Ahunli: “What do you mean by that?”
Francis: “I said I don’t mind that you are pregnant for another man. If he rejected the baby, I am ready to take responsibility for it if you will let me. Having a baby is not something to be so sad about. It is a thing to be thankful to God for” he said to Ahunli’s surprise.
I felt proud of myself over what he just said. I was someone to be joyful about and not an abomination anyway. My invisible lips curled in a smile.
Ahunli: “Francis…I know you are sweet and kind but this is beyond you. This is not a decision you can make at the blink of an eye like that. And besides I don’t think I am really interested. You are only like this because I haven’t given you my heart yet, that’s how men behave”
Francis: “No dear. I am a man and I know what I want. What I want is you and anything that has to do with you even if it’s a baby. Like I said I have loved you from afar for too long now and I cannot stand by and watch some other guy ill-treat you like that. Please accept my sincere heart dear, and trust me, I have no wrong intentions towards you, all men are not the same, you know”
By now he had already diverted to the dusty road which was just a few km away from her apartment. She heard the desperation in his voice and somehow her heart reached out to him. She felt pity for him because her heart had entirely been given to another guy and marrying him will only make him go through hell on earth.
Ahunli: “Drop me here now please. My house is just two houses away. I will trek the remaining distance” she said, looking away from him.
Francis: “Okay!” he said, parked by the road side and killed the engine.
Ahunli: “Thanks dear. You will be late for work if you don’t hurry back now. There might be traffic on the road already” she said, opened the door and just as she was about to step out, he held her back.
Francis: “Please think about all I have just said. Think about my proposal again okay? I know you’d be needing some time to deliberate on it but don’t waste time. The baby bump will soon start showing and I don’t want people thinking the wrong stuffs about you, yeah, I care that much about you” he said and let go of her hand reluctantly.
Ahunli: “Thanks a lot. I will think about it” she replied and waved at him as he drove off.
Not even talking to Francis made her feel better. It made her feel worst in fact. She could not understand why she found it difficult falling in love with good guys. She always fell for the bad ones except that they always reciprocated her love unlike Olamide. She found it difficult to accept the fact that he actually didn’t love her. As she laid on her bed, she wasn’t thinking about Francis’ proposal, she was thinking of how to get Olamide to accept her and me of course.
In the womb, I was the one thinking of Francis, his proposal seemed to me like the best. I trusted him with me more than I trusted me with my dad. I wanted my mum to agree to his proposal but her thoughts were far from him, they were focused so much on dad I felt like kicking her out of her wonderland. Wished I was a spirit so I could go report her to all the authorities in the world to talk sense into her. But there I was, trapped and helpless, feeling (not watching) as things unfolded.
When she resumed work the next week, seeing him made her remember all about their discussion that morning and she felt guilty since she hadn’t given even single thought to it like she said she would. She avoided him like plague in the office and even at the café during lunch breaks. She just didn’t know what to tell him her answer was. He must have noticed how uncomfortable she was when she saw him and left the café immediately she entered with Alexis on her heel. He mumbled a hello to them as he passed them by without even looking up.
The eagle eyed Alexis noticed their discomfort at each other’s presence and pranced on her friend with questions as soon as they took their seat at the only empty table beside the window. From there they would be the first to see whoever was coming in and they were the first to be sighted. Many people avoided sitting there because of the attentions its occupants got from those trying to stare out the window to those just curious to know who sat there.
Alexis: “Hey girl! I noticed the way Francis just looked at you now and how uncomfortable you were like you two are trying to avoid each other. Did something happen between you two?” she asked showing a wide-eyed interest.
Ahunli: “Nothing happened” she replied and sipped her coffee.
Alexis: “You are not even a good liar, believe me. What happened between you two my friend” her voice rose calling the attentions of people around.
Ahunli: “Lower your voice na. I don’t want more attention than we already have. Please let the sleeping dogs lie”
Alexis: “okay okay. So tell me what is going on jor.” She lowered her voice indeed, Alexis was not one to be shut down that easily, especially when she was interested in a particular issue.
Ahunli: “I ran into him that morning on my way from your place” she said and lowered her gaze to the coffee cup on the table.
Ahunli: “He gave me a lift home and kinda wooed me so in a bid to deter him from his misplaced affection, I told him I was pregnant for another man and he rejected the pregnancy”
Alexis: “Wow! That huge. Then what did he say to that? I guess that is why he is acting this way?”
Ahunli: “No that’s not why. Actually he asked me to marry him regardless”
Alexis: “Wow! Can you come again please?”
Ahunli: “Yeah you heard me right”
Alexis: “Jeez! You are one lucky lady mehn! His admirers in this office will murder you I swear” She was totally mulled over by what she just heard thinking her friend had agreed.
Ahunli: “There is nothing to be lucky about here. In fact I am the most unfortunate lady in the world”
Alexis: “Why did you say that? Don’t tell me you turned him down?”
Ahunli: “Not outrightly, I told him I was going to think about it but to be sincere I cannot marry him. I cannot give Olami’s baby to another man. I’d rather remain single for the rest of my life or wait until the child has grown to a considerable age before I do that. Come to think of it, I actually got myself into this mess because I wanted to use this baby to get Olami’s love, I thought this would cement our love”
Alexis: “You are still courting the thoughts of going back to that jerk aren’t you? Is he the reason you will let go of this golden opportunity to be with a true man who actually loves you to a fault?” Alexis was finding it difficult to believe the way Ahunli thought and behaved.
Ahunli: “I don’t know but one thing I know for sure is that I don’t want any other man in my life. I really don’t babez. I can’t live with a man when my heart longs for another. Think about it na”
Alexis: “There is nothing to think about here. It is your dignity we are trying to save here and to secure the future of your baby. Do you know how it feels growing up without a dad? For children, it can be traumatizing. Don’t make yours go through that please. I have no doubt that Francis is going to be good to the two of you. For a man to decide to do this for you, you should know how much he is willing to sacrifice for you and that is the kind of man we all pray for”
Ahunli: “I know”
Alexis: “Thank God you know”
Two weeks later after much deliberations and giving herself reasons why she is better off with Francis than the man she fell in love with, she was able to gather little bits of her heart together again and was ready to take a bold step into the uncertain future. She called Francis to meet her at Wine and Food restaurant where
they sold all sorts of assorted food and wine at Airforce base. By the time she got there, he was already seated at the centre of the restaurant waiting for her over a glass of red wine. She walked over to him smiling.
Ahunli: “Hope I did not keep you waiting for too long?” she said as she took her seat opposite him.
Francis: “Not at all. I just arrived myself. How are you? It’s been quite a while. Hope you are good?”
Ahunli: “Yes I am good. I asked you to see me because I have a reply ready as per your proposal now. I am sorry it took me so long” she paused.
Francis: “Its fine. I’m glad you are here at last. So…”
Ahunli: “So I have decided that I’d marry…” her eyes involuntarily darted to the entrance of the restaurant and who she saw walking over to their table almost made her lose her breath. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed.
Francis: “What’s wrong?”
Before she could say a word, Olamide had already gotten to their table and towered over the two of them.
Olamide: “Come with me right away” he said in a commanding tone and grabbed her wrist.
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