By AMAH’S HEART
“….well, I’m surprised that you of all people will descend so low to come down to my local area. with all your class and calibre. you decided not to communicate whatever it is over the phone but come all the way down to my house. I don’t know if I should be excited or worried with this your surprise visit.
He remains seated without making any effort to reply me. Focusing his eyes on the television.
He hasn’t said anything since he came in, I have been the only one talking like parrot.
He looked around my sitting room and made a face.
“…let me guess, my living room is not even close to the size of your closet and can’t be compared to your dog house…
He looked up at me and made a smirking annoying face but still didn’t say anything as he returns his look back to the TV.
I was very annoyed with his silence. His quiet demeanor was torturing.
“… why are you here…what do you want from me that can’t wait until I resume in two days from now. why do you come looking for me…?
He straightened from his chair and then said.
“Finally, you asked. I came to check on how you are doing Keji. Stop trying to sound angry, irritated with me at your place. I’m not your enemy. if you don’t want me around all you need to do is to say so and I will be on my way.
I have already said too much. Deep within I’m very happy that he came but I did not want to show it.
I was still a bit crossed with him for not going the extra mile to warn me about Bayo. My pain is visible and fresh.
Philip actually did his best in trying to talk me out of dating Bayo but I wasn’t willing to listen.
But I still blame him because I needed to blame somebody for what happened to me.
I know quiet alright that I caused it but I have enough guilt, loss and pain. I definitely don’t want to add another to the cap.
Phil will have to share in the blame.
Why did he say what he just said? He sounded so proud and egoistic again.
He thinks I like the fact that he came around.
Yes, I actually do but I need to act like I don’t.
He may start feeling like a god if I let him know that I truly appreciate him coming by.
“Phill, if you want to leave then you are very free. I didn’t invite you in the first place and still do not understand your reason for visiting…”
He smiled and said.
“Keji, i need you to tell me to leave your house and I will.
He stared at me with a straight face. Daring me to say it.
“Phil leave my house”
I said without thinking.
I need to say it so that he will understand that I don’t really need him.
Well, I actually do but I’m still hurting and do not need any man to torment me further.
He is egoistic and I won’t be the one to add a feather to his cap.
When he stood and started moving to the door, my heart was beating.
I wanted to stand by the door and apologies for running my mouth at him but instead I held my two hands together as he move gently to the door.
I wanted to prevent him from leaving but he looks so determined to leave.
I couldn’t hold it all in anymore, I decided to stop him just as he was about to get to the door. I need to stop him from leaving
“Phi…Phill.. please wai…
he paused and said
“Yes Keji, did you changed your mind?
“No, I mean…ye…no. I didn’t change my mind. I wanted to say thank you for stopping by anyway. Don’t come next time. You can’t relate in my world neither will you understand…
He nodded and continued to the door.
That wasn’t what I wanted to say but the wrong thing came out of my mouth.
My own pride too was getting on the way.
He held the door knob and instead of opening it he suddenly turned and said to me.
“I didn’t get exactly what you said. Did you mean I should come again or I shouldn’t come again?
I ignored him. I had tears burning my eyes and choking my throat. If I say anything I may end up embarrassing myself.
I waited for him to leave so that I can go and sulk like an unfortunate child.
He suddenly turned and walked back to the sitting room, instead of sitting down he was walking around like he was searching for something.
“What are you doing? I asked forming angry.
“Looking for your refrigerator… don’t you have one? Instead of you to ask me what I will drink or eat you are asking me to leave and you expected me to leave just like that. Please, give me a break. Where is your refrigerator let me take the honor of serving myself a drink…
“Is in the kitchen but don’t go. My kitchen Is not even close to the size of your smallest storehouse… Anyway, i will bring drink for you.
I eyed him angrily but I wasn’t a bit angry. Rather I was bubbling with happiness that he didn’t leave.
