Emeka is pacing the length of the hospital.
”Relax Emeka, you doing that won’t make the doctor work any faster, relax!!!” Tayo watches Emeka.
But he doesn’t stop.
Tayo walks to him ”Emeka, stop, pacing, relax”
Olive walks out of the room and comes to them, Grace is by the corner quiet.
”Are you okay?” Emeka turns to Olive as he hugs her she nods wiping her nose.
”Look Olive, I am sorry, I was stupid, I shouldn’t have put you in harm’s way, put none of you in harm’s way. I am sorry, to you too Tayo for not listening. I shouldn’t have allowed my pain move me to do the unthinkable, I shouldn’t have. You both are important to me and I am sorry, forgive me ”
Olive shakes her head ”It’s okay Emeka, at least we weren’t harmed, but your father, Diana?”
His heart pulls ”I know I know… I -” he chokes trailing off.
Tayo grabs his shoulders ”have a little faith Emeka, a little faith”
As Tayo and Olive go to get coffee, Emeka moves to seat next to Grace, she doesn’t turn.
”I know you hate me for what I did to Diana, I hate myself more, I am sorry for putting you in harm’s way and I know –”
”You don’t have to apologise to me Emeka, you don’t, it’s her you need to apologise to, not me”‘
”What if she doesn’t make it Diana, what if… she doesn’t, what if I lost her this time forever?”
She turns to him, staring at him, she really looks at him, searching his eyes, understanding ”Why did you do this if you felt this way still?”‘
”Because pain, because anger, because ego, because revenge was all I could think about and yet look at what my stupidty caused, my father, her, my mother, the people I love and they were the ones that were hurt , they were all affected, but this, it wasn’t my intent Grace, it wasn’t my intent to even put you, any of you in arms way, I am sorry. If something had happened to you how would I have been able to explain to junior how you died?”
”Thank God Diana called the police before coming back out, thank God she did, she took a bullet for you Emeka, she took a bullet for you! No one would do that for you unless they love you. She loves you Emeka, if that isn’t prove enough I don’t know what is”
”I know Grace, I know, and I felt an overpowering wave of guilt, I wanted to hurt her, but she is the one who is almost at the verge of death, I don’t know how to forgive myself for this, if she dies I don’t know what I would do”.
”Then pray she doesn’t, pray you get to tell her what you already know you feel and isn’t going away”
”What is that?”
”I think you and I know that you cannot hide that emotion behind your eyes from everyone, you can lie to everyone but not yourself Emeka, all this must have been planned and it turned sour, but I think what you didn’t plan to happen was to have that same feelings you had for her still, to resurface, that pain in your eyes isn’t a lie Emeka. I hope you are able to let it all come forth, for your sake, you claimed to have a hardened heart but all I see is a soft heart Emeka, and Teco said it correctly, your heart is featherlight… there is pain and sorrow, there is hurt, but there is also love, and maybe even in your hate for her, for your father, there was a softness for your father, there was a place in your heart for him and it wasn’t all hate, and your mother has another large portion of that heart, but do you know who owns the rest… it was never Olive, it wasn’t other women, it was Diana, it has always been Diana, and I see it in your eyes right now, and if she does ever make it alive, I hope you are able to tell her the truth… for your sake because you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself because this time, this time you were the one who pushed her away.” Grace says getting up and walking away.
”You know she is right Emeka?” Tayo pushes a cup of coffee to his face
Emeka doesn’t answer as he stares into the cup, closing his eyes as he lets the tears fall to the floor.
***TWO HOURS LATER ****
Tammy walks to them ”Sir! The money has been sent to the office, Agnes would handle it, Mama Tito brought food for everyone to eat so..” he trials off
”Thank you Tammy, I am truly sorry about-”
”You keep apologising Sir, it’s okay” He chuckles ” so, who is hungry?”
‘Me, I am starving ”Tayo says ”you hungry bro, we have been here for hours, eat something”
”Not until I hear something from the doctors, something positive” Emeka breathes.
****TEN HOURS LATER*****
”Your mother is coming to Sir” the doctor says ” she was sedated to put her out of shock but she has come to, you can go see her now”.
”And Diana, Ambross?”
”She is still in surgery, the bullet needs to be removed, it barely missed her heart, and we have to be careful. She is lucky to still be breathing”
”But, it would be successful?”
”Sir, we are doing all we can” He reassures Emeka.
”And Ambross, you not saying anything about him?”
