Sikemi hurried into the nurses’ office. They were both dozing at their desks. She shook them awake and leaned on one of the tables.
“Why are you both sleeping? It is almost time to call it a day.”
Ibinabo stretched out her hands and yawned. Adanne scratched a spot on her creamy brown skin, then her scalp and her neck.
“What if Dr. Bassey had walked in here?”
Ibinabo closed and opened her eyes. It was a good thing that the weekend was fast approaching. It had been a tedious week. She wished she could ask for a few days leave period.
Adanne eyed the receptionist, “Why did you wake me? I was having a very good dream.”
Sikemi hissed, “You are not serious,” she shifted a set of files from the edge of the table and sat down.
“Oga has a visitor.”
“So? Does that buy me dinner tonight?” Adanne placed her head on the receptionist’s laps.
“Carry your head jo,” she tried to push the nurse’s head, “The lady has never been here before. The doctor was ecstatic when she arrived.”
Adanne raised her head and glanced at the other nurse who looked back at her, curiousity had taken over her face.
“She is quiet pretty; on the slim side… they have been chatting, laughing and eating for over an hour.”
“Why are you just telling us now?” Adanne sat up straight.
Ibinabo wondered who the visitor was. The doctor rarely entertained guests. Was he dating again? She turned pale. She had tried to gain his attention a number of times, but, he seemed immune to all her body language and gimmicks.
“I want to go and see who my competition is,” Adanne got up and headed out.
Sikemi started to laugh. She clapped her hands and got up, “Your friend is crazy. I have given up on the doctor a long time ago,” she turned to the other nurse.
Ibinabo shrugged. Should she also give up on the doctor? He might never see her as more than his employee. It was high time she set her sights on someone else. The Accountant was a bit shorter than she was and Dr. Sylvester was too tall. Maybe her husband was out there. She needed to find him, she wasn’t getting any younger. She placed her head on the desk. She was eager to hear what Adanne had discovered. The outcome would be hilarious.
Sikemi hurried after the crazy nurse and stopped her before she could badge into their boss’ office.
“Let go!” Adanne pushed her.
“You will only make a fool of yourself,” Sikemi cautioned her.
“Let me go this minute,” she eyed her.
“Suit yourself,” she dropped her hand and walked away.
Adanne stared at the door for a while. She changed her mind and returned to her office. They all had a crush on the doctor, but he was someone they would never get to date.
Bassey pushed away the empty bowl. He placed a hand on his tummy and belched. Misi giggled. She was also feeling very full. She had prepared pounded yam and melon soup when she returned home from work that evening. She brought some for the doctor and he had wiped the bowls clean without remaining any morsel of food. She didn’t understand why men go without food, especially when they were at work. If she missed breakfast and went to work, she would be tired and cranky till lunch time. It was the reason why she kept biscuits, chocolates and candies in one of her drawers at work.
“Thank you for feeding me,” he rested against the chair and loosened two buttons on his white long sleeve shirt.
“You are welcome,” she was pleased that he enjoyed the meal.
“Come and sit here,” he tapped his laps and winked at her.
“We are in your office,” she looked around her.
She shook her head and folded her hands across her chest.
“Come here,” he narrowed his gaze.
She leaned against the settee adjacent to the desk and looked away.
“If I get up…” he leaned forward.
“Leave me jo.”
“You don’t know what you are missing,” he rested the back of his head on his palms.
He laughed lightly and watched her from the corner of his eyes. He was happy that she showed up. He had missed her. He had been doing a lot of thinking. He would be clocking thirty-six in May and would like to get married around that time. God had brought her into his life at the perfect timing. There was no one else he would rather spend his life with than her. He would bid his time before confessing to her how much he had grown to love her.
She turned her head and caught him staring at her. What was he thinking about? He had been giving her different kinds of looks since she arrived. At times, she felt self-conscious.
Somebody knocked. He blinked and looked towards the door. The receptionist opened the door and stepped in.
“I am sorry sir…” she looked from him to his guest, and back at him, “Em… someone is here to see you.”
“I am heading home soon, if it is a patient, send the person to Dr. Sylvester or tell the person to come back tomorrow,” he instructed her.
She swallowed hard and took a few steps forward, “Sir…”
“What?” he raised an eyebrow.
“Mrs. Lovejoy Edet is here to see you.”
He sat up straight. Several thoughts ran through his mind, “Let her in,” he stood up.
“Okay sir,” she retraced her steps and closed the door behind her.
Misi noticed the sudden change in his facial expression and wondered who the visitor was.
The door swung open and a tall, fair lady in a blue jean which aligned her curvy frame and a fitted chiffon blouse, revealing a chunk of her cleavage, sauntered in.
“I didn’t know that you had a visitor,” Lovejoy glanced at the lady seated at a corner and directed her gaze at him.
“What can I do for you?” he seized her up.
She settled on one of the chairs opposite the desk, “I need to talk to you, alone.”
He looked down at her, “I am listening.”
Lovejoy glanced back at the lady. Who was she to him?
Misi met her curious gaze. She didn’t like the visitor one bit.
