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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Forever (5)




Thankfully the dress Alewa wore from the house that morning could double as an office and a casual night out. 

She had repaired her makeup at the little rest room provided for the staff of the company and she knew she looked good. Her hair and makeup was on point and her dress not too wrinkled. She was ready to have a bit of fun.

 Sandra dragged her by the hand to a chair at the corner and sat beside her. They were there with another lady and two other guys from the office, making it a party of five. The lady’s name was Chinwe, one of the guys’was Musa and Alewa did nott get the name of the last guy. 
Musa sat beside Chinwe on the other end leaving the space beside Alewa empty for the other guy. He smiled as he sat beside her and she returned his smile, a bit uncomfortable with the non-existent distance between them but there was nothing she could do about it.

They were all tightly packed on the settee like sandines in a can. Sandra ordered for drinks and Alewa requested for Smirnoff Ice even though she had never tasted alcohol in her life. Tonight though, she was all about trying new things. Their drinks came and they settled down to enjoy it and gist. Before long, a guy came to their table and asked Sandra to dance; she readily agreed leaving Alewa to face her demons alone.

 Alewa watched as she gyrated on the dance floor pushing up on the guy and moving her body in synch with his, wondering how she could dance like that with a guy she barely knew and if she would ever be bold enough to dance like that with any guy.

 “Hi Alewa.” The guy beside her whispered close to her ear breaking her concentration. She turned to him alarmed to find him so close to her, barely an inch separated their body.

 “Hi?” she returned 

“Would you like to dance?”

 “No!” she replied sharply. “I mean, I don’t feel like dancing tonight," she amended. 
“Then why do you keep watching Sandra as if you’ll like to join her?” 
“I’m just observing.”
 “Hmm, some observation.” What’s with him? She thought and turned back to watch Sandra but she was no longer on the same spot. In fact, Alewa could not find her anywhere on the dance floor. 

 “Would you like another drink?”
 “Oh no, I’m okay. Thank you.”

 “Come on, your bottle is almost empty. Let me order another one for you. We’re here to have fun, right?” Oh yes! Alewa thought, why am I holding back?

 “Yes we are.” She turned back to him and smiled. “I’ll love another drink, thank you.” 

 She liked the taste of the Smirnoff; it tasted like palm wine, only sweeter. He ordered another drink for her and one for himself too.

 “So Alewa, tell me about yourself. I know you’re a brilliant scientist and that you keep to yourself and also that you’re drop-dead gorgeous but I’ll like to know more.” He smiled lasciviously. Alewa was surprised. She didn’t know he knew her so well as she hardly knew him.

 “Sorry I didn’t get your name?”

Ebuka Omoriele at your service.” He bowed and swayed a little which just made him look silly as he was sitting down. Not like King. King’s bow which was sophisticated and it made her want to curtsy, it made her want to bow and salute him as her king. 

 Ebuka’s bow just looked silly. “Pleasure to meet you,” she lied. It was not a pleasure at all, in fact there was nothing pleasurable about this night except that she got to watch people dance, which in itself should not have been all that if she had been used to mingling and going out. Ebuka moved closer and Alewa wondered what he was doing.

 She could feel his breath on her neck as he whispered in her ear. “You’re so beautiful.” She moved away only to crash into Chinwe and Musa entangled with one another and kissing. She had not noticed them as her attention had been fixed on the dance floor and then on Ebuka. 

She quickly averted her gaze wondering how they could completely let go of all inhibitions in such a public place. She was trapped between the lovers and Ebuka who was certainly taking liberties with her and touching her in places he should not. She slapped his hand away when she felt it on her thigh and he just laughed drunkenly. 

“Come on baby, whatsamatter?” he slurred and that was when Alewa knew he was drunk. He had been drinking steadily all night and now he must be feeling the effects of the drink. She made to stand up but he held on to her tightly which made her believe he was not as drunk as she initially thought.

 “Let me go,” she whispered.

 “Where are you going to baby? Don’t you like me?” She looked to the dance floor and could not find Sandra anywhere. The two beside her were too engrossed in each other to care about any other person. She was left, with just the crazy guy beside her. It was time to go home.

 “Let go of me Ebuka. I need to leave.”

 “So soon? Let’s have some more fun.” He wrapped his arms around her, Alewa jabbed him hard in his stomach and he let her go immediately.

 “Bitch, what did you do that for?” he shouted “I warned you twice, didn’t I?” Alewa had long made up her mind never to be a victim of any man ever again and she was not about to fall prey to this fool beside her. 

She picked up her purse as he continued to spew invectives at her and made to stand up but a wave of dizziness overcame her and she had to sit back down. No, no, no, this can’t be happening. I can’t be tipsy. I’m going to drive for Pete’s sake and I took just one bottle. She stood up again and this time the dizziness was not as bad as the first time but she knew she could not drive herself home in that condition.

 She carefully made her way outside the club, searching for Sandra as she went to no avail. It was like she was not there at all. Sandra could not have left me here, could she? What will I do now? I can’t very well drive myself home and end up killing some innocent soul on the way.

