The day for pay-back came sooner than she expected. It so happened on that fateful day, Dima was in Buchi’s house in the evening having done the usual rounds all day. She was relaxed on the sofa in his sitting room, TV remote in hand, absently shuffling through the channels while reminiscing about the day’s events.
The day was unusually successful and very rewarding and Dima was glad she met Buchi. If she hadn’t met him that fateful Tuesday, she’ll be back in Enugu by now, back to her old schedule of selling provisions in her father’s departmental store and singing to herself while arranging goods on the shelves. But instead, she was in Abuja living her dream.
Buchi informed her yesterday that they’ve laid so much groundwork and planted many seeds, it’s time to stand back and watch it grow. They’ve had promises of invitations to shows and concerts when the time is right so it seems their work is generating some positive feedback. Dima is contemplating returning to Enugu so as to give Buchi some room to breathe; after all he’s been instrumental in helping her thus far. She does not want to impose too much on his generosity.
Buchi came in a while later looking flustered and nervous. Dima wondered what the problem was. I hope he’s not having second thoughts about helping me, she thought. His help has been invaluable and she does not take it for granted.
Buchi came to sit on the sofa and Dima had to abandon her prostrate form to accommodate him. He looked at her strangely and she wondered for the umpteenth time what the problem was.
“Dima, I need to talk to you about something.” He began
Uh uh, here it comes. “What is the problem?”
“Oh, there’s no problem. It’s just that I don’t know how you will take this and I want to assure you I mean no disrespect, please.”
Just spit it out and save me from the misery. “Okay, shoot.”
“I like you Dima. Since the first time I saw you something in you drew me. I’ve been fighting it because I don’t want to seem like I’m taking advantage of you but I don’t want to fight it anymore. I want you to be mine.” He said earnestly
Dima was speechless. She wouldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams that this would come from him. But he has been such a gentleman and never indicated any of these feelings, she thought. Although, if I could read between the lines, I would have seen the reading on the wall; the solicitousness and help without asking for payment in cash or kind should have been warning enough. All these thoughts whirled in her mind as she looked at him fidgeting on the sofa beside her.
“I don’t know what to say.” She finally answered
Buchi looked up. “Say you’ll be mine.” He entreated her.
He looks so lost, his feelings must be real. But do I want this?
The attraction is there but isn’t it better to focus on my career for now? “I really want to focus on my career for now.” Don’t alienate him, better reassure him. “Don’t get me wrong, I like you but I think it’s better if we don’t mix business with pleasure for now.”
“Really? That’s your answer? How do you propose I turn off my feelings?”
Dima took his hand in hers. “I understand but can you please try? For me?”
He looked deep into her eyes and Dima was lost for a moment. She averted her gaze when it seems like they’ve been staring at one another for ages. Why am I fighting this?
He squeezed her hand. “I can’t do that Dima. I’d rather you change your mind. But I’ll not pressure you nevertheless.”
It was at that moment that Dima knew she was in danger of falling in love with Buchi. A lesser man would have exerted pressure and collected his pound of flesh regardless of her feelings. Buchi is a greater man and she’ll do well to guide her heart if she’s going to abide by her decision. She resolved to go back home to Enugu and come back only when something concrete comes up.
Dima left for Enugu two days later amidst protests from Buchi. It didn’t take long for her to go back to Abuja though as duty called.
Over the course of six months, she shuffled between Abuja and Enugu, went for concerts and music shows and gradually gained acclaim. Buchi was ever persistent with his invaluable help and each time she came around he accommodated her.
He continually made his feelings known and Dima continually denied him and herself. Little did she know that a major game changer will soon manifest.
…to be continued