants to go back home to find her loved one and I want to help her get it.”

    “That’s very noble of you.”

Tami swallowed. “There’s nothing noble about it, I am only doing what I know how to do.”

    “Help, right?” he said with a smile and walked over to meet her at the window. “Could the fault with you and Kunle be that there’s nothing to fix in him?”

Tami’s heart pounded as she stared at her Doctor. “I’ll see you later.” She said and hurried out.

    “Hey, Babe!” Kunle said, intercepting Tami as she hurried out of the office.

Tami stopped and stared at him. “Let’s get out of here.”

    “Oh, it’s a lady! I am sorry for you, man.”

Kunle frowned at the lady who had not spared a moment to stress him while he awaited Tami. “I am sorry for you too.” He said, taking Tami’s hand.

    “Women are trouble! I am woman, I know this.” She rolled after them as they walked away.

***

Muna took a long stare at Tife’s last message. The poor guy wanted to know why she stood him up the previous day but she was yet to come up with a reasonable answer. He had called several times on Sunday, but she had conveniently found a way to evade his calls.

Hey Muna, I don’t know if I did something to tick you off but I really just wanted to hang out with you and get to know you better. If you still think we could hang out or not, call me. Take care – Tife.

She read through the message again and turned off her phone.

    “She is back.” Amina announced as she walked into the room. “And she looks really sad.” She added.

    “Sad?”

Amina nodded. “Are you sure that whatever she is doing is working for her?”

Muna took a deep breath. “I guess.”

    “And you? Is that strange number still calling you?”

Muna clenched her teeth. “I turned off the phone. He won’t be calling anymore.”

    “Why would you turn off the phone if he is calling a wrong number? Just tell him off and he won’t call again” She replied, slipping into the bed. “That is, if you are not the one avoiding him.”

Muna turned to her. “That’s enough, young lady. You don’t know anything about this.”

    “Why are you trying so hard to convince me if there is nothing there?” Amina asked, pulling the duvet over herself.

Muna diverted her attention to her laptop. She wasn’t going to spend the next few minutes trying to convince an inquisitive teenager about her own decisions.

    “Do you think we should go and find out what’s going on in the living room?”

Muna shook her head. “I think we should leave them alone.”

    “Okay, so when are we going to find Usman?”

Muna stared at the email on her laptop from a private investigator she had hired. “Very soon, Amina.”

    “You are saying very soon but we are here.”

    “There is this thing called the internet-”

Amina chuckled. “I know what the internet is,-” she said, cutting in. “And you won’t find Usman using Google.”

    “Good thing I have a better plan.” She replied.

Amina smiled. “I’ll invite you to our Nikha.”

    “It would be my pleasure.”

***

    “Would you like me to make you lunch?” Kunle asked.

Tami shook her head. “No, darling. Just sit here with me.”

He took his seat beside her. “So, would you please tell me what that doctor said to have you rustled so I can go and break his face? Because I don’t understand why you’d come out of his office worse than when you went in.”

She smiled. “Talking with a psychologist is never easy,” she replied. “Sometimes we intrude into normalcies and stir up things you don’t want to hear.”

    “What did he stir up?” he asked.

She shrugged and reached for Kunle’s collar, adjusting it. “He thinks that I am a fixer. Those were not his exact words because he won’t label me for sake of proper ethics but I could feel it.”

    “But you know this, don’t you?”

She took a deep breath. “He is reaching. I am not a fixer.”

    “I guess you’d like to believe that.” He replied, flying his collar. “I like my collar flying.”

She chuckled. “I just fixed your collar, it has nothing to do with me being a fixer.”

    “Fix your button, Tami.” He replied.

Tami looked down at her top and then at him with a smile. “It has no buttons.”

    “But you did not know that.” He said, rising to his feet. “You should have known that and not allow me throw you off-guard.”

    “Come on, people forget stuff.” She said, laughing. “Don’t tell me that you are now picking up from Doctor James.”

He smiled. “No,” he said, slipping his hand into his pocket. “We are going to get past this, babe.”

    “I know.” She replied, rising to meet him. “I am fine. I admit that I let myself drown in my own tears for too long but I am swimming now.”