I brought water to him with peanut because that’s the only drink and snacks I have in my fridge.
I will be going back to work in two days time, there was no need of storing perishable things in my small fridge.
The groundnut was mostly added whenever I want to drink garri. I bought it for that purpose.
He took a sip from the cup of water and drop it back to the tray.
“Don’t you have food in this house” he asked without looking at me.
“I ate bread with egg sauce in the morning. I planned making either yam porridge or yam with red oil and pepper. I’m still contemplating before you came… should I go ahead?
“Okay, I have all day to spend here. Let me assist you in making it. Maybe I will cut the yam while you do the rest. Fetch me an apron and kitchen gloves…
He said standing up.
“I don’t have apron or gloves here. My place is a total different setting and package from yours.
He nodded and said.
“Or maybe we should order for pizza or some Chinese food. If you want anything you can aswell include in the order…
I told him to do whatever he feels like.
He ordered some food, I sat in the next arm chair close to his.
We both pretend like we were watching the television.
After some time he said.
“I have something I really wanted to ask. Is okay if you take offense but still answer me any way. So, is it true that you paid Bayo a million Naira just to marry you?
I ignored him at first but later said.
“What is your reason for asking by the way? If I said Bayo collected huge amount of money from me all with pretense will you believe me? I never paid him to marry me, I only lend him money as he asked, hoping to get it back from him even if is just fifty percent….but I got nothing. It wasn’t upto a million though but it was all that I had. Bu…but is all good. Bayo is gone and so is my money… I’m trying to move on, I really don’t need a reminder.
From my side view I can see him looking at me.
I pretend to focus on the television as I fought tears pushing forward.
I hate to remember everything that Bayo took from me.
My precious time, my hard earned money, my self esteem and some part of my heart.
It hurt so much that I have been chasing shadow all this while.
“I’m sorry Keji. I never meant or wish to see you hurt. I tried…I tried to warn you about Bayo but you kept pushing me away. I meant well for you but you saw me as the enemy and Bayo as the angel. I never knew who Bayo was, I asked Nnana about him and he said he was into car dealership, he works for Nnana’s father’s friend and likes tagging along with the rich and famous. Driving different exotic cars all in the name of sampling them. He wasn’t even Nnana’s friend but they allowed him to tag along anyway. You probably got deceived with his flashy lifestyle not knowing you were treading on a dangerous ground. I didn’t even know that he has a family…I mean children. I knew he was married… Nnana told me, after I learnt about it, I rushed down to warn you to stay away from him. I met you talking with some ladies that day…do you remember? But at the end you refused to listen or believe whatever I said. It was a gross sight when I saw both of you kissing in public. I decided to leave you to your fate then. maybe, I could have tried harder, kidnap you and disappear… that’s the only better option left to…
I burst out laughing amidst tears.
“You just cracked me up Phil. I’m glad you came. It wasn’t your fault in anyway…it was all mine. I just needed somebody to blame for my misfortune. I’m really sorry for everything I said back at your house during the altercation with Ijeoma. I never meant for any of that. I…I felt so helpless and vulnerable after the heartbreak with Bayo. The worst part is that it was his wife that called to curse and insult me. And it hurts me even more that I poured all my life savings into Bayo’s pocket thinking I was helping a lifetime partner…. anyway, I’m getting used to it all and moving on.
He bent his head and didn’t speak immediately.
He later raised his face up and said.
“Don’t worry Keji, you will be fine. But Bayo will not get away with this criminal act…I will make sure of that.
Our food delivery arrived.
Phil didn’t eat much, I stuffed myself up.
All this days I have not been having appetit to eat much.
But seeing Philip makes my stomach to suddenly opened up.
He was watching and smiling.
After food, I cleared the whole place before returning to my seat.
“Did you remember the night we kissed…
My heart skipped a little, I tried not to look at him.
