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Monday, May 29, 2017

Heartstrings (7)



"So, Ma," I began. "Becky and I have decided to have our engagement and traditional wedding in two months time and the..."

 "Hold it there, Demola!" my mother cut in abruptly.  "Both of you can't just pick a date yourselves! A proper Yoruba boy like you should know better! There's a procedure to these things. It's not just you two getting married but two families coming together. So, both sides have to meet during the introduction and decide on a date. We've not even done that and you're already talking about the main marriage ceremony. What's the rush?" she queried.

"He's afraid Aunty Becky will run away again,"  Shalewa, who was sitting at the dining table browsing on my laptop, chipped in. If looks could kill, my kid sister would have been dead meat from the angry look I threw her way.

"Keep quiet! Who asked for your opinion?" I said.

"Don't mind your sister. You know she has always had a sharp tongue."

My mother had arrived Lagos from Abeokuta, our hometown a few days before for a visit. Becky had come over to the house and I had introduced her as my fiance.

Our engagement had happened about a month earlier when I had proposed to her.

 "I'll love to be your wife Demola," she had said  then, her words filling my heart with joy. I was in a hurry to make her my wife but obstacles were cropping up that I had not expected...

 My mother was talking.

"Besides, before the introduction,  I need to study her for sometime, make sure she'll make a good wife for you," she said.

"Mum, is that really necessary?" I told her. "You said she was a nice, well behaved girl when you met her."

She scoffed.

"Looks can be deceptive my son. You're blinded by love so you won't see any flaws in her." She paused.
"So you'll have to wait for sometime before your father and I will approve this marriage."

"Ah, Mum! How long will that be?" I grumbled.

"I'll let you know when I'm satisfied with her."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Heartstrings (6)



About a week after that first meeting,  she returned to my office for the recording of the interview with my CEO. The interview went well and we later had lunch at our staff canteen.

With us was her cameraman or woman (for she was a lady) named Janet.

"What time do you close from work?" I asked Becky as we ate.

"Why do you ask?"

"I want to take you out after work," I said, praying silently she would accept.

"I don't really have a closing time; it depends on my schedule which is really tight right now with productions and other stuff. Maybe some other time, " she said.

That turned out to be nearly a month later after several calls and messages.

"It's easier to see our President at Aso Rock Villa than to see you, " I said teasingly the evening I had picked her from her home for our first date.

She laughed.

"Not my fault,  Demola. Blame my job! As you can see, we journalists are very busy people. It's a jealous profession that takes nearly 100 percent of your time."

"But what can't work all the time!" I protested. "All work and no play..."

"Yeah! I know! But what can I do, with endless deadlines all the time, " she said   .

"Ok. Let me have fifty."

She glanced quickly at me.

"What?"

"Fifty percent of your spare time. That's all I ask," I implored.

"Greedy guy! " she said, smiling.

"I know I am...when it comes to being with you!", I said, turning from the road to grin at her.


  ***

Despite my best efforts, we could only see occasionally over the next few months. Sometimes, when I longed to see her, I would drive to her office after I had closed for the day and wait for her in the car to finish her work.

I would drop her at home and spend some time with her before heading home. By this time, I had fallen deeply for her; I wanted to make her mine. But sadly,  the feeling was one- sided.

Becky made it plain she had no space in her heart for me then.

We were at Eleko beach one Saturday afternoon when she opened up to me. It was her day off work, so that morning, we had left Lagos early as the beach resort was some distance away from the city.

 While I swam, Becky sat watching me and the other funseekers around. Later, we sat under the shade, eating and chatting.

It felt so good being with her there, I wished we could stay there longer.

"Do you have to be in the office tomorrow?" I asked.
 She nodded. "Hmmm."

"A pity," I said. "It would have been nice if we could spend the niight here at the resort." I placed my hand on her shoulder and my fingers slipped up to caress her cheek.

She held my hand there and said:
"I'm sorry,  Demola."

What for?" I asked,  wondering what she had done.

"I can't give you what you want. I know you love me... You're a cool guy and I like you and enjoy your company. But I can't love you back."

"It's not your fault! " she added quickly when I tried to speak. "The problem is me."

 It was then she told me about her ex - fiancĂ©,  Lanre.

"I loved Lanre with all my heart and he was crazy about me too. We planned to spend our lives together. But there was a problem, his parents," she  said.
Lanre’s parents, she explained,  who were Muslims were against his relationship with someone like her of a different faith.