    “Good.” He said, hugging her. “I love you, Tami.”

Tami took a deep breath as though she inhaled his words. “I love you too,” she said with a seamless exhale as though she slipped a part of her heart into his.

***

Muna’s morning run was going well. There were no hunks to distract her in Tami’s estate or maybe all of them were serious men who went to work early. She stopped to catch her breath by the sidewalks as her phone buzzed. Tife. She clenched her teeth and contemplated turning it off but resisted the urge.

    “Hey, Muna! Finally!”

She could almost hear the relief in his voice.

    “I thought I pissed you off.”

She shook her head, as though he could see her. “What’s up, Tife?”

    “I…I quit my job.”

She blinked. “What?!”

    “Just kidding.” He replied with a chuckle.

She smiled. “What do you want, man?”

    “Breakfast! I am not working this morning. Let’s hang out.”

She stared at her wristwatch. “I…erm…err.”

    “Come on, Muna. I don’t bite. Look, I just want a chance to shoot my shot properly with you. Except you really like that mango head guy.”

    “Tell me, why are you looking for a girlfriend in me? You look like you can get any girl.”

He laughed. “And you look like you can get any guy, Muna. But I just want to be sure that I can trust my heart with you.”

    “In that case, I’ll save you the stress of hanging out. I am a Class A pervert and I won’t stay with you.” She replied.

    “You have quite the opinion of yourself.” He replied.

She nodded. “I have been told so.”

    “Grill and Chill on Ari Kola road? In the next one hour?”

She gaped. “Dude, give up.”

    “No.” he replied.

She smiled. “Fine. One hour.”

***

    “Give up, bro. You’ll never beat me in scrabble.” Tito said as she watched Kunle check the dictionary to confirm the existence of a word she had played.

    “You are always cheating, Tito.” He replied.

She giggled. “That’s what losers say.”

    “Okay, fine. You win.” He said, shutting the dictionary.

She bowed. “Thank you.”

    “It was fun getting beat by you again.” He said.

She sprawled out on the sofa. “It comes effortlessly.”

    “Shut up. Be humble in victory.”

She laughed. “Why? A little excitement won’t hurt.”

    “Fair enough,” He replied. “Tito, when are you going back?”

She turned to him. “I am not leaving until you are married, bro.”

    “Look, you know Tami is seeing a doctor, right? We don’t know when we would get past this phase. I don’t want to keep you away from your friends over there.”

    “Do you think I have friends over there?”

He frowned. “Don’t you have friends? Come on, Tito. You have to start letting people into your life, who knows? You might meet someone new? Cute Spanish boy.”

    “Why? So I can bring him home and our parents will mess it all up…again?”

He took her hand. “Tito, I am sorry about him, but he also didn’t stick around to fight for you.”

    “How do you fight when you don’t have enough to fight for? They weren’t willing to give him a shot. It was as though he carried a sign on his forehead that said, ‘I am not Yoruba, hate me.’”

    “He could have run away with you.” Kunle replied.

Tito laughed. “Nobody needs that drama in their life.”

He squeezed her hand. “You are going to find someone better.”

    “Nah, in my next life, I’ll choose my parents.” She replied.

The doorbell went.

    “I’ll get it,” Tito said, rising to her feet.

Kunle hated the fact that Tito despised their parents for sabotaging her relationship. It was one of the things that drove her to Spain. She wanted to start over away from their family.    

    “Kunle, your father is here to see you.” Tito said, returning into the living room with Chief Olugbile.

    “So, who is your own father, Bolatito?” Chief Olugbile asked.

She smiled. “It’s nice to see you,” she said, grabbing her phone from the sofa. “See you later.”

Chief Olugbile watched Tito head upstairs before turning to Kunle. “What have you been giving that girl to eat? Can you hear the nonsense she is saying to me?”

    “I am sorry, Dad.” He replied. “Please, sit.”

He took his seat. “How are you?”

    “I am fine, thank you. What would you like to have?” Kunle asked.

    “I had food before leaving my house,” He replied. “How are things?”

