Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - too late for a business meeting, to get his people to open at their bank, most recent session of retail therapy, The sound of her phone ringing startled her, continued browsing on the internet, to make some Indomie chicken noodles, “Don’t Break What’s Left Of My Heart” by Banky W, Valentine’s Day and he had come with flowers.
That night, she'd driven home trying not to think of what she had seen. He'd sounded so guilty, “Ijeoma I can explain…”
Explain what? She'd thought over and over again. It was too late for a business meeting so she knew Bola was not at his house with regard to the accounts they’ve been trying to get his people to open at their bank. It could not be that Bola was out to sabotage Nedu and her. She’d been encouraging right from the first time they discussed him. She tried to understand what had happened that night again, Bola's attitude to her, the guilty look on his face.
It just didn't add up. And to think she'd driven over there to declare her willingness to fully commit to the relationship. Ijeoma shook her head and hissed. She'd expected him to call the next day but it hadn't happened. More than a week later, no calls, no messages, nothing!
The sound of her ringtone brought her back...5:27am…who could be calling this early on a Saturday morning? She looked at the phone, no caller ID, strange! She decided to pick it up, she was tired of hearing herself think, and anybody’s voice would help her right then.
“Hello, who’s this...speaking…? Are you kidding me…I cannot believe this, you called me, so you still remember me… WOW! When? Are you serious?” After almost an hour on the phone, she finally said bye, but not without a number. She quickly added the number to her contact and added the PIN on her blackberry messenger.
She was still learning how to use the phone; she'd got it at her most recent session of retail therapy two days ago, not that it had helped her. Feeling really pumped, she called Tochi.
“You’ll never believe who just called me...Oh! I’m so sorry, I forgot it was so early. I shouldn't have called…anyways, guess who called me...no…no…no…I’ll tell you when you come later today…I’ll make breakfast…no I won’t tell you, not until you come…just go back to sleep…my fault! Sorry for disturbing you and TJ…yeah! Yeah! Bye…I said bye… when you come I’ll tell you.”
“Girl, you’re fast o…you like gist too much shaaa! I didn't think you would show up till like 9-10 am...”
“You offered me the perfect combination…gist and food…how could I waste time on that? I discharged TJ with cereals and here I am.” Tochi flopped down on the settee.
“I never shower and food never ready finish…shey you fit help me look after am? Make I go brush.”
“You remember that time in school when I had this mad crush on Dapo? The one with the fine jaded sister that all the guys were trying to get with…I mean Dapo Smith.”
“Don’t tell me you woke me up, made me rush to your place, all for one stale gist. The guy dumped you after chasing you madly for two months. He left for the States and didn’t even tell you and that was what? Two, three years ago?”
“I know…I know…”
“So where's the gist?”
“His sister called and I spoke to him...he's coming back this month and he wants to meet…can you imagine?” Ijeoma launched into full details. Tochi asked her what she was doing awake when she got the call and Ijeoma told her about the dreams.
But with the excitement of hearing from Dapo after all these years, the conversation moved back to him, to their school adventures and flings. Tochi made a note of not asking or reminding her about Nnamdi, knowing that Ijeoma would talk in her own time. Maybe the distraction of an old flame was just what the doctor ordered for Ijeoma. The dreams showed she'd been fretting about the situation with Nnamdi. The day after the botched trip, Tochi had pressed Ijeoma for details but her friend's reaction had cut the discussion short.
Tochi had seen Nnamdi earlier this week and he too hadn’t said anything about it, it was like that night never happened but it had been less than a week! She knew Ijeoma really liked Nnamdi and he felt the same. She considered herself their fairy godmother and would make sure they gave this a real try.
Maybe with Dapo coming back, she would find a way of telling Nnamdi about his competition. Nothing like jealousy to make the sparks fly. Hmm...April wasn’t so far again!
“Some people jealous me, some people jealous me...” Bola sang as Ijeoma walked into the Ladies Room. They had both been avoiding each other at work and so far, there had been no confrontation.
