Seyi called me on the phone to ask if I was ready for lunch same way she called everyday before lunch break. I was starving as I didn’t have dinner the night before. I asked her to give me 20 minutes to clear up my table.
I was putting together some papers when Isaac walked into my office. He really hadn’t said much to me since the incident with Seyi. Occasionally when he spoke to me it was just for official reasons and so I assumed he had come in this afternoon to speak to me about an official matter.
“Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” he said as he walked into my office
“Have a seat” I said as I pointed to the seat in front of me
“It’s being a journey working with you Temi, it hasn’t been easy but it has been an experience for me”
“I see”; I replied uninterestedly
“In a couple of weeks, we would be rounding up and I just thought I should come over and thank you properly for putting aside our differences and working with me”
I sat there hoping this was not the reason he had come to disturb me this afternoon despite the hunger I was feeling.
“I was only doing my job, atleast that’s what I get paid for, to put aside my differences and earn my salary” I said sarcastically
“If I am not asking for too much I would like you to join me and the rest of team for dinner next week”; he said
“what dinner and who is organizing it?”
“Í just want to thank everyone for their hardwork and thought it nice to take everyone out as we round off this project”
“Oh I see, well I would think about it”
“For what it’s worth I would like to apologise once again for what I did to you, you deserve better and I am glad you are getting what you deserve, and all I can do is wish you the best”
I wasn’t exactly sure of what he meant but for some reason felt relieved at what he just said. He sounded sincere and looked remorseful. It was the first time I had seen him look this apologetic since the incidence.
As he walked to the door, he turned to me and said “Andrew is a wonderful young man , you couldn’t have made a better choice and I am happy for the two of you”
Seyi walked in as he was about to walk out. They bumped into each other. She shoved him aside before hissing out loud as he stepped out.
“wetin the goat dey find for your office” She said as she walked towards me
“Abeg just leave that one alone make we go chop before hunger kill me”
We were already at the car park when Seyi said she wasn’t in the mood to eat at the regular place we normally ate. She said she was looking for something new and different to eat as she was tired of experiencing the same taste. She however suggested we drive all the way to the other side to have lunch at one of my favourite restaurants. I was shocked she wanted to eat there, although she had commended the food especially their seafood the first time I took her there to eat she however had complained that we had to travel to get something this nice to eat and wasn’t ready to endure all that traffic just to eat.
“This is weird, why do you want us to eat there?” I asked her
“I am just in the mood for some seafood today”
I thought you said the place was too far the last time
“Well its not that far jor, its just 10 mins but I guess the traffic from that day must have just irked me, today is Friday the road should be free”
“Far or no far I hope you know you are the one driving” I said as we walked towards my car
We got to the restaurant a few minutes later and had barely taken our seat when I noticed 3 young men walking towards us. They stopped by our table and started to sing Asa’s “Baby Gone”. I wondered if this was how they now operated in the restaurant . And just as they started to end the song they stepped aside and there was the biggest sign that had my name on it with an inscription that said
“Temi would you do me the honour and marry me”
I thought this was a prank, I looked around for the camera, I looked at the 3 men who by now where just standing aside and then Seyi said “babes look behind you”
I turned to see Andrew on his knee, he had tears in his eyes ,
“I know it’s just being a year since we met but I feel like I have known you my whole life. I have never felt this happy with a human being. Babe I want to do right by you, and even if I do wrong I want my wrongs to please you. I would have asked you to be my girlfriend but I feel like it would be an insult to follow the normal protocols since I feel like we have been dating all this while. And so I want to ask if you would be less busy and take out time to get married to me, I am not saying you should marry me right now but I would rather we started our relationship on the ground of you being my fiancée rather than a girlfriend , so what do you say”
I was speechless. I wasn’t exactly sure of what to say , not because I had nothing to say but because in a million years I would never have imagined this. But who was I deceiving in the last one year me and Andrew had being something of an item. The only difference was the fact that we hadn’t officially sealed it with him asking me to be his girl and me saying yes.
Seyi had her phone out, she was recording the whole scenario and had the biggest smile on her face, I knew she had something to do with this. I wanted to say yes but I was too shocked to say anything. I started to cry all of a sudden. Then I heard Seyi say “Temi what are you waiting for,do you want the boy’s knee to peel? Answer him jor!”
I looked at Andrew who was still kneeling down with the opened box of ring in his hand. He looked more handsome than ever, he looked like a small boy seeking for the support of his mother, he looked naïve, he looked like he needed me now than ever, it made me remember the way he looked the night I had gone to visit him, how scared I was after seeing how pale he looked, how despite my anger I had gone home so worried that something bad might happen to him in his sleep. I knew it right and then that I was never going to find another man I was going to love effortlessly the same way I loved Andrew and so I looked at him and said
“You didn’t for a second think I was going to say no to this gorgeous ring”
I saw the tears rolled down his eyes as he smiled and removed the ring from the box to slip it into finger. He stood up and pulled me close to him as he planted a kiss on my lips. For a minute I couldn’t hear the cheers and clapping of the people in the room, all I could hear was the his heart beating against mine as we kissed. I could smell him, I could even taste him this time, my eyes were still closed as he pulled away from me, I opened my eyes to see him smiling, I was looking at my future, I was looking at my new life and it looked beautiful, I leaned forward to kiss him again. The kiss felt like the best ever, it felt like what I needed to survive. As he kissed me back I thought to myself I could get use to a great kisser like this. It felt unrealistic that this had happened, I wanted to pinch myself, I wanted to snap back to reality.