"They didn't want to see me with Lanre and they made that clear. At a point, I stopped visiting him at home because the hostility from his parents was just too much. We did all we could to stay together- he pleaded with them, blackmailed, threatened;  it was no use."

At this point, Becky's voice became softer and her eyes grew misty. Then, she took a deep breath and continued speaking.  "With such opposition, our relationship was doomed. We had no choice but part for good."

I could tell by the sad look on her face that recalling the incident was painful to her. I took her hand and squeezed it.

"The break up was hard on me," she said. "I had built my hopes, dreams and happiness round Lanre and when we parted, it was like a very vital part of me was gone. I nearly had a break down. " She paused and gazed at the sandy ground for a moment. "Even now, more than two years since we broke up, I can't forget him...I still love him very much. I've tried to let him go but it's been difficult. "

She looked up at me then added: "That's why I can't give you what you desire, Demola. In my heart, there's only room for Lanre; whether we're together or not."

Perhaps with hindsight, I should have just let her go and forgotten about her. But by then, it was too late. She was the one pulling my heartstrings and I simply could not stay away from her. So, I pressed on.

"Time heals everything. So, with time, I believe you'll be free to love some one else," I posited.

"That'll be when? Two, three or ten years? What man will have the patience to wait?"

I looked keenly at her.

"I'll wait for you, Becky," I said.

Her lips curved in a sad, little smile that made me want to hold her tight and help ease some of the pain of the loss.

 ***

My friend Kefe thought I was mad.

"How can you even think of doing that?  Wait for how long for her to accept you?  Eternity?" he said in a derisive tone.

He had stopped over at my house on his way from  church and I had told him what happened at the beach the previous day.

"You won't understand Kefe! I love Becky very much. I think she's the one for me."

"And I think you're being foolish, Demola! What's so special about this lady anyway? There are lots of beautiful ladies out there in this city, yet you want to keep hanging on to one whose heart and mind are elsewhere. I thought you were smarter than thi,  man!" he said hotly.

 "What matters is winning her in the end. I'm hopeful  it shall happen one  day!" I said in an optimistic tone.

 He sniggered at me, stating mockingly; "Keep hoping! Mr Hope!"

  ***

Four years. That was what it took to win Becky. It was not easy but now that I had got my heart's desire, I'm  ready to do anything to keep it.

 The morning after Becky spent the night at my place, I began plans to take the relationship to the next level. The next day after work, I stopped over at the City Mall on the Island and walked into a jewellery shop...


To be continued.

Don't miss the next episode of Demola's story  coming soon!  Do stay tuned!




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Heartstrings (6) Preview



"What time do you close from work?" I asked Becky.

" Why do you ask?"

"I want to take you out after work," I said, praying silently she would accept.

"I don't really have any closing time; it depends on mu schedule which is really tight right now with productions and other stuff. Maybe some other time, " she said.

That turned out to be nearly a month later after several calls and messages.

"It's easier to see our President at Aso Rock Villa in Abuja than to see you, " I said teasingly the evening I had picked her from her home for our first date.

She laughed.

"Not my fault,  Demola. Blame my job! As you can see, we journalists are very busy people. It's a jealous profession that takes nearly 100 percent of your time."

"But you can't work all the time!" I protested. "All work and no play..."

"Yeah! I know! But what can I do, with endless deadlines all the time, " she said .

"Ok. Let me have fifty."

She glanced quickly at me.

"What?"

"Fifty percent of your spare time. That's all I ask, Becky," I implored.

"Greedy guy! " she said, smiling.

"I know I am...when it comes to being with you!", I said, turning from the road to grin at her...


Watch out for the rest of the story coming soon!

 





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Heartstrings (5)



It was past 10 p.m when we got to my house that night. Becky immediately kicked off her high heeled shoes and flopped on the couch. She stretched like a cat and yawned.

"Tired?" I asked, smiling down at her.

"A little," she said, closing her eyes.

"Let me get some drinks ," I said, heading for the kitchen.

She sat up and held my hand. "Wait!"

She drew me down and I sat down by her. Then she looked round the room as if searching for something.

"Where's your sister, Shalewa?"

"Should be in bed. She has to be in school early tomorrow for lectures."

"Why don't she move to campus? I believe it will be less stressful for her," Becky said.

"She actually has a room in school but she abandoned it because of her roommates," I explained.

"Why? What's wrong with them?"

I shrugged.

