“…is more than six months Keji, don’t tell me that you still haven’t gotten my money yet? This is one of the reasons I don’t lend my money out… especially to friends because at the end they will start feeling entitled…
Dammi said after we finish exchanging pleasantries and how her honey moon went.
“I’m sorry Dammi. I supposed to have sent some money to you but something came up and I needed money urgently but not to worry by next month I will start forwarding fifty thousand. I will try not to fail until I pay off my debt to you. I really appreciate your patience Dammi and thank you for saving me when my landlady was seriously on my neck. I will pay everything I owe you gradually, starting from next month please…
“You better do Keji because is long overdue. If I didn’t remind you now you wouldn’t have even thought of it. That’s very bad of you. that is one of the reasons I don’t like helping, mostly people that claim to be a friend. They will just find a way and rob you off with pretenses of friendship…
I gasped out at the long lecture again coming from Dammi.
“That’s not true and you know it Dammi. I have never borrowed from you without paying back. Even back when you were staying at my place. Whenever we run out of groceries and I didnt have cash at hand I will ask you to lend me if you have and within short period I will return it back without you asking me for it. The only delay I had this period was I had other expenses that came up and I needed to settle them. I thought since you aren’t in need of the money right away let me settle other bills first. I’m sorry anyway…
I really felt bad that Dammi had to ask me for her money. I never wanted her to remind me of it. I planned paying her all without her asking but it didn’t go as planned.
Dammi’s money saved me from further embarrassments from my landlady and we had agreement that once I start working I will start paying my debt and I failed in that aspect.
A deal is a deal. I agreed to her terms and promised to pay up but I failed.
I can’t justify my wrongs no matter how I try to paint it.
If it was from the bank I received the loan they wouldn’t want to hear stories when is payment time.
I know Dammi is always uptight with money and throws shades wrongly at me. I deserve whatever she says.
I will pay up her two hundred thousand plus the fifty percentage on it. totalled two hundred and fifty thousand Naira.
By God’s grace I will be free from debt in five months from now.
That is more reason why I need to take this job serious and work hard.
After paying debt I need to start saving up for myself.
No matter how the devil tries, Ijeoma can not come in the way of my job.
I won’t let her dismiss me from this job that I love and value so much.
Making my own money gives me a sense of belonging and pride like a peacock.
I don’t have to depend on any man to foot my bills.
I’m doing it with pride and happiness and nothing will come in the way of my happiness.
I continued greetings Ijeoma and even shorten her name to “Ij” like i heard Stella calls her.
She wasn’t replying at first but got tired of keeping malice and began to reply slowly.
I worked so hard, even after everyone retired for the night I stay up mobbing and cleaning the kitchen and washing every utensils and pots.
As I collected my full salary, I sent 50k to Dammi.
I know I still have four more months to go but with full determination every debt will be cleared.
I continued working hard
Mrs Kanu met me cleaning the kitchen one evening after everyone is off to bed and commended my efforts.
“Wow… you are really doing great I must say. Please don’t over work yourself. go to bed, tomorrow you and your other colleagues will join hands and do it together, is far easy that way than you alone cleaning this big kitchen…
She said concerned
“Is nothing Mum. Instead of staying up in my quarters and doing nothing I decided to quickly clean up everywhere. Ones I’m done with this I will be through for today.
She smiled and gently pat my shoulder.
“I like you Keji. You are smart, beautiful and hardworking. Those are one the things I admire in young ladies. Weldon my dear. please whenever you are done, do me a favor. Please, hit up the coffee pot and carry it to my husband… he’s in the library and will appreciate a black coffee.
I nodded obediently.
After she left, I did what she asked of me and carried it to her husband who was very pleased.
I even had a little chat with him for the very first time and I realized he was very jovial and friendly.
“Do you read? He asked me.
“Not really sir, I do but that’s long time ago. Life gets busy and reading does not cross my mind anymore.
He smiled and I can tell where Philip got his good looks from. They share a striking resemblance.
“Readers are leaders you know. Create time out of your little and cultivate the habit of reading atleast a page or two everyday. It helps a lot. All this books you see here, I have read it cover to cover and rereading again. I used to be a professor back then but I won’t credit my reading habits to that. My father engaged my mind and made me to love reading even at a tender age. My son is trying but he is always occupied with so many life activities. The only person that takes after me is my last daughter… she is studying outside the country and enjoys reading. I love seen young people doing exploit and spending more time with both motivational, business and inspirational books. You will be surprised of how reading can transform your mind and orientation. My wife is not fully in yet but she is doing great…and I must commend her for that. By the way… thanks for the coffee… what is your name again?
