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Wendy had gone to Shoprite Mall to buy a cake for her friend’s birthday. Soon after she had paid and began to head for the exit, a ma...

Wendy had gone to Shoprite Mall to buy a cake for her friend’s birthday. Soon after she had paid and began to head for the exit, a male voice called to her. “Hello,” said a good looking young man. “Hi,” replied Wendy. “My name is Chidozie. How are you doing?” The young man said.  “I am doing fine thanks.” “May I know your name, please?” “My name is Wendy.” “Your name is just as beautiful as you are. I saw you paying over there and I could not take my eyes off you. Is there a chance that I could get your phone number? Are you a student?” “Yes I am a student...a law student at University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC).” “Great. I have a cousin who studies Law at UNEC.” “Really? What year? What’s his or her name?”  “He is in first year. His name is Uchenna.” “Interesting. I am in first year too, but I don’t recall anyone by the name Uchenna. It is a large class though.” “I am sure it is. So, can I get your number?” By now they were outside. Wendy was leaning towards the bus stop. “I am still wondering if I should give you my number.” “Why?” “The last time I gave my number to a guy, who walked up to me like you did, it ended in disaster.” “I am sorry to hear that. Please give me a chance. I won’t let you down.” “You all say that…guys!!!”

After going back and forth for nearly half an hour, Wendy finally gave her phone number to Chidozie. “Let me drop you off,” he offered and Wendy obliged him. He dropped her right in front of her hostel. “I will give you a call soon,” said Chidozie. “I will be expecting your call. You did not tell me what you do actually.” “I am sorry, I guess I forgot. I am importer. I deal in cars.” “Okay; good to know.” “Take care yourself.” “Thanks, I will.” It was not until another week before he called her. “It is great to hear your beautiful voice again,” he said. “Sweet talker…don’t flatter me.” “I am sure guys tell you how beautiful you are all the time.” “I don’t remember guys telling me anything like that.” “Then, it is either other guys are blind or you have a selective memory that selects what you want to remember and what you choose not to.” “Maybe the other guys are blind, then,” Wendy said sarcastically.

A few days later, Chidozie was on the phone gain with Wendy. Soon, they were talking more regularly. About three weeks later, he took her out to Raya Chinese Restaurant. She was dressed in in a black skirt, a white top and black high-heeled shoes. Her perfume filled the air around her with an alluring fragrance. Chidozie could not take his eyes off her all evening. When he dropped her off, he made sure to touch her arm gently before she left his car. “I had a good time. Thanks,” he said. “Me too. I had fun.” “I hope to see you again soon.” “Me too.” Chidozie drove happily home. All week, they chatted back and forth and even met up mid-week for a quick lunch. She got to visit his car dealership on Ogui Road. The next weekend, Wendy spent Saturday and Sunday nights at Chidozie’s. The love between them blossomed quickly. They could not go a day without meeting up or talking.

“I am sorry to bother you, Maureen, but I have to say this,” Siji said. “What is it Siji? You are in love with me?” Maureen asked. They were walking away from the law faculty building. “You noticed that, I guess,” Siji answered. “Yes I did. You have been making keen efforts to spend time with me. You come around my hostel to visit quite a bit. For sure, I am no longer as na├»ve as I once was. I can see that you have feelings for me.” “Maybe it is too early for you, given what happened between you and Donald. I cannot help myself though. I really like you. I have always liked you. I hated to see Donald treat you the way you did. Would you consider dating me? You are very beautiful and charming...intelligent and fun.” “Thanks Siji. That is very kind of you. I will think about your proposition.” Thanks, I will be expecting your response.”

Maureen walked straight to Foluke’s room as soon as she returned to the hostel. “Siji in love with you?” “I had the hunch that he might be in love with me. Even when I was sort of seeing Donald, he made sure to chat me up and I could see the way he looked at me then,” said Maureen. “Does that mean you would date him?” “I don’t think so. This is too much drama that I don’t want; from Donald to Siji. They are friends for goodness sake and we are all classmates. I think I will say no to him.” “It is your choice Mau-mau. I will support whatever decision you make. In my opinion, apart from the fact that they are friends, I think it is too early for you to start another relationship after Donald,” Foluke suggested. “I think so too. I am not mentally ready for another relationship.”