”When he was brought in he was barely alive. I am sorry but he is in a coma, and we cannot do anything much for him unless he comes out from it, he is on life support. But he is being monitored, but you do know that it is a fifty/fifty chance of him surviving this or not. He lost a lot of blood, his heart stopped when he got here, we had to resuscitate him with bolts of shock to the heart, he may not survive this because he slipped into a comma immediately, we only hope for the best, for now, you can see your mother, she is asking for you”‘.
Emeka runs his hands over his head as he follows him to his mother’s private room.
Tayo goes to Grace as she hugs herself, praying silently ”Are you okay, I am sorry about your friend” he says seating down beside her.
She wipes her tears ”She will be fine, I know she will be”‘
”I pray so, Emeka wouldn’t forgive himself for putting her in harm’s way”
”But you didn’t talk him out of it”
”Believe me, I tried!”
”You know the truth don’t you, about how he really feels?”
”I suspected after it all, I did”
Grace sighs ”She will be fine, all will be well I hope”
Emeka rushes to her as she made to seat up on the bed, he helps her, putting a pillow behind her as he sits on the bed, his head bowed, his hands in hers.
”Emeka–” Mercy began
”I am sorry!” he places his head in her hands, ”I am sorry Mama, I am so sorry !!” he buried his face there and cried.
She places her hand on his head and pulls him up to rest on her b—m ”A mother’s heart is hurt, it’s broken, but a mother cannot cast away someone she loves even though he hurt her, we sin every day and have come short of the glory of God and if God was a man he would have cut us off since and left us to perish, but what does he do? he forgives us on a daily, blesses us, and gives us access to his love. And that is the value I instill in you everyday. I know if you could change the hands of time you would wish you could go back before today and make a better decision?”
He nods ”Yes mama, I wish I could, I wish I never thought this evil thing in my heart”‘
”Now you know your wrongs, your errors, and what God wants, is for you to change it, make amends, to forgive, to let go and make amends ”
”But Mama, I don’t know how to, I don’t know how to amend what I have broken. I have broken it to pieces that I am afraid glue won’t fix it , nothing can fix a broken heart Mama, nothing could fix mine, it cannot be fixed Mama, and I don’t know what to do”.
She raises up his head understanding what he was saying, for the first time she understood all he used to say, those time he mumbled to himself when he spoke about his pain ..
”My son, it can be mended, time heals all wounds, your wound refused to heal because instead of closing it you drilled it with hate and anger and covered it with revenge. Now, instead of drilling in more hate, why don’t you cover it with something else, that thing that you buried within it, with love Emeka. It’s buried within you, fill it with love, and love fixes it all, bears it all, forgives it all, covers it all, glues all Emeka, it would glue back all the broken pieces of your heart, of her heart and make it one. Only love can mend what is broken, only love Emeka. God is love, God understood the power of love, a man to a woman, a child to his mother, a father to his son, a friend to a friend… love cuts across it all, it’s universal and not separated by race, religion or borders, it is the purpose of which we were created for, to love and be loved Emeka, to love our neighbours as ourselves, to love God, to love our own. Love is the glue you need and you don’t need to search for it because it is there, in your heart” she touches his chest ”and all you were doing was trying to cover it, don’t! I see it, I see it all Emeka, and for the first time, I will tell you Emeka, that Diana Nkenchior isn’t the same woman you met years ago, as you are not the same man she met years ago… love changes all”
He kisses his mother’s hands ”I lost her Mama, I have, for the second time and it’s all my fault now”‘
”You never lost what you never had Emeka, you didn’t have her before, she wasn’t yours. But now, she has given you her heart, but you haven’t accepted her yet, you loved her then, she didn’t love you. She loves you now, you rejected. You don’t lose what you never had, you only let go when you do have her Emeka, and you will not let her go because Emeka, what is in here” she pokes his chest again ” is more powerful than what you have up there” she touches his temple.
Emeka rests his head on her b—m; she wipes his tears as it wets her chest ”Mama, father– ” he trails off
”I know, the doctor told me, whatever is God’s will, until then, I pray for his recovery”
”Me too Mama, me too!!”.
****TWENTY-THREE HOURS LATER****
”She is out of surgery, she would be sedated for a few hours,” the doctor tells them as they sigh in relief
”Thank you doctor!!” Emeka was relieved; she was out of danger, that was all that matters.
