Gbemiga returned home for the Christmas holiday. Breaking up with Bukky had affected him badly. He loved the girl, but, he didn’t want to go against his family’s wishes. Moreover, his uncles and aunt were willing to sponsor his education. He couldn’t forego such opportunity. In the past, he had asked this same people for financial support, but they all turned him down. His parents were relying on him to take up the responsibility as the bread winner in the home. His sisters needed his support and everyone depended on him. If he had continued dating Bukky, it would have been seen as a selfish act and no one would be willing to understand his actions. He had to let her go. Maybe somewhere in the future, their paths might cross again and then, his family might be willing to accept her. He wondered how she was coping without him. he knew how hurt she had been when he left her. He had prayed to God to heal her heart quickly and help her to move on. He decided to visit her and see how she was doing. He wasn’t sure if she would be willing to speak with him. Nevertheless, he would try.
At half past seven, Gbemiga strolled to Bukky’s place. He heard her laughter before he got to her door. Who was she with? Maybe her aunt visited. When he got to the door, he heard a male voice. His tummy turned upside down. Who was she with? Instead of knocking, he went around the house and peeped through her window. He saw her seated on the bed, clad in a sleeveless pink top and a pair of brown black and white shorts. Anger brewed within him when he saw Chike seated beside her. What was he doing in her place at that time of the day? He wanted to speak with her. How was he going to get her so called friend out of the house? It would have been easy if they were still dating, but, he wasn’t her boyfriend anymore and he had no rights over her. He felt sad and angry at the same time.
He opened his mouth in surprise when Chike kissed Bukky. His blood began to boil. He marched towards the door, then halted. He thought they were just friends. That was what she kept saying whenever he stated his concerns about the guy. Did Bukky lie to him? Was she dating the both of them at the same time? He gave a shake of head. She wasn’t that kind of girl. Was it possible that they started dating after he broke up with her? Did she get over him that quickly? The thought made him to grit his teeth. He thought she really loved him. He thought it would take her ages to get over him, but, he was wrong. She had already moved on while he was still pinning for her.
He hissed and marched towards the gate. He wished both of them good luck.
On her parents’ wedding anniversary, Chike drove her to Ikorodu to celebrate with them. Her elder sister was also around. Her younger brothers were so happy to see her. The last time she saw them was at Kike’s wedding party. She introduced Chike to her family as the man she was going out with. While her father chatted with him in the sitting room to talk, Bukky, her elder sister and her mother talked in the kitchen.
“What happened to Gbemiga? I thought you two were inseparable” her sister teased her.
“He is a lost cause,” she didn’t want to talk about him.
Her mother paid attention to her, “What happened between the two of you?”
“He surrendered to the wills of his family and dumped me.”
Both women stared at her in disbelief. Bukky narrated the events that led to her break-up with her ex.
“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” her mother was upset.
“You should have told them that you now have a junior waec certificate. You are not an illiterate,” her sister was pissed.
“And the boy couldn’t defend you. The spineless he-goat,” her mother ranted.
Bukky opened her mouth and closed it.
“I hope this ibo boy is a serious somebody?”
She nodded quickly.
“He looks responsible. You said he will be graduating next year, abi?’ her sister asked her.
She nodded again.
“He is better than that… what is his name again?” her mother stared at her.
Her sister laughed, “Maami… see your red eyes.”
“I don’t like when people mistreat my children. If not for the situation of things, both of you should be graduates by now.”
“We know mum. It is well. All things will work out for our good.”
“Is he the owner of that car?’” her mother leaned forward.
“Yes. He bought it when he travelled abroad for his Industrial Training.”
“Eh-hen… better in-law. Not the likes of Gbemiga Phillips,” her mother hissed.
“He must have made quite a large sum,” her sister winked at her.
Bukky just smiled.
“Is He the one that bought the cake and drinks too?’
“Oya, oya, come and serve your husband food.”
She eyed her mother, “Which husband?’
“Chike of course,” her mother and sister chorused.
She eyed them, “Not until he pays my bride price. He is not my husband.”
“I hear you. Come and give him food. Hope he likes swallow.”
She met her mother’s questioning gaze, “That’s his favourite.”
Her mother dished a meal of pounded yam and melon soup in stainless plates, placed it on a tray and handled it over to her daughter who carried it into the sitting room. She placed it on a stool in front of her boyfriend.
“Thank you,” he grinned at her.
She smiled at him and glanced at her father. He seemed happy. Whatever they discussed must have turned out well. She returned to the kitchen to meet her mother and her sister.
At past seven, they headed back to town. Chike parked in front of her house and discovered that she was sleeping. No wonder she had been quiet. He woke her up and helped her out of the car. He led her to her apartment, sat her down on the bed and pulled off her shoes. She climbed into the bed and started to doze off immediately her head hit the pillow.
“Bukky, I want to leave. Come and lock the door,” he tapped her on the shoulder.
“Use your spare key,” she turned on her side, backing him.
“We are travelling to Owerri on Christmans eve to spend time with my family.”
She opened her eyes.
“I told your father that I am interested in marrying you and he told me to bring my people whenever I am ready.”
Sleep left her eyes. She sat up quickly, “Unbelievable.”
“I want my family to meet you one on one. I have already told them about you.”
She opened her mouth and closed it.
“I am planning our introduction ceremony for a week before or after my convocation. My family will be in Lagos and we will be able to kill two bed with a stone.”
She eyed him, “You have not even proposed to me, you are already planning our wedding.”
“I will propose officially on your twenty first birthday. By then, I would have graduated and I will have all the time in the world to spoil you,” he winked at her.
She smiled back at him.
“I love you Bukky and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Say it, I want you to say it,” he eyed her.
She laughed quietly, “I love you too Chilk and there is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with.”
“Perfect,” he learned forward and kissed her.