Kunle shrugged. “Fine.”

    “Fine?” he quizzed. “What is the progress with her?”

Kunle blinked. “Tami is her name.”

    “Don’t I know that?” his father replied.

    “We are…we are working things out.” Kunle said.

Chief Olugbile took a deep breath. “Olakunle, I am truly sorry for everything you have been through.”

    “Dad, I have not been through anything. It’s Tami who has had it rough, but we are both climbing out of the rubbles.”

    “Kunle, see, I won’t lie to you, when a woman mourns an ex like this, she doesn’t care about you.”

Kunle relaxed in his seat.

    “Kunle, I want you to understand that whatever you are doing is damage control. It’s a can of worms​ that will still explode in your face. I’d like to help you stop it.”

    “Really?” Kunle asked.

Chief Olugbile nodded. “Yes.”

    “Dad, I love Tami.”

Chief Olugbile laughed. “Which one is love? Look, Tami is a fine girl, I get it, but there are finer ladies with better, I mean much better features and they will make you happy. Do you remember Wumi? The Ogunro’s daughter?”

    “No, I don’t remember.” Kunle said.

Chief Olugbile smiled. “Wumi is back from London and she is amazing! She came to the house the other day and asked about you. We told her what happened anyway and she is really sorry for you. You should talk to her.”

    “Okay.”

Chief Olugbile fetched his phone. “Let me give you her number.”

    “Dad, leave my house.”

    “What?”

Kunle rose to his feet. “Please, leave my house and never come back.”

    “Have you gone mad?” Chief Olugbile asked, rising to his feet.

Kunle shook his head. “No. I am disappointed. I am ashamed to call you father. You and Mom ruined Tito’s life and now you want to ruin mine?”

    “Do you know who you are talking to, Kunle?”

He nodded. “You. Do you know your daughter hates you? Do you know she can’t stand you? I wish I took a stand with her back then when you would not let her marry who she loved. Now you are here to tell me about somebody I don’t even care about because you want a wedding to happen? Please, leave before things get dirty.”

    “Ah, so it can get worse than this?” Chief Olugbile asked and made for the door. “Okay oh, just know that I have disinherited you from my will.” He yelled on his way out.

***

Tife smiled as Muna joined him at his table. “Finally.”

    “Yes, you get to chop your L in broad day light.” She replied, taking her seat.

He folded his arms. “I am ready for it.”

    “I am just here to set the records straight. I’d never be your girlfriend.” She said.

He nodded. “That’s good. I am not going to ask you to be my girlfriend.”

    “Oh? Then why I am here?” she asked, clutching to her bag.

Tife took a deep breath. “Muna, I want a best friend. I want someone who is going to let me be a part of their life. Even if it is as their personal chauffeur. I want someone who is a part of my life and who gets to realize that I am not only a driver but a photographer too.”

    “Okay, what am I going to do with the knowledge that you are a photographer? Allow you take my photos?”

    “Isn’t that a good place to start?” he asked with an eyebrow raised. “You can be my muse.”

Muna smiled. “I like the sound of that.”

    “But I don’t just want to take your pictures, I want to see your soul.” He said.

She scoffed. “You are wasting your time, Tife. I won’t fall in love with you. I’ve never fallen in love and I won’t start now.”

    “That’s fine. I wouldn’t like you falling either, it’s a lot better if we both walk into it.” he replied with a smile.

Muna smiled back.

    

Meet Me Here – Episode 8

Hey guys,

Sequel to last week’s announcement, I’m so excited about the upcoming release of my first published book titled “George’s Pieces Of Me”.

I’ll keep you posted with the important details. 

We’ll be sharing the cover art and information on the release date in due time.

#GPOMisComing

Help share and tell someone to tell someone.

Thank you all

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

EPISODE 8

Muna wasn’t sure if she made the right decision leaving Tami alone with Kunle’s Mom but there was no way she could stay. It was not respectful to sit through the conversation nor eavesdrop so she excused herself politely to sit with a silent Amina in the room. Now that she thought about it, maybe sitting with Amina wasn’t so wise after all. The girl kept to herself even though she gazed at her from time to time making her uncomfortable. If she did not do something urgently about the silence between them, she feared she was going to end up pulling out Amina’s socket…more like her own socket.