“Keji….my name is Keji sir.
I replied took a slow bow and turned to leave.
He was browsing through the book shelfs, probably looking for something
“Wait.. Keji. Go and start with this book. Empty Promises. There are certain mistake young ladies like you can avoid in life. There are a lot of cone, play boys outside in disguise. ladies can easily fall prey to them especially desperate women. But that can be avoided if you are focused, have the fear of God and your self worth. This novel is quiet intriguing. Written by one of the best writer of our time Amah’s Heart. I was in my first year in the university when I bought this book. I enjoyed the captivating novel and will love you to have it. Have you heard of Amah?
He asked me.
“No sir…I haven’t. This is my first time of hearing her name.
“Well, that’s understandable. Atleast you have now. Well, She is a granmah with so many grandchildren all around the globe. Amah is a very old woman now. during my youthful days she was a vibrant writer. Aside Amah, I have different writers collection. Great authors and researchers. Keji, I want you to enjoy reading which is why I recommend a novel first. Gradually, with time you will migrate to something bigger. Have fun while reading and let me know if you need more…
He handed a book to me and I thanked him very well before leaving.
I was going through the prologue while walking down the stairs when I ran into Philip who was just coming back.
He probably went to see Amara because I haven’t seen in for like two days.
“Good evening Phil. How was your day….?
“Hey Keji… very well. What is that…?
He pointed at the book in my hand.
“Is your Dad’s. He asked me to go and read it. It seems interesting though, I can tell by reading the prologue…
“Don’t let my Dad bore you with his ideas about books and reading. he has over thousands in his library. Dad loves books and can spend his last penny shopping for all sorts of books. He even values books as gift to him more than any other thing. That’s why his last birthday cake was designed in form of book.
I laughed out while he smiled as he walked pass me.
He suddenly stopped.
“Why are you still up… that’s unlike you.
“Tidying up the kitchen kept me busy Phil but I’m going to bed right away. Do you need me to fix something for you…?
“No, I’m fine. I will take a cool shower before hitting my bed. I’m really tired…
He turned and took a step
“How’s Amara and the wedding plans going?
I watched him pause to look at me. From my eyes down to my lips then back at my eyes.
“Is going on well and Amara is fine. She told me that you are included in her train… that’s great. You must have done something special for her to like you because Amara is very picky when it comes to friends..
I smiled and before I will say congratulations he was several feet away from me.
…. goodnight Keji.
That’s all he said as he walks away.
I heaped a disappointment sigh and was about to leave but he startled me.
“Hey Keji, please I will like a plate of fruit salad. Leave it on the dining table whenever you are done. I will come down for it.
I nodded and quickly went to prepare a fruit salad for him.
I dropped it on the dining like he said.
I went back to the kitchen, picked up my book, make sure everything is in place before leaving.
As I was leaving, I noticed the plate of fruit salad was still on the dining.
Phil probably slept off and forgot. Maybe I should take it to his room.
Maybe is not a good idea.
There is no harm in taking the salad to him or is there?
I knocked on his door and he opened and saw the tray of salad in my hand.
Philip was on white towel, I guess he was just coming out of the bathroom.
He gave way for me to enter and drop the tray on the table.
I moved his fragile apple laptop aside and several other things like jotting pad, two hardcover books and a pen before dropping the tray.
“I was going to come down to get it but thanks for bringing it up to me.
He was still standing by the door.
I nodded, trying to avoid looking more than I should.
Letting go of my feeling for him was one of the hardest thing to do.
I can’t deny the fact that I still want him but he belongs to another woman and even aside that Philip have not really shown interest in me.
I’m not totally off him. Seeing him in this manner makes me to start imagining all sorts of thing.
I turned to leave but he stopped me.
He stammered before gently drawing me into his cool shirtless body.
At first I wasn’t thinking right any more while in his arm.
I can feel his heart beat racing fast. Mine was on a high speed.
He kissed me and I didn’t want to respond but I fell without a second thought.
He was gentle and his touch rouse every fiber of my body.
I kissed him back and when I thought the going was good he suddenly stopped and took a step away from me.
I wished he didn’t stop but he has this puzzled face when he looks at me.
“I’m sorry Keji… I didn’t mean to…to..uhmmm. This is rea..lly..crazy. I will take my fruit salad now. Thanks and… Good night…
He said and opened the door for me to leave.
I was speechless and walked out.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I kept playing the scene continuesly on my head.
I couldn’t even resist him and walk out for the sake of Amarachi his woman.