Ijeoma blanked Bola and acted like there was no one else in the toilet as she freshened up. It was already almost six and time for her date. Thinking about the date gave her the strength to totally ignore Bola but it also brought thoughts of Nnamdi to the forefront of her mind. She had tried to stop thinking about Nnamdi since she’d spoken to Dapo and his sister but it had been impossible. She just couldn’t stop thinking about him.
“Well, all that will end now,” she whispered to herself. Bola stopped in her tracks as she walked out of the toilet and turned to Ijeoma.
“What did you say? Were you talking to me?” she asked. Ijeoma pretended not to hear her, finished applying her lip gloss and brushed past on the way out.
“Nothing, nothing whatsoever will spoil my joy this evening,” she kept saying in her head. The sound of her phone ringing startled her. Ijeoma picked it up expecting to see another caller id but instead she saw Tochi’s name on the screen. She was slightly irritated that it wasn't the number she was expecting but she took the call.
“Ah ah, are we fighting? You can’t even say hello; all you’re saying is “uhum”?”
“Sorry jare, just that it should be Dapo’s sister calling me. It’s almost six thirty and she said she would be here by six, what do you think could be wrong?”
“Hehehehe haba babe, take am easy o, someone will think it’s even a guy you have a date with, they won’t know it’s his sister. Anyway sha, I assumed she would have come so I called to know where you guys decided on, you know I too like gist.”
“Gist monger!” Both girls laughed. “I will call you after I see her. At least make she first show cos me I dey hungry o. I go just vex go house...”
“Hahaha girl, why you dey deceive yourself? We both know you won’t leave there, so sit your butt down and wait for her. Talk to you soon. Take care and have fun.”
Tochi hung up and Ijeoma continued browsing on the internet, all in a bid to while away time. Her mind began to drift and she recalled how excited she’d been when Dapo’s sister told her she would be coming to Ijeoma’s neighbourhood to pick up a delivery from someone. She had further said it would be nice to hang out and Ijeoma had said yes immediately. Dapo’s sister had joyously said, “so it’s a date! Cool.”
Ijeoma wanted to hear all about Dapo. She was already anticipating his arrival. She was not sure how he would react to her, so seeing Dapo’s sister would give her a heads-up on the situation. Now she could not help but think it might have been a test, maybe she’d been too hasty in her answer and had seemed desperate.
Well the deed had been done and she just had to live with it. The truth was that she needed some distraction. On her own, she would think too much and the issue of Nnamdi would crop up if she hung out with Tochi. She surely didn't want that. Ijeoma looked at her wristwatch; it was a quarter to seven already.
She made a mental note to leave the office at 7:00p.m. “Some things are not just meant to be,” she told herself. She decided to try Dapo’s sister’s number one more time. She had been trying it for over an hour now and it was switched off. She tried it again and got the same response, it was now a minute after seven. She was livid. She grabbed her bag and left the office. As soon as she got home, she went straight to the kitchen to make some Indomie chicken noodles.
That was the fastest meal she could think of and she had barely eaten all day due to the excitement of the date with Dapo’s sister.
“Don’t Break What’s Left Of My Heart” by Banky W. was playing on the television. She just smiled. She remembered Dapo singing that same song to her years ago. She asked herself now why she had never dated him but couldn’t find an answer. Her younger self had been playing hard to get unnecessarily. The last memory she had of Dapo was of him walking out of her room. He had come to beg her that day as usual and she had once again said no to him. It was Valentine’s Day and he had come with flowers, jewellery, a teddy bear and chocolates.
She remembered the look in his eyes and the unspoken words they relayed. A familiar smell drew her out of her reverie.
She jumped off the kitchen stool and took the lid off the pot. The noodles were burnt to the bottom of the pan. She just went to bed.
Her phone rang, it was Tochi. Ijeoma couldn’t bear talking to her now as she felt like crying. She put her phone in silent mode and shut her eyes. Sleep proved difficult, and when she finally drifted off, the recurring dream came back. This time, she looked right into the eyes of her mystery man.
CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 10
Ikpo Henry Chigozirim
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