“So, Amina, tell me…what erm… What do you like doing?”

Amina shrugged. “Nothing.”

“Seriously? You don’t like doing anything?” Muna asked, hoping Amina would say more. She was almost losing her mind to the silence.

“What do you like doing?” Amina asked.

Muna laughed with relief. “Finally! Yes, I like a lot of things. I like to see movies. I like to read books. I like to—“

“—talk?”

Muna nodded with a smile. “Yes, I like to talk.” She said. “I can’t stand silence. It scares me.”

“Me too.” Amina replied.

Muna drew closer to her. “Why?”

“Where I am from, you are safe in noise, not in silence because after the silence comes the noise.”

Muna stared at her, quite puzzled. “You sound like an old lady trapped in a young body.”

Amina smiled. 

“I am really sorry about the insurgents in your town.” Muna said, before things could get pretty awkward between them again. She didn’t want to have the opportunity to think about Tami or what she could be doing with Kunle’s mother. 

“A lot of people are sorry but I don’t know if it will change anything.”

Muna nodded. “You are right. It doesn’t change anything, but I guess it’s good to know that someone is always here for you, right?”

“I want to be with my people.” Amina said softly. “Do you think I’ll ever be with them again?”

Muna drew close to her. “Honey, I don’t know many things, but all I can tell you is that with Tami, you are in safe hands. She’ll do everything she can for you to be happy.” She said. 

“She said she will take me back home when all this is over to find Usman.” Amina replied.

“Who is Usman?”

Amina smiled with genuine happiness as she prepared to take Muna into her world.

***

Tami tried to hide her anxiety. She wasn’t particularly comfortable with Kunle’s mother taking a seat and not saying a word. She had no idea what had brought her here. She just wanted her to say something. She had made an effort towards breaking the ice by asking her what she’d like to have but with a simple shake of the head, she had turned down her offer. 

“I am sorry, Tami.” Mrs. Olugbile started, breaking the silence.

Now Tami was worried. This was not what she expected from Mrs. Olugbile. Her first words should not have been words of an apology. She was the one who ought to be crawling on her knees and apologizing for bringing shame to their family. The apology scared her. This was the part that she never liked. 

“I am sure you are confused because up until the time I arrived outside your door, I had no idea what I was coming here for and now that I am here, I still don’t know why I am here,” She continued. “Happy married life.” 

Tami took a deep breath. Her to-be mother-in-law was finally back. Hearing some cynicism in her tone reminded her that not much would stay normal between them or maybe she thought wrong. 

“Do you love Kunle?” 

Tami nodded.

“I need an answer.”

Tami clenched her teeth. “Yes, I love him.”

“Do you love him in a pitiful way?”

Tami shook her head. “I love Kunle.”

Mrs. Olugbile folded her arms. “Really?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Tami replied. 

Mrs. Olugbile relaxed in her seat. “Have you thought about talking to someone?”

“I don’t understand.” Tami replied, clearly confused. 

“I know you are a psychologist but don’t you think that it might be time for you to see someone?” she asked. 

Tami shook her head. “I am doing just fine, thank you Ma,” she replied. “The situation with Kunle is temporary. We are working on it.”

“I wasn’t aware there was a situation with Kunle.” She said.

Tami swallowed, hoping she had not shot herself in the foot. “Kunle and I ought to be married today, there is a reason why we had to put it off…if he told you something else, it’s because Kunle is always looking out for me.”

“Don’t you think that it is time you looked out for yourself? Don’t get me wrong, Kunle will always look out for you because he loves you but don’t you think the both of you might drown if you don’t start making efforts to climb out?”

Tami absorbed the words. Was she already drowning? Was she pulling Kunle along? It seemed as though everyone was saying the same thing to her. What could they see that she didn’t see?  