“Is your husband aware that you are here?” he sat back on his seat.
“What?” she looked back at him, she didn’t hear what he said.
“What are you doing here?” he crossed his fingers and placed them on the table.
Lovejoy eyed him. Why was he so unfriendly? The man she knew two years ago wouldn’t treat her that way. She noticed the empty bowls on the table and glanced back at the visitor. What was her relationship with him?
“I will call your husband if you don’t get to the point,” he picked up his phone.
She gave him a steady look, “We need to talk.”
Misi got to her feet. She was uncomfortable. She didn’t want to be at the centre of the brewing dispute.
“Where are you going?” he looked in her direction.
She met his angry stare. She sat back on the settee and faced the window.
“Bassey… please,” her hazel eyes smarted with tears.
“Lovejoy, what do you want?” he glanced back at her.
“I made a mistake. I should have confronted you with Stephen’s accusations. I… I… I should have…”
“It is all in the past,” he cut in.
“He lied to me,” tears rolled down her fair face.
“You are married to him now,” he sighed heavily.
She shook her head, “I am going to ask for a divorce.”
He frowned, “Don’t complicate issues.”
“I can’t live with a liar!” she snapped.
“You made your bed; you have to lie on it,” he felt little or no pity for her.
She gave a shake of head.
“For what it is worth, he loves you. He fought hard to make you his wife.”
“Crap,” she took out a handkerchief from her bag and dabbed at her wet face.
He grinned, “He truly loves you, turning you against me was the only way he could get your attention.”
She eyed him, “I can’t believe that you are defending him, after… after what he did to you.”
He ran a hand through his curls, “I am not defending him. I have known him for… look; you mean a lot to him, which was why he did what he had to do…”
“I don’t care anymore!” she lashed out.
He eyed her, “You have to care.”
“No, I don’t. I will divorce him and… and…”
“And then what?” he searched her face.
Their gazes locked.
She leaned towards him, “We… we can start over.”
“Have you lost your mind?”
“Totally,” she smiled at him.
He creased his brows in a frown, “You are confused. You need help.”
Misi tried hard not to listen to their conversation, but she heard everything. The woman that had hurt him wanted a second chance. Did she realize how long it took him to get over her and start afresh? Why do some women think they could eat their cake and have it back?
Lovejoy was beginning to feel exasperated, “Don’t you get it? I should never have left you… I need you now…” she placed a hand on her forehead.
“Go home to your husband,” he folded his arms across his chest.
“I am sorry for hurting you; I know that you still love me… I still…” her eyes shone with interest.
“You don’t know anything,” his stern voice silenced her, “Let me get the records straight, my love for you died a premature death the day your parents threw us out of their home.”
She closed her eyes, “I am sorry,” she remembered that day vividly.
“It has been over between us for more than two years,” his honey coloured eyes flashed with annoyance.
“We can start over,” she opened her eyes. She was pretty sure that they could pick up from where they left off.
“Haven’t you heard a word I said?” his anger brewed.
“Bassey, please,” she clasped her hands, hoping against hope that he would listen to her. She was sure that someone where in his heart, he still felt something for her.
“I have gotten over you. I have completely purged you out of my system. There is no turning back,” his words were laced with truth.
She began to cry. She had not contemplated his rejection. She thought she could divorce Stephen, kick-off her relationship with him and spend the rest of her life with him.
“I have moved on and I am very happy. I have found the love of my life and we are ecstatic.”
Lovejoy stared back at him, visibly shaken and distraught. If he had truly fallen for someone else, she had definitely lost him forever.
“Misi, come here,” he beckoned at her.
Her heart quickened. When she heard him say that he had found the love of his life, was he referring to her? He had never told her that he loved her.
She rose and caught a glimpse of him behind the desk. He was smiling at her. She circled the desk and walked over to his side. He got up and drew her close. He held her by the waist and turned to his ex who stared at them in disbelief.
“Meet the love of my life, Oluwagbemisola Philips.
The lady glared at her. Misi smiled at her in return.
“Go home and sort things out with your husband. Don’t be quick to leave him. If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t have married him.”
She sniffled, picked up her bag, got up and walked out without saying another word.
“I have a confession to make,” he wrapped his hands around her.
She stared back at him in anticipation.
“These past few months, I have grown to love you. You have become like a drug and I am addicted to you. I don’t think I will be able to live without you. I love you.”
His words felt like a soothing balm on her aching heart. She had been waiting for him to say those words to her. Her patience had been rewarded.
“I love you too,” she looked deep into his eyes.
He bent his head and claimed her lips. She kissed him back, marching his intensity. He pulled away and stared into her glittering brown eyes.
“I thought of getting married in May, but, I don’t think I can wait that long.”
She blinked. A wedding? What was he talking about?
“Will you marry me?”
Her brown eyes amplified in astonishment. She thought he wanted to take things slow. She couldn’t believe that he was proposing to her that very moment. It was a dream come true.
“Yes,” she raised the corners of her mouth.
He searched her eyes, his heart was filled with love, satisfaction and joy, “You are mine.”
She giggled, “Am all yours,” she pulled down his head and kissed him.