Seyi Hugged me. A couple of people in the restaurant walked over to congratulate us.
When I arrived at Andrew’s home that evening I was still in awe of what had happened in the afternoon. Like he knew what I was thinking he turned to me and said “today was the scariest day of my life, I bought this ring the night after you slept at my apartment and I somewhat knew we were going to end up together and so I was hoping we would kick off somehow even though I didn’t know how we were going to start”
“So what made you ask me now”
I sat at home during out fight and thought of how you avoided me after I told you I needed time to think, it felt like my life stopped functioning after you left, I felt like my life was woven around your existence. That’s why my ex left me. She said she had come to try to make things work, but only felt like a side chic with you in my life. I couldn’t imagine loosing you after our fight, I couldn’t even imagine you not being in my life for a second and so I made up my mind to ask you to marry me the moment we ended our fight”
We visited his parents a month later. I knew his parents were wealthy, what I didn’t know was that they were wealth gods if there was anything like that. As we drove into what seemed like a small estate that served as his parent’s home I was forced to ask if the place was for only his parents or their entire lineage. He laughed and said nothing
The home looked like one of the many houses Nigerian artistes used in their videos to depict how wealthy they are, for a second I felt like I had even seen the house in a song before. His mum was already at the entrance as we stepped out of the car. I was still greeting her when she pulled me in for a hug. One would have thought she knew me from somewhere looking at the way she pulled me in for a hug. She held my hand as she ushered us into their home. Andrew’s dad was seated in the what looked like a lounge, I greeted him, he stood up and said
“My dear how are you, you look prettier than he described you”
I said “fine” with a shaky voice. I was still in great awe of the house. From the chairs to the fittings on the wall it spoke class. They had pictures of family members on the wall. It was arranged properly, you could tell it was arranged in the order of their ages or better still position in the family.
Andrew’s mum was a fair skinned woman with an athletic body. Although she was in her mid 50s she however looked like someone in her early 30s, I guess it had to do with her money and maybe the short hairstyle she had on. Andrew’s dad was a tall lanky man with a punk hairstyle, I didn’t even know that style was still in vogue. He had a decent sense of dressing. I guess Andrew must have picked up his sense of dressing from him.
Andrew’s mum was a bit of a chatter box, she had a zillion questions to ask, it made me feel like I was being interviewed for a job or being interrogated for a murder case.
Andrew’s dad didn’t ask much question, he simply just spoke about his family and about how lucky they were to welcome me into their family.
Lunch went well and as we were about to leave when I remembered I hadn’t given them the gifts I got them. I wanted to take back the gifts as I felt it was too small for them, if only I had been properly briefed about their wealth. I told Andrew but he just laughed and said “My parents are the most humble and appreciative people on earth”
I hoped he was right as I presented the gift to his parents. His mum immediately brought out the gift, it was a “his and hers” wristwatch I picked up from the swatch shop around my office. Her face glowed as she showed it to her husband
“Darling look at what this lovely young lady got us”
“Wow, this is lovely” his dad said
For a minute, I felt like they were trying to mock me for buying them such a tiny gift looking at how wealthy they are. His mum hugged me once again before bringing out the wristwatch from the pack.
“This is really beautiful my dear, thanks a lot”
His dad also thanked me as we got into the car.
Andrew met my parents a week later. My father gave him a bit of a tough time with all the interrogative questions he asked. Andrew seemed a bit a shaky at a point I had to turn to my father and say “Dad why are you drilling him like this? All the man is asking from you is the right to marry me and make me happy” my dad laughed and said “I am just doing my job”
We agreed on a date 6 months away from the day he proposed, it seemed like enough time for us to get some marriage counseling and for us to prepare for the wedding itself.
I was so intrigued at the thought of marrying Andrew, I couldn’t wait, it felt like fairytale to me, like a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
Andrew’s mum employed herself as our wedding planner even though we already hired one. She was keen on details and a serious headache to our planner. A few times she and my mother argued over the planning, over a colour to use or the kind of glassware to serve with on the day.
We had our wedding on the island and it was the simplest wedding ever just like Andrew and I wanted it to be. The theme was athletic and musical just like we had envisioned it. My cousin was my maid of honour. Andrew made his junior brother his best man. He didn’t even bother asking his cousin who by the way asked Seyi to Marry him a month ago only for the girl to say “she loved him but wasn’t ready for marriage”. Crazy child
Nkechi was at the wedding with her husband and their lovely daughter, I had invited Isaac personally even though Seyi thought it was unnecessary, Andrew had however agreed with me on the invite and to my surprise he showed up for the wedding. Although I knew he didn’t come to the wedding solely because I invited him but because Bola was going to be at the wedding. They had somewhat become an item even though she denied it a few times when I asked her about it.