 She suddenly remembered King and decided to call him for help. She quickly took her phone from her purse and dialed his number. He answered on the first ring.

 “Hello Alewa, is everything alright?” “Hi King. Please, I need your help. Can you come pick me?” “Pick you? Why? What’s wrong with your car?”

 “Nothing. I’ll explain everything when you get here. Can you come please?” 

“Alright. Where are you?”

 “The Phoenix Club on the mainland. Do you know the place?”

 “Yes I do. Lucky for you I’m close by. I’ll be with you shortly.” 

“Okay, I’m outside the club. Thank you King.” 

“I’ll see you soon.” King ended the call wondering what Alewa was doing at a night club. She had not struck him as someone who enjoyed past times like that. In fact, in the time he had known her, he had not seen her go anywhere else apart from the market and the office. 



She did not go to church and she definitely did not go to clubs. He wondered what changed and how she ended up in the club tonight. He couldn’t wait to hear her explanation. Maybe his perception of her had been wrong all along.

 He picked up his car keys from the centre table.

 “Guys, I have to leave you now. Something came up.” He addressed his two friends staring at the screen with all concentration. They did not even blink, such was their engrossment. 

“Ik, Chidozie, I have to leave.”

 Ik turned and observed him incredulously. “Leave? Now? When the game is getting hotter?” 

 “I’ll have to watch the replay. Something came up.” 

 “It can’t wait?” 

“No, it can’t.” “Hmm.” Chidozie murmured. “It’s that your new girl right? I heard you talking to her just now, Alewa right?”

 “What new girl?” 

“Come on man. You’ve been acting strange and all secrecy for the past month, disappearing at odd hours of the day. I barely saw you throughout your annual leave and we live together. So what gives?” 

“She’s a dear friend of mine and she’s waiting for me, so I really have to go.”

 “Hmm dear friend. Na from there e dey start.” Ik laughed. “Na so my guy.”

 “You guys are so not serious. I go call una later.”

 “Okay guy. Greet the lady of the hour now.” King just waved to them and disappeared into the night.

 Alewa saw a car pull up to the front of the club and on closer inspection saw that it was King at the wheel. She waved and carefully traced her steps to avoid toppling over in her heels towards him. He opened the passenger door for her from the inside and she climbed in. 

“Thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it.”

 “My pleasure.” King replied as he concentrated on reversing out of the building.

 “This is not the jeep you usually bring to my place.” 

“Oh yeah. This is just a smaller car I use for errands. The jeep I use when I want to impress someone.”

 “Really? Don’t tell me you wanted to impress little old me?”

 “Oh yes I did, big time.”

“I find that hard to believe. There was nothing impressive about me when we met.” 

“If you think so, then you don’t know yourself very well. Believe me, I was very impressed. There was just something about you that called to me; that still calls to me.” he looked at her briefly before turning back to the road. 

“So what happened to your car?” he asked instead of asking the question really burning in him which was why she was there at all.

 “Oh this is embarrassing but let me start at the beginning. So, a colleague of mine at work, Sandra invited me to hang out with her and some other guys immediately after work. I agreed to go since I promised you two weeks ago that I’ll go out and mingle more.”

 He smiled at her. “So, it’s my fault that you’re stranded out here tonight? Oh how bad of me.”

 She laughed. “Noooo. Let me finish my story jor.”

 “Okay go ahead.”

 “As I was saying, I went along with Sandra and we ended up in this club. In the spirit of trying new things, I ordered for Smirnoff Ice even though I had never taken alcohol in my life….” 

“So in the spirit of trying new things, you decided to try a spirit? Alewa punched him in the arm. 

“Go jor. Besides, Smirnoff is not a spirit.”

 “But it’s still in the spirit.” 

She laughed again. “King, will you allow me finish my story?” 

“I’m just doing my job ma’am. I promised to try my best to always make you laugh, didn’t I?” 

“Yes, you did. And you’re doing a very good job.” She smiled at him. “Can I finish my story now?” 

“Alright.”

 “So, I was taking my drink and gisting with Sandra when a guy asked her to dance. She did not even look at me as she accepted, leaving me all alone to fend for myself. Then, one of my colleagues from the office got a little too friendly and I had to punch him to escape his clutches. It was when I stood up to leave that I discovered how tipsy and out of balance I was, I knew I could not drive myself home. Hence, my call to you. End of story.”

 “Hmm some story. This colleague you talked about, what did he do to you.” 

“Oh, he was just trying to feel me up when I didn’t ask for it. I took care of him though.” 

 “So you’re okay? All together? No broken parts or cut-off pieces?”

 “I’m whole and complete, thank you.” 

By this time they had arrived at her place and King parked the car by the curb.

 “I just hope nothing will happen to my car before morning.”

 “I’m sure it will be safe. Lots of people probably get inebriated and have to be put into cabs all the time leaving their cars behind.”

 “Yes, that’s true. I’ll go pick it in the morning.”

 “I’ll like you to go to church with me on Sunday.” He abruptly changed the topic.
 “Woah, where did that come from? I’m sorry King but I don’t do church.”