“I didn’t love my husband when I got married but I married him still. Some decades down the line and two children later, I can’t swear on the life of any of my kids that I love him, but I tolerate him,” She started. “I am not proud of not being in love with the man I have built my life around but I am not ashamed of myself. I have done what I had to do to survive. Tami, you didn’t need to love Kunle to have married him today, you just needed to care more about the shame than about tomorrow and we’d be dancing in a hall masking the pain underneath our smiles. I’ll go home happy, his father will go home happy and probably both of you would have laughed and even made love but when the scales fall off, you’d have destroyed my son… So, thank you.”

“Thank you?”

Mrs. Olugbile nodded. “Yes. Thank you for not marrying him with feelings for another man.”

“I… I don’t have feelings for Justin.” Tami replied.

“I am sure you’d like to convince yourself about that but it is alright. I might have tried putting pressure on you and I am sorry. But let the dead mourn the dead, Tami.” She said, rising to her feet with her bag in one hand. “Take care of yourself.” 

Tami rose to meet her. “Thank you ma.”

“I hope I see you again.” Mrs. Olugbile replied and left. 

***

Kunle walked over to Mrs. Ibekwe who was sitting in a corner of the restaurant with bogus dark shades on. “Nice shades.”

Mrs. Ibekwe chuckled as she took them off. “Happy married Life.”

“I don’t know how to react to that greeting.” He said, taking a seat. 

She smiled. “Na you go sabi how you wan react,” she replied. “What would you like to have?”

“No, Ma. I’ll order for us.” He replied, taking a look at the other customers in the restaurant.

She laughed. “What did you think when I said I was taking you out? Or… Are you shy? Do you think people will think I am a cougar?”

Kunle laughed. “I am sure they’ll think you are my Mom.”

“Cougars are moms too…don’t worry this is not the life in which I’ll be a cougar, Chike will kill the two of us, that’s if Muna doesn’t kill us first… Or your wife, Tami.”

Kunle’s smile faded upon hearing wife. He had waited for the day he’d call Tami his wife and with every passing moment, it seemed like that day would never happen. “Wife? Well, she is not my wife.”

“What wine would you want?” Mrs. Ibekwe said.

Kunle didn’t like how she switched topics on him but he wasn’t going to react to it. “Whatever you are having.” He replied.

She chuckled. “Me, I am not having wine o, I am ordering the wine for you.”

“So what would you have?” he asked.

She shrugged. “I really don’t know. I am not here to eat. I am here to make sure you have been eating.”

Kunle laughed. “I have been eating. You do know I am a chef in my own rights, Ma?”

“I know you are a chef when you are not running your book store but that is not enough for me. You might be a doctor and not use drugs for your headache because you believe it will go away, so I need to be sure that this headache is actually going away.” She replied.

He blinked and managed a smile. “You…You are…”

“Don’t say it.” Mrs. Ibekwe said, stopping him.

He swallowed. “Do you know what was on my mind?”

She nodded. “Your mother loves you deeply and she’s doing her best.”

“You are doing more than she is.” He replied. “I feel like you are my mother, like I can tell you anything.”

She shook her head. “Trust me, I am not your mother o. Well, I’ll be a half part of your mother if you marry my daughter, Tami but for now, I am just a friend who you think is amazing because I am saying the right things, it doesn’t mean I can’t say the wrong ones tomorrow.”

Kunle smiled. “Thank you for everything you are doing for me right now.”

“You look like you could use the laugh.” She replied and signalled to a waiter. “We’ll start with wine.”

***

“Usman sounds like my type of guy.” Muna said pouring some juice into her glass.

Amina cleared her throat.

Muna chuckled. “I don’t mean it in that context. I don’t want to steal your man. It sounds pretty awkward calling him your man because if you were my sister and you had a boyfriend, I’d be beating him out of your brain.”

“It’s a good thing I am not your sister and Usman is not my boyfriend, he is the man I’ll marry.” She replied.

Muna took a deep breath. “But you know that from everything you said, there’s a chance we won’t find him, right?”

Amina shut her eyes. “I know but I don’t want to think about it,” she said. “We are going to find Usman.”

“Yeah. We will.” Muna replied, sipping her drink.

Amina smiled sheepishly.

“What?”

Amina folded her arms. “Your turn.”