”Go home Emeka, come back later, she is fine, she just needs rest”‘
”No I am not leaving here”
”Go home, I will stay with her “‘ Grace says ”Doctor, I will wait”
”I think you need to go rest, have a shower, eat! Come, let’s go, you can be back later, you didn’t sleep a wink all yesterday” Olive comes to him
”But I am fine, I just want to-”
”Émeka, go home, she won’t be awake for a few more hours at least” Tayo joins in.
Reluctantly he follows Olive as they leave the hospital; Tayo and Tammy leave too, Grace stays back after calling her nanny to make sure her son was alright.
Mama Tito is with Mercy, she would be discharge in a few hours.
*Another Nine Hour’s Pass*
Nine hours later, someone nudges her awake, Grace opens her eyes to see a nurse staring down at her ”she is awake, she is asking for you”‘
Grace thanks her going to Diana’s private room paid for by Emeka, she shuts the door behind her ”Hey Dee, I swear even in a hospital bed, you look amazing, I am envious!!” she seats on the bed.
Diana manages a smile removing the mask from her nose, her voice barely a whisper ”For a friend, you sU-Ck at lying” she says wincing in pain, she tries to shift further up.
”Hey, Hey relax Dee, don’t be too eager to get up” Grace helps her.
”I just need to stay up”‘
Grace is beside her and helps her again ”you really were stupid to jump in front of a bullet, what were you thinking, you would have died “‘
”I wasn’t thinking, and what was I supposed to do? Watch him kill Emeka, even if he doesn’t love me, I do love him, I rather die than see him hurt”‘
Grace wipes her eyes as it pools ”Anyways, you only think of man, man and man, what about me? I thought we were best-friends, what about junior? I thought he was your Godson, you just planned to leave us all?”
Diana shakes her head slowly ”Do you know the craziest thing? I would do it again in a heart bit”
Grace stares at her ”Then I would wake you up and kill you myself for being stupid, no one has done what you did”
”No one has suddenly loved this man like I do, and I don’t care to take a thousand bullets to right all my wrongs, to save the man I love”
Grace sighs ”You are always stubborn” she wipes her tears.
Diana manages a smile ”You hate me?”‘
”I hated the other Diana, I love this one, but she is stupid and she shouldn’t play the hero again”
”For him Grace, I will again”
Grace sighs ”I thought you actually left with the money and when you got shot, I wished you… you had embraced those qualities and ran with the money, I thought you were going to die and-” she sniffs.
”Hey, it’s okay, I am here, don’t worry you won’t be eating my burial Jellof rice anytime soon, I still got a few good years on you woman, so you are stuck with me”‘
Grace laughs throwing her hands around her and sq££zes her.
”Owww!!” Diana exclaims.
”Oh I am sorry!” Grace releases ”I am glad you are Okay”
“Ambross, Emeka’s father?”
”In a coma”
Diana sighs sadly ”Mama? ”
”She is okay’!’
She nods thankfully ”The lawyer, the friend, Mama Tito?”.
Grace smiles ”They are okay”.
”Really Diana ?” Grace was surpised.
”She is shaken, but okay”
”Okay” Diana says, looking at her hands.
”You won’t ask of Emeka?”
”I know he is fine, and I know she would take care of him, she is a good girl”
”You know nothing Diana”
A knock on the door draws their attention away, Mama Tito pushes her head inside and walks to them ”I came to check on you, I hope you are okay?” she says touching Diana’s hand, a woman who could risk her life for a man, maybe she wasn’t so bad after all, she smiles at Diana.
”I am fine Mama Tito, thank you”
She nods ”Mama want’s to see you”‘
Grace stands up from the bed ”I will wait outside”‘
Mama Tito and Grace leaves, Mercy is wheeled into the room by a nurse and leaves, Mercy wheels herself to Diana’s side.
”Mama, should you be out of the bed? They said you had partial paralysis because of the shock and- ”
”No I am fine, I am okay, just a shock but it’s gone, they just need me to stress my legs”
”Okay Mama, I am glad you are fine!”
”Yes, me too, that you are okay”.
They are quiet.
”I came to apologise for my son Diana, I know I am also at fault here, if I had welcomed you and given you a chance I would have seen all this and maybe helped to avoid it. I am sorry for your pain. The one my son caused you, I am sorry for the ones I caused you, I was a mother protecting her child, I failed to see the pain behind his eyes and the other thing compressed”
”What other thing Mama?”
”He will tell you himself. Diana, we didn’t get off on a good start, yet as my son broke you, you still saved his life.”