"She says her roommates are always going out and bringing 'sugar daddies to the room and she hates it. 'Seeing those girls- my age mates- with men old enough to be their grandpas make me sick. I can't bear to be in the same room with them!' were her words!"

Becky laughed, her eyes bright with amusement.

"It's a common thing on many campuses these days," she said.

Then she drew close and took my hand in hers.

"Demola," she said. "I just want to say how sorry I am at the way I've treated you all this while. You know the reason why so I won't go into it here." She paused, looked down at our clasped hands then continued. "If it's not too late for us, I'll like us to..."

I placed a finger on her lips.

"Shh! Baby, you know it will never be too late...even if I've to wait for you longer than I have." I cradled her face in my palms. "I love you,  Becky! Always have, always will!"

She smiled at me.

"Love you too, Demola!"

"I held her tightly to me and kissed her- on the nose and soft, succulent lips  Her arms wound round my neck and for a while,  we were totally engrossed in each other, lost to the world....

***

I woke up some hours later and turned to feel Becky's soft body lying next to me. She was sound asleep, her breath making soft sounds that was like music to my ears.

Having her next to me, in my bed gave me a heady feeling I could not describe.

I hugged her close, placing her head on my chest. I wished we could stay that way forever, that the day would not break, bringing with it, it's usual challenges.

 I wanted this moment to last for a long time, to compensate for the long wait for Becky, right from the first time we met.
That was at my company's media briefing over four years before.

Being in the Media and Communications department, I and a few colleagues were in charge of organising the programme which was the launch of two new products of the firm.

Becky had come to cover the event for the TV Station where she worked as a Producer/Reporter. Later, after the launch, she had wanted to interview my CEO for a programme she produced at the station

It could not take place that day as my boss had to travel that afternoon to Abuja for a meeting.

"I'll arrange for the interview when he returns from his trip," I reassured her.

"That'll be nice Mr Oni," she said, looking at my business card I had given her.

"Demola will be just fine," I said. I had seen her on TV and thought she was pretty. But the camera did not do her justice for she looked stunning in the flesh...

To be continued





Friday, May 12, 2017

Heartstrings (4) look of love



I turned angrily on my sister. "Stay out of this Shalewa! It's none of your business!"

"But it is, brother! How can you hit her like that? What if something bad happens to her? Is it not all of us the police will arrest?" she retorted. She bent down and lifted Jemi off the floor.

"Sorry, Aunty! Are you ok?" she asked Jemi.

"I'm fine," she said brusquely, adjusting her clothes.

When she looked at me, there was a pained look on her face and tears in her eyes.

"You hit me just because I told you the truth, Demola? You can continue to live in denial, but Becky will never be yours! You better face reality and..."

*Get out!" I screamed at her, pointing at the door. Out!"
She went to pick up her bag and prepared to leave.

"I'll go," she said. "But mark my words  One day, you'll come crawling back to me. But by then, it will be too late!"

"Crawl back to who? You?" I said scornfully. "I'll rather romance a stone than get mixed up with you again. So, just go! Get out of my house. And my life! Silly thing!"

At the door, she turned,  glared at me, hissed and left.

         ***

I stomped off to my room and flung myself on the  bed, still fuming.
Jemi's words kept swirling round my head, as if mocking me: 'Becky will never be yours! She loves another not you! Stop being...'

 I sat up abruptly, shaking my head as if in denial of those words of hers.

" How dare Jemi talk to me like that?" I mumbled to myself. "I think she's just jealous because I don't love her as I do Becky. Yes, that's it! I hope she'll still be in this Lagos when she sees me marrying Becky. Then, I wonder what she'll say then! Stupid girl!"

I rolled off the bed and checked the time. It was almost 8pm.

Time to get dressed and go hook up with Kefe, my bosom friend. Kefe and I often hung out most weekends with a small group of friends at our favourite nite club on Victoria Island. It was owned by a popular musician and was one of the cool fun spots in the city.
I quickly undressed and headed for the bathroom to take a shower.

I was almost dressed and ready to leave when my phone rang.

I smiled on seeing the caller ID.

"Hey, Becky!" I said. "I was about calling to check on you. How're you doing?"

"Am cool!"
"You sound sleepy," I said.

"Just woke up. I took a nap after you left and overslept. What are you doing?"

"I'm heading to the club. Like to come?"

"I'll pass. I just want to chill at home tonight."

"Ok, dear. When can I  pick you up for our date tomorrow?"