“Would you come to my village with me this weekend?” Chidozie asked Wendy. “It is my cousin’s wedding. You will get to meet most of my relatives.” “Sure, I’d love to come,” replied Wendy. Wendy slept through most of the journey from the city of Enugu to Oji River, Chidozie’s hometown. His father’s compound was a beehive of activity when they arrived. His father and his brothers shared the same massive compound, with each of the four brothers occupying one end of the compound with their families. Uzoamaka, Chidozie’s cousin who was getting married was thrilled to see Chidozie. “This must be Wendy,” Uzoamaka said with excitement as Chidozie and Wendy walked into her room. Uzomaka was surrounded by her friends who were helping with the extensive makeup and dressing. “Yes, this is Wendy. Wendy, meet my cousin, Uzoamaka,” Chidozie introduced them. “It is a real pleasure to meet you. Congratulations on your wedding,” Wendy said. “Thank you very much for coming. Chidozie has told me so much about you.” “I hope nice things?” Wendy teased. “And some bad ones too…I am joking. He is crazy about you. I hope you are as crazy about him,” Uzoamaka pointed out. “It was hard this morning, but he managed to sign me out of the psychiatric hospital to make sure that I travelled with him for your wedding…I was receiving treatment there for my madness over him,” Wendy answered with a grin on her face.” “Hahaha!!!” Uzoamaka and her friends laughed raucously. “I like your sense of humor,” Uzomaka added. “Thanks!”

Chidozie’s parents threw a barrage of questions at Wendy. “Are you two getting married soon? We have been waiting for him to bring a girl home. My daughter, you are very beautiful. You are welcome to our family. What do you study?” “Law,” replied Wendy. “My goodness, you are going to be a lawyer? With you as a daughter in-law, my landed property will face absolutely no threat. No one would dare encroach on our lands,” Chidozie’s father enthused. Wendy nodded and smiled. She was careful not to jump to conclusions as they did. As much as she loved Chidozie a lot, she did not want to appear pushy or desperate. “Okay, Papa. Your lands are safe…they have always been safe,” Chidozie interjected. “I need to introduce you to my cousin Uchenna, Wendy,” he added as he pulled her away from his overzealous father. They walked across the compound to the building by the main gate. They walked through a hallway to the back of the house. Uchenna’s room was on the far right. Chidozie pushed the door open without knocking.

“Uche my brother,” he shouted. Uchenna walked towards the door with a smile on his face. “Chido my man!!!” He shouted. Wendy froze in her tracks. She nearly threw up. Uchenna was Donald. That never crossed her mind. Donald was called Uchenna by his family and relatives. At school, he went by his English name. Donald stopped suddenly, gaping at Wendy. “You two must know each other?” Chidozie asked with excitement. “Y-e-s…yes, we know each other,” Donald answered, stammering a bit. He had been avoiding Wendy for fear of having his pictures displayed all over campus. “Yes…yes we do,” Wendy said. She stretched her hand for a handshake. Her hand shook a little. She and Donald looked intently at each other with their eyes locked in a visual war. “You never told me your new girlfriend was my classmate,” Donald said to Chidozie. “I wanted to surprise you,” he answered. “I did not know you were Uchenna too,” said Wendy. “That is my native name.” “I see.”

“Come on, let’s join the party. From now on if any guy comes pestering you at school, Uchenna will fend them off. He will watch over you for me on campus,” Chidozie said exuberantly. “Wendy is a great girl, you have nothing to worry about,” Donald answered. ‘Everyone seems to love you Wendy. Am I not a lucky guy?” Chidozie placed his right arm around her waist. She smiled, but a raging inferno was going off in her mind. Of all the people in world? Donald had to be my lover’s cousin? She thought as they walked into the party outside. “I am coming. I have to say hi to the old man over there. He is my grandmother’s cousin. You two can chat up while I pay my respect to the old man,” Chidozie said as he meandered through human traffic towards his relative.

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