I fell without even trying to stop him.
I felt ashamed of myself.
How will I even face Amara, a lady who was very nice to me.
If I know I could have left the salad on the table like he wanted without taking it to him.
Maybe it was my interior motive that pushed me into going to his room with his request.
Guilt and shame bear down on me heavily.
And the worst part is he was the one that stopped the kiss before asking me to leave his room.
If he hasn’t stopped it, probably I wouldn’t have had the strength to stop him from whatever he wishes to do with my body.
He asked me to leave. He played it as if nothing even happened. Like my feeling doesn’t count.
Tha is the worst humiliation ever.
I managed to continue my duty the following day.
I avoid looking at him when I saw him in the morning.
He was a good actor and pretend like nothing happened too.
It was supposed to make me feel better but I felt worst with myself and wanted to disappear into ant hole to avoid seeing him.
He met me setting up the table for lunch after three days and approached me.
“Keji… I’m sorry about the other night in my room. It was my fault though…I take full blame for that. But let’s pretend like nothing really happened and put it behind us….can you do that?
I gasped out with a nod still without saying anything.
He took his car keys and left without another word.
After few days, Amara called me to start coming.
She said Mrs Kanu and Philip is already aware, so I won’t have anything to worry about.
I quickly got ready and informed Mrs Kanu again.
I told Stella and tried all I could to avoid Philip for the rest of the remaining days before I travel.
Amara has already booked my flight ticket.
But there is something that I still don’t understand. Since Amara and Philip will be getting married in less than three weeks why is everywhere and everyone quiet about it.
No sort of wedding arrangements in the house.
They probably have their own way of doing things.
my opinion and thought doesn’t count.
I later picked few clothes, packed into a small traveling bag, I also added my novel by Amah. A special gift from Mr Kanu himself.
I put few things that I needed before leaving.
It was three hours journey. I had time to start with the novel.
It will indeed be a good distraction.
When I arrived at the airport, a driver assigned to me was waiting to pick me up.
Amara was very delighted to see me. She hugged me tight immediately she saw me.
She introduced me to her other squad and the whole place was lively and warm.
I was meant to spend two weeks.
It will be a good time to forget about the incident with Philip.
I’m glad it was only a kiss and nothing more. Although I felt guilty even with that but with the special way Amara treated me I quickly settled in.
Just like what Philip said, the kiss will remain just between us.
We went shopping and even did bridal shower photoshoot.
I was having lots of fun. I met one of her elder brother’s friend who happens to be a Yoruba guy.
Bayo was very fun to be with.
He picked so much interest in me and I hate to say that I liked him too.
Probably with him around I will get to remove Philip from every picture in my head.
Bayo is funny, good looking and charming.
He told me little bit about himself and how he gets to become friends with Nnana, Amarachi’s elder brother who was in a serious relationship too.
I was having massive fun and within few days I felt like I have known Bayo all my life.
We talk on phone and I can tell he was a total different guy from Kunle.
A Yoruba demon ready to spoil me with love and care
I like him, a whole lot and always looking out for his call or presence.
I noticed Amara is mostly on call with a guy she calls “Nunu” she sometimes do video call and we even get to introduce ourselves to him from the video call.
The guy wasn’t Philip and the confusing part is they usually end their call with “I love you”
Philip supposed to be the one getting married to Amara or am I missing something?
Few days to the wedding I realized that Nunu is the main man getting married to Amara and not Philip like everyone thought back home.
His real name is Nonso but Amara calls him Nunu. They both met abroad and fell for each other before agreeing to get married.
Why was Philip cool with it and never mentioned anything about it.
It was Ijeoma that put the whole idea of Philip getting married to Amara in my head.
I really don’t know what to think but is really none of my business who she gets married to.
Bayo was getting into my head and Philip was fading off.
I even get to share a kiss with Bayo in his lovely car.
Everything is happening so fast but I love the way Bayo makes me feel.
Two days to the wedding, I was surprised to get a call from Philip asking me how I was coping over there.
“We all miss your pretty, smily face around here though. I just called to know how you are fairing. We will be traveling down tomorrow for the wedding…I will get to see you again. Take care Keji…
I didn’t flow with him but I assured him that I was alright and well taken care off.
After his call, Bayo’s call came in.
I relaxed back in my hotel room and talk extensively. Laughing so loud and acting like we have known for a decade.
I don’t want anything to bother me at all.
This compulsory holiday that they gave me was well maximized. Is exactly what I needed and I will leave no stone unturned.
The question that occupied my mind is “who is Amara to Phil?