 “Why not?”

 “I just don’t believe in a God who allows so much wickedness in the world and does nothing about it. Sorry.” 

“You’ll have to have a deeper understanding about God to even begin to understand that. Sometimes, I still have doubts too.”
“You? Doubt God? I don’t think so. You are so earnest in your belief of Him.”

 “Trust me, I’m not all that. Unbelief can beset the best of us at anytime.” 

“That’s curious. What made you lose your trust?”

 “That’s a story for another day dear. Next time we see, if it’s not Sunday, remind me and I’ll tell you all about it.”

 “Alright. Thank you so much for tonight King. I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t there.”

 “It was a pleasure dear.”   

“Good night.” She got out of the car. “Good night. I’ll see you soon.” She gave a little wave as he pulled away. 

 King drove off wondering what to make of what Alewa just told him that night. She had been at a club because he told her to get out more and she almost got into trouble.
When he told her that, he had not envisioned her going off on her own. He wanted her to see herself hanging out with him more; he had said it out of his own selfish interests. 

Alewa was a very beautiful woman and numerous men would see her beauty and want to take advantage of her naivet√©. He wondered not for the first time how a beautiful woman in her early twenties could be so sheltered and inexperienced. 

He wondered what could have happened to her in her young life to make her so introverted. She had not been forthcoming all those times they had spent together but whatever it was, King had a feeling it was very damaging. Maybe she’ll open up to me when I tell her my story. I could only hope, he thought. 

                 ***

 “I can’t believe you left me to fend for myself the other night.” Alewa admonished Sandra on Monday morning. 

Sandra laughed. “Why? You’re a big girl now. Did you expect me to babysit you? After all, we all went there to enjoy ourselves.”

 “Yes, but I went along because I knew you’ll be there. I didn’t imagine you’ll go off like that with a total stranger.”
 Sandra looked at her askance. “Are you for real? It’s a club and that’s what you do in a club. You go dance, perchance you meet a guy and then you go on to have a different kind of fun.” She giggled.

 Alewa didn’t find it funny but she had no one to blame but herself. She could at least have invited King along, but knowing him, he would have refused and convinced her not to go too. She had wanted the experience and she had it; but it was not something she would likely repeat anytime soon.

 Thinking about King made her remember what happened during the weekend. She had disappointed him when she refused to go to church with him on Sunday. She tried to explain to him how she felt but she did not think he really understood her. How can she believe in a God that allows bad things happen to innocent people? She could not. 

 He had called her that morning and they planned to meet in the evening. She was seriously considering telling him everything about her. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help him understand her better. All through that day, Alewa was both excited and terrified of her meeting with King that evening. She was caught between the decision to tell him of her past or not saying anything at all. 

 She did not want to lose him but at the same time she wanted to be completely honest with him. Honesty will come at a cost though, and since he was like the only friend she had in this world, Alewa did not want to jeopardize that friendship by telling him of her dark and shameful past or revealing how bleak her present and future was. 

She took a quick shower when she got back from work and chose an aqua dress with white flowers strewn all over it. She wanted to look good for King. She was still trying to sort out her feelings for him; all she was sure of was she did not want to lose him. 

It was not like she had a  yardstick for measuring what she was feeling, she had never had any relationship before so she could not use any previous one as a comparison. Alewa applied her make-up artfully, slipped into a pair of three inch heeled white sandals and paired it with a white purse. 

She looked at herself critically in the mirror and was passably satisfied with what she saw. In truth, she looked gorgeous. They had planned to meet at a restaurant that was some distance from her home so Alewa left much earlier so as to make it there on time regardless of the traffic. Traffic was not as bad as she thought it would be so she made good time. She parked at a corner that would make it easy for her to leave if she had to escape quickly and got out of her car. 

Alewa checked the time and saw she arrived ten minutes earlier than their scheduled time. She decided to go into the restaurant anyway and order a drink while she waited for King. The waiter directed her to a window seat that still afforded her a view of the door and she ordered a bottle of wine and settled down to wait for King.

 Alewa was going through her social media when she heard a discreet cough beside her. She looked up into the face of a total stranger. The guy standing beside her was very tall and very dark and so not King. She looked at him puzzlingly. 

“Can I help you?” she asked.

 “I couldn’t help admiring your beauty as you walked in and I thanked my stars when I saw you were alone. May I join you please?”

 “Actually, I’m not alone. I’m waiting for a friend.” The guy ignored her and sat down anyway.

 “That’s what they all say. Why can’t women just be truthful? Sweetheart, there’s no shame in dining alone.” 

“So why are you enforcing your company on me?” 

“Like I said you’re very beautiful and I can’t bear to see you dine alone.” He leered.

 “Mr, you’re contradicting yourself.  One moment, you said it’s not a crime to dine alone and with your next breath you said you can’t bear to see me dine alone. Make up your mind please.”

“What’s your name?” Alewa just smiled. She was not about to allow this guy spoil her mood tonight.

 “Like I said, I’m waiting for a friend.”


   To be continued
 

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