We chatted for a few minutes more before ending the call. I picked up my car keys and went to the living room.

Shalewa, who was watching a programme on TV, one of those Mexican telenovellas she loved so much, turned to stare curiously at me.

"Going out?" she asked.

"Yes," I said shortly,  still slightly pissed with her for siding with Jemi earlier. That girl has no sense of sibling loyalty at all, I thought grumpily as I headed for the front door.

"Don't stay out too late o, brother. Remember what happened the last time when you nearly ran into some armed robbers on your way home from night crawling."

"And what are you?  Our mother?" I retorted.

"Since Maami* is not here, it's left to me to play that role, brother mi!" she said half jokingly.

"You know what? Just sit there and watch your silly soaps and mind your business. Busy body!"

With that, I left the house,  banging the front door behind me.

 ***

The Sea Point Bar and Restaurant at the Ikoyi waterfront was already filling up when Becky and I arrived the following evening.

"I've missed this place, especially the spicy grilled fish," she said as we sat down at a table on the rooftop section of the bar. It overlooked the lagoon and across it on the other side, the lights of Lekki twinkled brightly at us. "It looks a bit different, like it's been refurbished. "

"A new management took over and did a makeover,"
I said.  A waiter arrived and we placed our orders.

"I want my fish with plenty of pepper, " Becky instructed the waiter, then turned to me. "I've been eating mostly bland food for the past few months...so now, I want something really hot that will make my eyes water!"

 I laughed.

"Don't complain if it gets too hot!" I quipped.

"Don't worry,  I can handle it," she said, taking a sip of her drink.

"You know what, Demola?" she said.

"Yes?"

"This place wasn't the only thing I missed  you know," she said.

"What else did you miss?"

She looked at me keenly.

"You! I missed you very much, Demola! Being apart from you gave me time to think about things, about us. How you've loved me and been devoted to me all these years and I never reciprocated. Now, I think it's time," she said.

I could feel my heart beat quicken at her words. Was she finally going to accept me?

"Time for what, Becky?" I prompted.

Our food arrived at that moment, interrupting our conversation.

"This looks yummy," said Becky, picking up her fork.

I was not interested in the food but in what she had been saying earlier.

"Becky, you were saying...?"

She tasted a bit of the food then nodded her head.

"Just what I wanted. Really spicy! Let's eat for now. We can talk later at home."

"By that, you mean...?"

"Yes. I want to be with you tonight baby!"

 I saw in her eyes something I thought I would never see- a look of love and desire for me...


To be continued

Note: 'Maami' refers to "Mother' in Yoruba language

***
This episode was scheduled to have been posted yesterday but was delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances.  We apologise for the delay Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Heartstrings (4) Promo




"Sorry, Aunty! Are you ok?" she asked Jemi.

"I'm fine", she said brusquely, adjusting her clothes.

When she looked at me, there was a pained look on her face and tears in her eyes.

"You hit me just because I told you the truth, Demola? You can continue to live in denial, but Becky will never be yours! You better face reality and..."

*Get out!" I screamed at her, pointing at the door. Out!"
"I'll go," she said. "But mark my words  One day, you'll come crawling back to me. But by then, it will be too late!"

"Crawl back to who? You?" I said scornfully. "I'll rather romance a stone than get mixed up with you again. So, just go!....."


Watch out for the rest of the story tomorrow. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Heartstrings (3)


***
"Welcome brother," Shalewa, my younger sister who lived with me, said. She had just come out of the kitchen where she must have been cooking for I could perceive the smell of fried chicken and jollof rice.

I responded to her greeting then turned my attention to Jemi who had uncurled herself from the couch.

 "Hi, baby! I've been waiting for you for so long!" she said. She tried to embrace me but I fended her off and moved towards the dining table where my laptop was. She followed me, drew up a chair and sat down.

"Should I bring your food now, brother?"Shalewa, who was standing by the kitchen door, said.

 "I'll eat later," I told her and turned to Jemi.

"What are you doing here, Jemi? I can't remember inviting you over!"

"That's your problem,, Demola! You never want me to come over to your place...you only see me when it suits you. And..." she said, pausing.

"Yes?: I prompted.

"I'm getting sick of it!"

I looked quickly at her.

"You are?"

"Yes," she said, a defiant note in her voice. "This wasn't what I bargained for. I thought..."