“What turn?” Muna asked. “Young lady, I am not playing this game with you. Please, let’s leave it here.”

“So you want information from me and you don’t want to tell me anything about you?” Amina asked with a gape.

Muna smiled. “There is nothing to tell.”

“When is your wedding?”

Muna rolled her eyes. “After my sister’s wedding.”

“When is your sister’s wedding?”

“You’ll have to ask her that when she returns,” Muna replied. “On a second thought, please, don’t ask her.” She added quickly.

“Okay.”

Muna’s phone rang. Tife. She took a look at the caller ID and at Amina before getting off the bed. “I’ll be right back.” She said and slipped out of the room into the hallway. “Hi, Tife.”

“Hey, Muna. How are you?”

She smiled as she lingered against the door. “I am doing just fine. And you?”

“I am fine, thank you.” He replied. 

“I thought we had a date tomorrow?” Muna said, starting off the conversation. She wasn’t sure it was the perfect approach but she hoped that with a little cynicism, her heart would not require that she fed it with beats from Tife’s voice. If she did not nip it in the bud, it was not going to be Tife’s voice that she needed next. It was going to be Tife and if that moment ever happened to her…then love had found her.

“So, I know I am taking you out tomorrow after church but I…I was hoping I could talk to you today.” Tife replied.

“Don’t you have a cab to ride?” she asked, sticking to her script.

He laughed. “I have some time to spare and don’t think I am hanging up because you haven’t forgotten that I ride a cab.”

“I haven’t forgotten. I am quite busy and I would rather we speak tomorrow if you don’t mind.” 

Tife sighed. “And I had so many questions to ask.”

“You’ll get your chance tomorrow.” She replied, bluntly.

“Did I catch you in a bad mood, Muna?”

Muna exhaled. “No.”

“Alright, Muna. Thank you. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” He replied. 

She exhaled as she hung up. She hoped she had passed the first stage in pushing Tife back from her heart. The pounding of her heart as she leaned against the door said otherwise. Deep down in her heart she had waited so long to feel like this about someone and now that she felt it, it terrified her. But that was not the only thing that terrified her. She was worried about not hearing from Tife anymore if she had succeeded in doing the one thing she knew how to do a lot – shutting people out.

***

“Do you like your food?” Dr. Ibekwe asked.

Tami smiled as she sipped some soup. “It’s perfect.”

Dr. Ibekwe drank some water. “I thought it was really hot.”

“It’s pepper soup, Dad. What were you expecting?” Tami asked, wiping her mouth.

“A little less pepper.” He replied. “I don’t think they make good food here for men like me. I wouldn’t come here next time.”

Tami smiled. “It’s not like you’ve preferred any chef to your wife.”

“I am loyal to my woman.” He replied. “The best cook in the land, no other person comes close.”

“Come on, Dad, it’s just the both of us here.” Tami said with a smile. 

Dr. Ibekwe smiled. “I said what I said.”

Both of them laughed.

“I am really sorry that I took this day away from you and Mom.” Tami said, wiping a tear drop from her eye. 

He took her hand. “No, darling. You did not take this day from us because you did not give this day to us. Life is a gift. That we are alive today is a gift and a wedding is never the most important thing, what happens after the wedding is all that counts.”

“I know but I really didn’t want this to happen.” Tami said, not able to fight the tears in her eyes. “I really loved Justin, Dad but it’s in the past, I am not just able to move on from it.”

He reached across the table and hugged her. “It’s alright, Tami.”

“Kunle would never forgive me.” She said, amidst tears.

“Darling, Kunle is not that man.” He replied. “He is not that type of man. He loves you and he’ll forgive you.”

“How can you be so sure?”

Dr. Ibekwe shook his head. “I am not sure but if there is anything that I know, it’s that true love really does conquer all.”

Tami wrapped her arms around her father’s neck. “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“It will all be alright.” He said softly into her ears. 

Tami wasn’t sure that it would all be alright, but maybe her father knew more than she knew. “How is Mom?”

“She is fine. She’s having a good day of her own.” He replied.

Tami took a deep breath. “Kunle’s mother came to see me this morning.”

