Kike watched Lola and Kemi as they arranged the shop in preparation for the arrival of the customers. She couldn’t understand why her niece employed them after everything the Phillips put her through. At times the girl acted as if she was the one that gave birth to Jesus Christ. As a believer, she knew she had to let go and forgive them. Getting past what they did, the shame, fights and insults, it would take the grace of God for her to delete it from her mind. She found it amazing that her niece was able to relate with the Phillips with kindness, as if nothing happened. She needed to take a cue from the girl. It would be hard, but, if Bukky could do it, so could she.
“Have you both eaten this morning?” she addressed them.
They looked up and stared at her. Was she talking to them?
“Dish yourself some food and eat fast before the customers start to arrive.”
They nodded and exchanged glances. It was the first time Bukky’s aunt had been nice to them since they started working at the shop.
“Hurry up,” Kike returned her attention to the yam she was frying.
“Yes, ma. Thank you ma,” Lola and Kemi chorused.
Bukky came to sit by her aunt, excitement was written all over her face.
“What?” Kike eyed her, wondering what was making her niece shake with delight.
“Chike is at the airport.”
Her dark eyes widened. “He is back,” she whispered.
“Yessss,” she squeaked.
Her hand flew to her mouth.
“My husband is home,” her eyes glistered with tears, “He called me a few minutes ago.”
“What are you still doing here? Go and meet him,” Kike encouraged her.
Bukky got up immediately.
“Get a cab and go.”
“Okay. Bye. See you later,” she waved, half-walked and half-ran.
Kike started to laugh. She was so happy for her niece.
Bukky hurried to the bus-stop and hailed the first cab she saw. She got in without bargaining and instructed the driver to take her to the airport. She leaned against the leather chair and tried to breathe. Chike was finally home.
Chike got into a cab, while the driver loaded the boot with his luggages. He texted his fiancée and asked her to meet him at Blue Cross Hotel. It was very close to the airport. He was tired and had been longing for a cold shower. He got a reply that she was already on her way. He sighed with relief. He couldn’t wait to see her. He wondered how she looked like.
Bukky got out of the taxi, paid the driver and walked into Blue Cross hotel. It was a big building. A three storey building painted with white and blue. She checked her phone again to see the last text her fiancé’s sent. The room number was A25. She found the stairway and read the directions on a big colourful board. The ‘A’ rooms were on the first floor. She ran up the stairs and searched the first floor, when she found the room, she sighed with relief and knocked.
“Come in,” a voice responded.
She turned the knob and opened the door. She stepped into the posh room, closed the door and looked around. It was a large room, queen-size bed, a sitting area with two sofas and a center table facing a 42’ plasma television, and a big brown wardrobe adjacent to the restroom.
Chike came out of the restroom in his boxers and white short-sleeve body hugging tee-shirt. He looked straight at her, drinking in her pleasurable presence. He had no idea how he survived been away from her for so long. His dark brown eyes swept over her well rounded and curvy frame. The blue long sleeve blouse fitted her perfectly. The colour had the same shade with her long flowery fish-tail skirt she was wearing. The hour-glass figure standing close to the door turned him on and sent shivers down his spine. Thank God they were getting married the following week.
Her heart hammered against her chest as she watched him walk towards her in slow deliberate steps. He seemed taller, his shoulders were broader and he looked like one of those gym instructors on DSTV. His brown skin had a certain fine glow, making her yearn to feel the softness of his skin.
“My love…” he stood in front of her, he could hardly breathe.
“Chike…” she whispered, hardly able to speak. The mere sight of him made her tremble.
He closed the gap between them and drew her into his arms. She shut her eyes and wrapped her hands around him, basking in the warmth of his embrace. She felt the rhythm of his heart beat. It was in exact sequence with hers.
“My love…” his fingers dived into her shoulder length relaxed black hair. The scent of it drifted into his nostrils, soothing his nerves like a balm.
“Don’t leave me… don’t ever leave me again,” came the distressed whisper.
He sighed heavily. He had no intention of going anywhere without her. “Henceforth, wherever I go, you go.”
“Perfect,” she breathed out loud in relief.
He scooped her in his arms and carried her towards the bed. He settled in the middle of the mattress and made her sit on his laps.
“How has my baby been?” he looked directly into her happy eyes.
She dropped her gaze. The intensity of his stare made her tummy to turn upside down. “I am… now I am fine.”
“I came out tops in my class.”
She lifted her eyes to meet his thrilled gaze.
“I have been offered employment by three different companies in the U.K”
Her brows creased in a frown. Was he traveling again?
“Don’t be scared. This time around, we are leaving Nigeria together.”
Her lips broadened in a smile. She would have it no other way.
“We will get married, then get your papers ready. You need to say goodbye to every single member of your family. I don’t know when we will be coming back to this country.”
“Okay…” she nodded with understanding.
She dropped her gaze again. It all felt like a dream. Her fiancé was finally home.
“I have missed you so much.”
She raised her head, “I missed you more,” she whispered.
He wrapped his arms around her. “I can’t wait for us to tie the knot.”
She nodded in admission, “Me too,” the desire in his eyes mirrored hers.
“Let me change into something decent, then we can get something to eat.”
“Okay,” she was hungry too. She had not taken anything since she left for the shop that morning.
“Hope you are staying here with me.”
“I am not going anywhere. But, I am not sleeping over.”
He eyed her, “Of course not. If you do, I will devour you without hesitation.”
She burst out in laughter.
“Oya, oya, come down before you break my legs.”
She rolled on her side while he climbed down from the bed.
“It’s so good to be home,” he walked to the wardrobe and brought out one of his bags. He changed into a jeans and returned the bag.
Bukky lay back on the bed and thought about everything she had been through. She could still remember the day she moved in with her aunt and how her relationship with Gbemiga started and ended. She thought of how Chike had been by her side through thick and thin. She smiled as she recollected the way her akara business started, grew and expanded. God had been really good to her. In a few days’ time, she would be marrying the love of her life and they would be relocating to the United Kingdom. Her family would be ecstatic. Everything had surely worked out for her good.
“What are you thinking about?” Chike climbed the bed and lay by her side.
“Everything,” she looked into his eyes.
He smiled and drew her close. “I thank God for bringing you into my life.”
She smiled back at him, “I thank God for everything.”
“Where is my sweet kiss?”
She chuckled and looked away shyly.
“One kiss and we leave immediately.”
“Agreed,” she looked back at him.
“Oya, bring your lips.”
She grinned at him. The love in his eyes consumed her.
“One sweet kiss,” he leaned forward and brushed his lips over hers.
She closed her eyes and tried to still her racing heart.
He kissed her lightly, tasting her soft lips, drawn into the tingling sensations that ran down his spine. She kissed him back, fired up by the passion building up within her. He pulled away quickly and sat up.
“Let’s go now.”
She obeyed and got down from the bed. The kiss had woken every emotion she had kept under control for the past eighteen months.
“Mrs. Bukky Chike Nwosu.”
She glanced at him and raised an eyebrow.
“Where will you like to go and eat?”
She shrugged, “Anywhere, wherever you go, I go.”
“I see, so if I enter fire, you will jump and follow me?” he got down.
She chuckled, “Yes, na.”
She started to laugh. He reached out for her hand and led her towards the door.
“Let’s eat in the hotel. I am too tired to go anywhere else.”
“Okay. Wherever you go, I go.”
“Fine by me baby.”
They stepped out of the hotel room and walked down the corridor, hand in hand.