"And what were you expecting?" I asked sarcastically. "That I would be with you all day, holding your hand, buying you flowers and chocolates like in the movies?"

She got up then and stood with her hands on her hips, in a kind of combative mode.

"And what's wrong with that? I'm your girlfriend but you're so cold to me. The only time you show any emotions is when we are in bed. Is sex the only thing between us?" she asked, her voice rising.

"What else is there?" I countered. "You knew what to expect when we started this. So, what's with this attitude? "

 "Look Demola," she said in a softer tone of voice. "I thought I would be ok with just what we had. But...Truth is, I'm in love with you!"

I gave her a searching look.

 "You are what"? I asked.

She drew close and  placed her hand on my shoulder.

"I love you! I tried fighting it but it's just not working. I want you for real, not just as a fling but a real relationship. Can we have that baby?" she cajoled. She bent as if to kiss me but I pushed her away and stood up abruptly.

"What's wrong with you, Jemi? Control yourself! I told you right from the beginning that I could never love you. So, what's all this bullshit you're sprouting?"

"Is it because she's back?" she said petulantly

"What are you talking about?" I demanded.

"Your precious Becky! You're acting this way because she's back in the country. Let me give you a word of advice. She'll never love you! That bitch will keep stringing you along till eternity because her heart belongs to some one else. So just..."

I lost my cool then.

"Shut the f...k up!" I shouted at her. "How dare you!"
I slapped her then. The force must have been much because she staggered and fell, her face twisted up in pain. My wrist was bunched up as if to hit her again when my sister rushed into the room.

"Brother Demola, what's going on here?"

To be continued

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Heartstrings (3) Promo



 "Hi, baby! I've been waiting for you for so long!" she said. She tried to embrace me but I fended her off and moved towards the dining table where my laptop was. She followed me, drew up a chair and sat down.

"Should I bring your food now, Brother?"Shalewa, who was standing by the kitchen door, said.

 "I'll eat later," I told her and turned to Jemi.

"What are you doing here, Jemi? I can't remember inviting you over!"

"That's your problem,, Demola! You never want me to come over to your place...you only see me when it suits you. And..." she said, pausing.

"Yes?: I prompted...

Watch out for the rest of the story this evening. It's  explosive so don't miss it!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Heartstrings (2)




I hugged her tightly to me, luxuriating in the feel of having her in my arms again. When I kissed her on the mouth, she wriggled out of my embrace.

"Hey, easy with the PDA, Demola! People are watching!"

I smiled at her.

"Who cares? I'm so happy you're back Becky!"

"It's good to be home too! But it's so hot!" she grumbled, fanning herself with her hand.
I laughed.

"Welcome to Naija where it's alw
ays warm. You think you're still in cold London?"

I picked up her large suitcase and a bag and we stated walking towards the airport car park.

***

"So, how was the course?" I said as we drove along the local airport road towards her home in Maryland.

"It was great! I learnt so many new things about my field," she enthused.

"It must have been hectic though. You seem to have lost some weight."

 "Have I? Do I look different?" she asked, glancing at her image in the car mirror.

 "Just a bit slimmer. It suits you though. You're still as pretty and sexy as ever, " I said, turning to gaze at her as she inspected her face in the mirror.

 "Thanks dear. So, who's been looking after you in my absence? I heard you've shacked up with one fine chic."

"And who has been feeding you such lies in London?" I countered.

"I might have been away but I've got my ears close to the ground. So, tell me, who's she?"

"Do you know you sound like a jealous wife?" I said teasingly.

" Really?" she laughed. "Maybe it's time I became one"

I turned quickly to glance at her.
"What?"

"A jealous wife," she said, her hand caressing me on the shoulder.

I took her hand in mine and squeezed it.

"For real, Becky?"

 "Why not, Demola. It's been four years."

"Yeah. Four years of waiting. For you."

"So sorry, dear. Am a bitch, right?"

"Doesn't matter what you are. I love you all the same." I said, slowing down at a traffic light.

"No matter how long I keep you waiting?  For me to make up my mind?"

"You know Becky that there's no one besides you for me. So, am I going to get some good news now you're back?"

"We'll talk later ok?" she said as I drove into her compound.

Her smile gave me some hope that what I had been waiting for, for fours years, Becky's love and commitment would become reality.

***

I spent some time with her at her place before heading home.

My thoughts were full of her, of what would happen
when we met up again the following day.

Back home, I opened my door and lying down on the couch like she owned the place was Jemi...


 To be continued








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