”Because I couldn’t bear to see the man I love get hurt”
”I know, thank you for protecting my son, forgive me for those words Diana, forgive me for my attitude, forgive a mother”.
Diana shakes her head ”It is i not you who would ask for forgiveness, I brought him pain and made him so angry at everything else. It is me Mama that needs your forgiveness; it’s me who needs to thank you. If you hadn’t spoken to me the way you did, I wouldn’t have realised the errors of my ways and changed it. It’s because of you I was able to see clearly. I am sorry I had such bad thoughts against you, I am sorry for Emeka and everything else,. I am sorry”
”I hope you make a quick recovery, and maybe we can start all over again”
Dee smiles through her tears ”Thank you mama, ” then she is sad again ”I am sorry about Ambross”
”There is still hope, he may or may not live, but at least his son has forgiven him, at least he had asked for forgiveness. I pray he lives” she reaches out and touches Diaana’s hands.
You are a strong woman Mama, to have survived all this and still be able to keep your head above water?”‘
”It didn’t start in a day. Get some rest Diana, ” She wheels herself to leave.
”Tell Emeka I am sorry!!”
”He knows that Diana, but he will tell you his own apologises to your face!!”
Diana stares at the door, hoping it would open and Emeka walks in. But he didn’t, not the next. Not the next, then she gave up on him ever coming to see her as the days continued to roll by.
For the next couple of days she was in the hospital, He came to check on her, but he never enters her room. He couldn’t. He would ask the doctors, ask the nurses about her, even Grace, stand at the door, but he is not able to bring himself to go in.
His mother was back home, life went back to normal. His father was still in a coma. His mother comes by everyday too see him. She drops in to see Diana, then she goes to seat by Ambross’s bed, reading the bible, then she would talk to him. That was how Emeka found her every time he came to see his father. He waits till she leaves before he goes in.
Then he seats there, watching him, willing his eyes to open.
Then he would talk to him as his mother does, doctors says it helps. He talks about random things, just talking. .
On his way out he always meets Grace, and she always asks him the same question
”Won’t you at least see her today, don’t you want to see her, won’t you?”
”I can’t!! Not yet!!”‘ he says ”Don’t tell her I check up on her or that you see me, please” then he would walk away.
But he makes sure she gets the best room, best treatment, sends her flowers telling her to get well soon… but he couldn’t bring himself to meet her and talk to her.
”You can’t keep avoiding her you know?” Tayo told him one of the days
”I know!!” he replied, but it didn’t stop him from not going, even if it’s to stand behind her closed door and hear her speak with Grace.
A couple of days later , Diana is being discharged from the hospital.
Grace enters the room ”Ready?”
”Yes!!” she nods
They walk out, to the parking lot where they see her standing there…waiting.
She walks to them, ”Hello Grace?”
”Hello Olive, I will be in the car ” Grace tells Diana walking away, she and Olive exchange a cordial smile.
Olive turns to her ”I am sorry I didn’t get to come see you”
”I didn’t expect you too” Olive had no reason to come see her, it was okay if she didn’t, she wouldn’t hold it against her.
Olive nods ”I just wanted to come by to say I am sorry for the way I treated you, for everything and to thank you for saving Emeka’s life”
”Everyone comes to say the same thing to me, Mama, Tayo, you, not him”
”You want him to come himself? I know I even told hi-”
Diana is shaking her head ”No, I am not asking for him to come, it’s just that, I wouldn’t have let him die if there was a way to avert his death, I saw it and I did it, not for him but for me, so everyone should stop telling me thank you, you would have done the same for him if you had the chance to save him, after all you love him and he loves you. Would you not have done the same thing to protect the man you love, you would have right?”
”Yes I would have, and yet, I wasn’t the one who was hurting, being humiliated, broken down. You would have walked away with the money and with the pain you were in, we would have understood”
Diana smiles sadly ”Well I didn’t, because finally wealth would evaporate like smoke, but love is like burning fire that never quenches”
Olive smiles nodding ”Sound like something he would say”
Olive shakes her head ”I am glad you are okay Diana, even though we started on the wrong foot, I am, glad you are okay”‘
Olive is walking away
”You will… take care of him will you? You will love and care for him?”
Olive turns ”Yes!!!”
Diana sniffs ”I am happy he has a good woman by his side, I am happy he has someone who loves him wholeheartedly in ways I couldn’t, and I am glad it’s you, because he wouldn’t profess his feeling to someone unless he means it. Take care of Emeka will you, he is one of the good ones” then she walks away into the car where Grace is waiting for her as they speed off.