“…i wasn’t sure of what I really felt for you until that night. I still tried to wave it off and not even think about it or lead you along but after you left for Amara’s wedding, I began to wish you were around, i even wish I can steal another kiss from your lips again. I was in a hurry to travel down just to see you again and tell you everything I felt…but by the time I arrived, Bayo had stolen the show.
I looked up at him and quickly looked away.
“… Keji, I’m not much of a talker and I don’t easily fall in love. My parents… everyone looks up to me for different reasons and I don’t want to disappoint them which was why I guild my heart with all diligent. My Dad will skin me alive if I end up with the wrong woman. He has coached me ever since I was little. We were all based in London back then, my Dad sent me home after my PhD. He asked me to come and take charge and foresee things. I stayed home for four years with only the home staffs and office staffs before my parents returned home. My Dad was super proud of me. I employed majority of the staffs which was why they referred to me as boss instead of my Dad. You can call me mummy’s boy, yes…I am. Mum is my biggest supporter and for her to have scolded me in front of the domestic staffs because of you..it means she has a soft spot for you. I thought it was going to be Amara, I loved her and thought she felt the same but I sensed her coldness and knew something was amidst. I have to let her move on to be with whoever she loves. My Dad will say that whatever is meant to be will definitely be…
I chuckled and said
“Yes, you ones told me that. Did you sensed my likeness for you or yo…
I kept quiet and couldn’t speak further. he said
“Yea, you made it quiet obvious at some point. But I deliberately did not want to encourage you. I’m used to ladies gushing over me. no, I’m not prouding…
The way he raised his two hands up, I burst out laughing and he laughed also.
“…Keji, I just didn’t want to lead you blindly when I wasn’t sure of what exactly I felt for you. I’m discipline and hate to see people hurt, ladies especially. I felt jealous in a way when you revealed going out with Kunle… that wasn’t expected of me but I felt bad for some odd reason. I then realized that I was getting attached to you and decided to retract my steps. Then fortunately, I kissed you and the whole feeling started flooding back to my fragile chest…
He started laughing while holding his chest and I joined.
Philip is really handsome. When he laughs it felt so infectious.
“…When I traveled to London, I almost started another relationship over there but for some odd reasons again it didn’t work out before I returned home. I have watched you Keji, you are selfless, loving, hardworking and many other qualities. I’m not after beauty only because I have seen different types…
He paused. Stood and put hand in his pocket.
He brought out an envelope and stretched it out towards me
“Here… have it.
“What is it?
I said while collecting the envelope from him.
I opened it and saw a cheque
“,It may not cover everything you loss to Bayo, but it will give you a head start…
I opened the cheque and saw five hundred thousand.
I almost screamed out my intestines.
“,Phil, I can’t accept this, is…is too much. Don’t worry, i have already believe it to be my loss. If I resume work, I will be able to start saving again. You and your mother has done too much already…I can’t accept this huge offer….no, I can’t…
He insisted, and said his mother is aware and will not be happy if I don’t accept the cheque.
I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Emotion came rushing back to my throat.
I felt a tear drop that I couldn’t hold back.
I felt like prostrating on the ground.
He came to hold me, he drew me gently to his arm, wipe my tear and kissed my forehead.
I rested my head on his chest.
“If I resume work eeh, I will do everything I can to please everyone. I’m ready to do all the work in that house, both security, pool man job, housekeeper, gardener, car washer, I don’t know how to drive I would have even become your driver. I will do everything possible to merit this money that I don’t deserve. Is not anybody’s fault that I lost my money, it was rather my foolishness. So, I really don’t deserve this huge offer but I will work so hard to make sure I merit it. Phil, oh Phil…. thank you so much…I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know how to thank you and your parents that took me in as their’s… I’m just… speechless.
He wiped another tear from me and said quietly.
“I don’t want you to come back to work.
I stepped away from him and stare in shock.