When it was time for my husband to thank our guest , he took the microphone turned to me and said “my life you know I always love to surprise you, permit me to surprise you one more time today”
And then I heard her voice as she said “based on special request I did like to sing baby gone for the couple”. I started to scream at my own wedding. I literally almost jumped out of my chair as she walked to the stage with a guitar.
My husband asked that we dance. As we danced I asked him how he had gotten her but he only smiled and said “let’s just say I know a couple of correct people”
I hugged her at the end of her performance. As we took pictures I joked about her autographing my wedding gown.
My in-laws alongside my parents and friends walked us to the car as we headed for the airport. I hugged my friends and as I hugged Nkechi she repeated what she told me in Ghana during my visit “ no man is perfect we all learn to manage them with their flaws eventually, make sure you manage yours”. I smiled and thanked her
I hugged my mother before getting into the car, she was crying and holding me tight. I freed myself from her embrace before y saying “mum he is not kidnapping me you no I am only getting married to him” she laughed and said “I know, you have really grown”
We got into the car and as the car started to drive away it dawned on me that my new life was about to start, it scared me a little . Andrew turned to me and said “I promise you my life and my blood to live and breathe for you everyday, I would never ever let you go” I started to cry as he kissed me. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
My father in-law’s gift to us was a trip to Austria for our honey moon. We had barely spent 5 minutes in the air when one of the air hostess walked up to us with a gift bag courtesy of the airline. I wondered how they knew we just got married as we were no longer wearing our wedding attires, as we already changed before leaving the wedding venue. As if he knew what I was thinking he said “you know my dad and the owner of this airline are best friends” after which I replied “I guess that explains this gift”
I must have slept off for a few hours. When I opened my eyes I saw Andrew looking at me. I smiled at him and then he said
“You know I love you right”
“Yes, I know”
“You know I would never ever do anything intentionally to hurt you”
“Yes, I know”
“You mean this world to me, you are everything that I want in life”
I smiled as he spoke
“I was going to tell you earlier but I didn’t want to lose you”
“What are you talking about” I asked as I tried to sit up properly
“Remember how you saw me talking to Lanre’s sister at the memorial?”
“Yes , what about that?”
“Well, I kind of know her”
“Okay, so what is she?”
“The thing is the driver that hit Lanre was one of my drivers”
“What are you talking about?” I asked frantically
“Well the truck that hit Lanre was my company truck as a matter of fact I was driving behind the truck when it happened, it was in my car we carried him to the hospital”
I was sweating already as he said this.
“I didn’t know your Lanre was same as the man my driver mistakenly killed up until that memorial service”
My hands were already shaking by now. “Were you at the burial?” I asked
“Yes I was although I stood far away, but I never saw you though.”
Then it occurred to me that I must have seen him at the burial. This is why I thought he was familiar all this while
“Temi, I swear to you I wanted to tell you after that day, but I didn’t want to loose you, besides I had no idea on how to tell you that my driver killed your lanre”
I had tears rolling down my cheeks as he spoke, I unbuckled my seat belt and walked towards the rest room, which luckily was empty. Why did he have to wait till now to tell me this? I felt hurt and betrayed. I just married a deceitful bastard I thought to myself. I wish I could call someone, I wish I could get off the plane.
On a second thought he really hadn’t done anything wrong other than keep a secret, although the driver was serving his jail term for man slaughter. I still felt angry. Then I remembered what Nkechi had told me in Ghana and at the wedding. This was my flaw. I understood why he had kept it a secret, I knew he loved me it was obvious I would have done the same. But I wasn’t sure of how to live with this. I heard a knock on the door I knew it was him.
“Temi, please open the door” he said
I opened it for him
“Temi, I swear on my life I wanted to tell you, I tried to tell you but I just didn’t know how to”
I wanted to hit him, I wanted to push him hard. I hit him on his chest but he just stood there as I hit him even more and then I stopped and said
“If you ever ever keep anything away from me again, I would kill you”
I was still crying , he tried to hug me but I shoved him aside. I loved him, I didn’t want to hurt him, I knew he didn’t mean to hurt me, I saw the look on his face , he looked remorseful, he got on his knee and started to beg. I asked him to stand up. I couldn’t be angry with him. He was my flaw and I was going to live with him
Our plane landed in Austria an hour later. We said nothing to each other as we walked out of the plane. We hired a cab that had a driver that could barely speak English we literally had to use sign language to explain ourselves to him. As we drove through the beautiful city of Vienna, I knew I hadn’t come all the way to waste all this. I was ready to start all over. I was ready to let go.
I put my hands into his hands, he looked at me with so much shock. I hadn’t forgiven him totally but I was ready to start afresh. He leaned over and kissed me after which I said “you are my flaw, I would manage you”
He looked confused at my statement “as he pulled me closer, I felt his heart beat, it felt exactly the same way it felt the day he proposed to me” then he said “I did rather be dead than be alive and not be with you, I love you temi”
And that was a fact I knew was true, somehow I was glad Lanre didn’t see the fact in me being a virgin else I won’t be here today sitting beside my major source of happiness and biggest flaw.