”If only you knew Diane that, that man has space for only one in his heart and sadly, it isn’t who you think” she walks away entering into her car and leaving.
A few weeks later, Emeka is backing his window when she walks into his office, she drops her bag and goes to him, slipping her hand between his hands and wraps her arms around him as she hugs him.
”So many things to do, more of my shops opening here and there, just finished with the boutique here, all is set and other things await”
He looks down at the arms, he rubs it, bringing it to his lips to kiss and then continuous staring out of the window..
”A penny for your thoughts!!”
”I wish! if I tell you what is making a chaotic mess in my heart you wouldn’t be able to help me”
”Maybe not, but sharing is half solving. I know you have been quiet and distant for this past few weeks, keeping to yourself, working more, doing nothing other than work work work. Mama says you hardly stay home, you busy yourself in the office and hardly eat, because I don’t stay in your house anymore since that day, I can’t keep tabs on you to make sure you are okay, should I whoop you, is that it? Why are you making your mother worry eh? Even Tayo is worried, and me too, every time I call you sound like you are elsewhere in mind and thoughts” Olive turns him ”What is wrong? You know you can tell me, you can tell me anything. I gave you time and space because you asked for it, but… talk to me Emeka, you know you can right?”
”I know Olive, that is what worries me, you are too good a person too good a woman, you deserve better you do”.
”I never complained, I knew what I was getting into”‘.
”But still, you deserve better”’
She sighs ”oh Emeka, your eyes speaks a different language than what your mouth is saying, and though I see it and understand the secrets buried in your eyes, I wish that I can change it to suit me”
”I am sorry Olive, it’s been a few weeks and yet, I can’t stop thinking about it all, wanting to, fighting within myself, I can’ even face myself in the mirror, my father is still in coma, she… she someplace, somewhere, and I can’t face her Olive, and I so want to, I do. And yet, I am torn, you are here, you love me, you stayed for me, you did everything for me even when I was on a mission to tear another down you stood by me, you love me Olive, you are beautiful woman, you have a good heart, and here you are, hoping for something more, my heart! But… I cannot give it out, to you. My heart is broken, shattered twice now Olive, because I have hurt the woman I have ever loved so deeply, and I fear she wouldn’t ever forgive me. Nor accept me”
”You are still in love with her Emeka!!?”
He nods closing his eyes ”Ever since I met her again, there have been some part of me who wanted to throw all the pain away and love her as I have loved her before but I couldn’t do it because I wanted to pay her back, but every time she cried I forced myself to be emotionless. The time we kissed, and almost made love I was almost loosing myself, when she got shot… I felt my heart almost ripping out from my chest when I thought she was going to die, it broke me. I realised then that… I was stupid, I was- I was in love with her, I never stopped loving her. Her scent, her essence, her body is imprinted on mine, her heart in mine, she is like the air I breath, she is an addiction that I cannot get rid of. Yes Olive, I am in love with her, I never stopped apparently and I want to go to her and tell her but fear. She may hate me now, she wouldn’t want me close to her. She wouldn’t want to see me”
Olive closes and opens her eyes , she tears up but she smiles ”Oh Emeka you are a silly silly boy! I will love you, I will love you always, but the heart wants what it wants, your heart has her name written over it and even though it hurts badly, I can’t force you to love me but I will be content I to know I loved you. God forbid I let you date me because you care for me or because you feel pity, which would be the wrongest thing to do. I too want a love like this and I pray I find it too. And stop thinking stupid things “she cleans her eyes ”stop standing there waiting then, go, go meet her, because there is no point guessing.”
”but Olive there is you and-”
”Pfft! Never love a person based on pity, never marry for one either. Love a person because you do and you love her Emeka, that bittersweet kind of love, so go love her, don’t wait forever thinking she hates you, she loves you madly too.” she wipes her eyes again ”Go, I have a flight to catch!”
”Wait! You are leaving?” he turns staring at her as she walks away
”Yes Emeka, I knew you loved her, I just wanted you to admit it and if you hadn’t today I would have bundled you to her house myself.” She laughs ”One day, we are going to sit down, have a drink and talk about this silly thing called love, until then, go get your girl! And ” She walks back to him ” I love you” she leans in and places a kiss to his lips letting it linger, then she steps away leaving him and walking away. He watches her leave, then he turns away facing the window again.
He needs to see her, he needs to tell her