Chike returned to Lagos mid-September. His school had already resumed and he was now in his fourth year. The thought that he would be graduating the following year made him very happy. He made a lot of money while working for his uncle during the long holiday. He would be able to take care of himself till he returned home for the Christmas holiday.
He missed Bukky. The fact that she was in a relationship with another made him to feel pained. He wished she was his. He hoped the distance he created between them had given her a different perspective about things. He believed that she would think twice before pushing him away next time.
He didn’t pick her calls or replies her text messages because he was trying to prove a point, but, he wondered if he had taken it too far. What if she doesn’t want to speak with him again? He decided to visit her as soon as he was done parking and cleaning his apartment. The thought of seeing her flooded him with joy. He wished he could fly to her place that very moment.
Kike informed her niece that she was heading to church for a women’s programme. On her way out of the building, she met Chike walking in. They exchanged greetings and she went her way, wondering how many men was in her niece’s life. She knew about her affair with their neighbour’s first son. Who was Chike to her? Was she dating two people at the same time? She hoped the girl wasn’t playing games. At thirty-six, she was still single and understood how messy things could get. She made mistakes in her last relationship. She dated three men at the same time and while trying to decide who to spend the rest of her life with, they all discovered her folly and broke up with her. She prayed that her elder sister’s daughter wouldn’t make the same mistake. It was hard to find good men. Most of them were married.
Chike stood by the door and knocked thrice. Bukky opened the door and gasped when she saw him. She had no idea that he was back in town.
“Can I come in?” he seized her up. The slim black beauty had on a pink short-sleeve, knee-length skirt and a white sleeveless blouse. Her cleavage was in full view due to the V-shape of the neckline and her nipples pressed against the fabric. He could tell that she wasn’t putting on a bra. He tore his eyes away and concentrated on her hair. The wine and gold shoulder length wavy weave-on was in a half-pattern style. It made her pretty dark eyes to twinkle.
She was shocked to find him at her doorstep. She thought he was still upset with her. After all, he alienated her when he travelled home. “Please come in,” she stepped back into the room.
Chike walked in and sat on the two settee. Bukky shut the door and settled on a plastic chair, an arms- length away from the settee.
“How have you been?” his dark brown eyes observed her.
“I am…” she cleared her throat, “Fine… and you?”
“I am good. I just got back, a few hours ago.”
“Oh…” her dark eyes settled on his calm face.
“I bought you a birthday gift,” he showed her a wrapped box.
She stared at the gift, then back at him. It would be an understatement to say that she was surprised.
“Happy birthday in advance,” he smiled at her.
“Thank you,” she reached out and collected the box. What was in it?
He leaned against the chair and turned towards the television. It was on the Zee World channel.
Bukky unwrapped the box, tore it open and brought out a Nokia Express Music phone. Her eyes widened in shock and delight. She had been saving to get a camera phone, but, ended up spending the money to pay one bill or the other.
“Thank you,” she directed her excited gaze at him.
He glanced at her, “You are welcome,” their gazes locked, “I missed you.”
She swallowed hard, “You… you didn’t pick my calls.”
He sighed heavily, “I missed you so much that it hurt.”
She blinked back the unshed tears, “You didn’t reply my messages.”
“It’s so good to see you.”
“You didn’t even tell me when you left.”
The sadness in her eyes gnawed at him. “I am so sorry.”
She dropped her gaze. She didn’t want to cry, but, she was overwhelmed with emotions she had been keeping in check for months.
He got up, walked to her side and pulled her up to her feet. “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he wrapped his arms around her.
She buried her face against his chest. The warmth of his nearness soothed her aching heart. “I missed you too,” she whispered.
Her words warmed his heart. He felt elated. “I missed you more. I owe you a birthday outing”
She raised her head and looked into his smiling eyes.
“Where do you want to go?”
She shrugged, “I don’t know.”
“I have money. A lot of money. Just say the word, anything and your wish is my command.”
She chuckled and just looked at him. She was glad that her friend was back.
“My uncle paid me handsomely during the holidays. I am going to take care of you. Thank God that your boyfriend has gone back to school. I will have you all to myself,” he winked at her.
She dropped her gaze and sighed heavily.
“What is it?” he could sense that something was wrong.
“We… we broke up,” she looked up at him.
“You what?!” shock and relief flooded his veins, “When? Why? How?” a thousand thoughts ran through his mind.
“Several weeks ago.”
He frowned, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
She eyed him, “I tried. You were avoiding me.”
He scratched a spot on his head. He couldn’t believe that she was finally available. “What happened?”
“We… we couldn’t agree on a lot of things.”
“I see,” he kept on looking at her.
She pulled away and sat on the settee. He joined her, eager for news.
“He… he didn’t want to leave sex out of our relationship and I wanted to honour God with my body.”
Chike shook his head in disappointment.
“He used to see things my way, but, overtime, I don’t know,” she bit at her lower lip.
“He is not serious. He needs serious beating, honest.”
She heard the anger in his voice. She leaned against the chair and faced the television.
He smiled with relief. He would give her time to get over her ex-boyfriend, then ask her out when the time was right.
“I passed my Common Entrance Examinations,” she glanced at him.
“Good, great. Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” she smiled back at him.
“Have you been given your First School Leaving Certificate?”
She nodded quickly, “Yes.”
“Cool. Now, no one dares call you an illiterate.”
She started to laugh.
“I have to run.”
She blinked, “Now?”
“Yes, darling,” he got up.
“But, you just got here,” she got to her feet.
“I need to clean my apartment. Everywhere is dusty. I can’t sleep like that.”
She crossed her arms against her chest.
“I will take you out this weekend, okay?”
“O-kay,” she wished he didn’t have to leave so soon.
He stared directly into her eyes and felt like drawing her close and kissing her. He erased the thought from his mind and started towards the door.
“I will call you when I am through. We can stroll to that Mallam’s place and get suya.”
“Okay,” she followed him to the door and they both walked out of the room.