“Why? Are you sacking me..? Or you have already sacked me Phil? I thought your Mom said I can return? Is the cheque a sent forth money or dismissal money? You can’t do this to me, I want to continue my work… I’m meant to resume in two days. All this long talk…I guess you didn’t know the best way to tell me that I have being sacked right? Philip please, don’t do this to me…I will do anything. I know this five hundred thousand will go along way, I’m grateful for it really but I need my job back. I don’t want to get a sack letter from you or your amazing mom. I wronged everyone and… and I’m sorry. My emotions ran out of check… I’m sorry. Give me another chance to work atleast two months, and win back the heart of everyone that I offend. Even Ijeoma inclusive. I don’t know what Ijeoma told you or your mother but…
He stood and said
“Enough… enough Keji. No one sacked you… nobody.
He moved closer to me, draw me to himself and kissed me. He released me, straightened and kissed me again for a longer time…
He looked at me, eyeball to eyeball and said calmly.
“This is the reason why I don’t want you to be a domestic staff in my house. I love you Keji. I don’t need a soothsayer to prove it anymore. Do you love me?… Keji…?
I was mute, my head remains bent.
He didn’t release me from his arms, he continued holding onto me.
“… please answer me Keji. If you don’t have any feeling at all…is still okay by me, you can return to work and I will return to UK to cool off my head. by the time I come I will probably be alright to look at you and feel nothing… Because I can’t possibly be living in the same house and pretending like you don’t exist. So Keji, I ask again…do you love me?
I couldn’t speak so I nodded that I do love him.
“…I need you to say it… with your mouth. If you love me say it, if you don’t…. still say it. I’m serious Keji, this is no time to joke around…
“I’m not joking around Phil. I do love you…loved you way back before you even noticed me… and still loves you.
He kissed me and I did the same.
“That’s all I needed to hear and more reason you can’t return to work. If we have to be together I wouldn’t want my woman to be a domestic worker for anybody, not even for me. If you insist on working I can fix you up somewhere else..in a bigger company. Something quiet befitting. Or you can get yourself into a catering school, just to acquire more cooking skills, probably open your own official kitchen, eatery or a big restaurant aftermath. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to sound like a dictator… you are free to say whatever you want. But coming back to work in my kitchen is not included in the option. I don’t want anybody to insult or look down on you due to the last clash you had with Ijeoma. I want you to be respected and served anytime you comes around… not the other way round. What do you think? Is it okay by you Keji, or you have a different things from my suggestion…?
“Is fine Phil. I will take the idea of going to a catering school to learn some acquisition and be able to develop my cooking skills. Oh my goodness!… It all seems like a dream…a dream come true. Tha…nk you very much for this great opportunity. I won’t misuse it…I promise.
He laughed quietly before saying
“Quit acting like I’m giving you a Job offer. Don’t see me as your boss Keji, we’re in this together… every road you take from this moment forward I will be by your side to guide you….I need you and will appreciate every moment I spend with you.
And it was sealed up with another kiss.
After he left, I felt like jumping to the roof of the building.
A cheque of five hundred thousand for the money I lost to Bayo
A great offer of true love which I have so much yawned for.
Acquiring a great skill that will give me an edge to future preference.
Recovering myself worth again and having reason to really smile.
I just achieved so much in one day, something I have never been able to achieve in all my thirty one years on earth.
I don’t know where this will lead to or how it will end. I hope it doesn’t end because it feels so good to be true.
But I’m going to enjoy every moment, live everyday at a time. Smile from deep within and continue praying that I won’t wake up from this fairytale dreamland.
Three months later in the relationship and I still felt like I’m dreaming.
Phil have not even seen the color of my panties and yet he is doing so much already for me.
“Oh God, things are begining to fall in pleasant places for my good…I can’t shout. Phill is too good to be true…
I exclaimed out as I lay in bed alone that night after speaking with Phil over the phone.
I said few prayer and smiled myself to sleep.
Enough smile for today, tomorrow is another day to smile.