“Really? What did she say?”

“She didn’t attack me. She said a lot of truths that got me thinking,” She started. “Dad, you understand the human mind, I know Justin manipulated me but why do I find it difficult to get past it? I feel like I have been trying to find answers and it’s drowning me.”

He took her hand. “Stop looking for answers. I feel like you are running from the answers you already have.”

“Dad, do you think Kunle might only feel pity for me and not love right now? I don’t want to go back to him and make him settle with me out of pity for me, because that’s when I would have ruined my life and his.” She said.

“Then don’t do it out of pity, be sure and truly sure that you are ready for this before you get back into it. Consider this your ticket, it’s a one way ticket, you can only make one choice…make it the right one.” He replied.   

Tami stared at her phone. “I feel like I should talk to Kunle today.”

“I don’t think you should.” He replied.

Tami blinked. “Dad, I don’t get you. One minute you are sounding like you want me to get back with Kunle and now you are saying I shouldn’t talk to him.”

“I think you should see him.”

***

Kunle walked Mrs. Ibekwe back to the car park. “Thank you so much for today.”

“It’s alright, my boy. So, are you going to talk to her?” she asked.

He nodded. “I’ll call her.”

“You children of these days. Why would you call her when you can go and see her. Abi is this one part of the forming?”

He chuckled. “No, it’s not forming. We don’t even know if she’ll want to see me right now. It’s not a very good mood for either of us.”

“See ehn, the mood is as good as you want it to be. If you want it to be good, make it good, my dear.”

He smiled. “I hear you but I am not sure I want to take the plunge into a deep blue sea.”

“Deep blue sea? Come on! Even the Red Sea did not drown the people of God oh, which one is now Blue Sea before a son of God like you?”

Kunle smiled. Her sense of humour was impeccable. “Thank you. Where is your car?” he asked, looking around.

“Who told you that I drove down here? With all these cab services these days, why would I stress myself?”

Kunle rubbed his forehead. “Oh, but you made us walk here as though you had your car parked in here?”

She looked over her shoulder as her husband’s car approached. “My ride is here!” she announced with a smile.

Kunle took a deep breath as Dr. Ibekwe pulled up before them. Tami was in the passenger’s seat. She wasn’t the last person he had hoped to see today but her sight shot his heart rate right up. He could see Mrs. Ibekwe and her husband shrinking into the distance as Tami took steps closer to him. He clenched his teeth, not sure of what the next few moments might hold for them.

“Hey,” Tami said almost inaudibly.

He smiled. “Hey.”

She managed a weird smile that she knew was as fake as she could wear it. “I am sorry.”

“You don’t look sorry.” He said.

Tami flashed an awkward grin. “Yeah, I know.”

He stretched his hand to her. “Come on, let’s go talk in my car.”

She took the hand and walked with him to his car. 

“Just so you know, I had no hand in this meeting.” Tami started as she settled into the car.

He laughed. “I think I know your parents well enough.”

She nodded. “I haven’t gotten used to their surprises either.”

“So, happy married life?”

Tami laughed. “Yeah, happy married life.”

Kunle exhaled. “It’s so awkward, right?”

“I don’t know what to say, babe. How are you doing? How are you holding up?” he asked.

She shrugged. “So, so! What about you?”

“I am okay.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Don’t lie, Kunle.”

“Okay, fine. I am not okay. I miss you. I want you back. But I want you in shape first.” He said, taking her hand.

“You don’t deserve this.”

He smiled. “None of us deserves a Justin but he’s thrown a spanner into our lives and now we’ve got to fix it.”

“Don’t get caught up fixing me.” She said as tears fell from her eyes.

He chuckled. “I am not fixing you, we are fixing us, because if Justin had done this when we got married, we’d probably be fighting the same battle. So, let’s fight it now that we can.” He said, wiping the tears from her eyes.

Tami sighed.

“So, be it today, or tomorrow or next tomorrow…I’ll be waiting, Tami. I’ll be waiting for you to meet me here.”

Tami’s eyes became a fountain. “I love you and this much is true, Kunle.”

“I love you too.” He said and kissed her.