Fredrick knew he needed to act fast after his discussion with Ikem.
It was obvious Ikem was thinking of going back to Ugochi, and he wasn’t so certain the kind of reception he is likely to receive. Although, Ugochi had been very emphatic about not getting back together with Ikem, one can never be sure as love is a very funny business.
He had called her immediately after the party and scheduled a lunch date with her. Her time is much more valuable now that she’s gone back to work. He didn’t want to waste time, he would have preferred a dinner date instead. Well, he has to work with what he has.
Ugochi was waiting for him by the time he got to the restaurant at Ring Road. They hugged and sat down.
“It’s good to see you, Fredrick.”
“Good to see you too. I have missed you.”
“Yeah, you know that cannot be avoided. What have you been up to?”
“Nothing much. Just settling in with the folks. Getting to know them better.”
“That’s great. I’m happy for you.”
“And Ikem? Have you been able to settle your differences?”
“Yeah. We spoke at length at my welcoming party.”
“Oh, that’s great news. I’ll hate to see you guys drift apart.”
“I’m not sure we can have a very good relationship. Not after the way he treated you.”
“Come on Fredrick. Anybody can make a mistake. If I can forgive him, I’m sure you can too.”
“Are you saying you’ve forgiven him?”
“Sure. I have to if I want to move on.”
“That’s very selfless of you.”
“It’s not about being selfless. It’s just self-preservation. I don’t want to hold so much hate in my heart.”
“So, it’s not because you still love him?”
“Fredrick, you must remember that I was with Ikem for more than three years and in those three years, he never once maltreated me. It would be difficult to forget all the good times because of one bad incident.”
“I can’t believe you, Ugochi. You know once a beater, always a beater right?”
“I don’t believe that. At least not where Ikem is concerned.”
“Really? I can’t believe this.”
“Fredrick, why are you so dead set against your twin?”
“I just hate women beaters, regardless of the fact that he’s my twin or not.”
“I understand you but I assure you Ikem is not like that. I don’t get your antagonism.”
“Maybe it stemmed from the fact that I like you. You must know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do.” Ugochi sighed. “But what do you imagine will come out of that?”
“I imagine you’ll at least give me a chance?”
“I can’t do that, Fredrick. I’ve been with Ikem, I can’t be with you too.”
“Why? I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
“To me it is. I just can’t.” she looked away
“So, that’s a no?”
Ugochi looked at him sadly. “Yes, it is. I’m sorry.”
He shrugged. “It’s okay. For what it’s worth, I think Ikem will come back to grovel very soon.”
Ugochi just smiled. Their conversation became stilted after that and after a few minutes, they parted ways.
Ugochi was not sure what will happen between them after that but she wished the friendship can continue. She valued Fredrick’s friendship too much to lose it over something as trivial as a failed attempt at love.
The next day, the last thing she thought would happen was a visit from Ikem. But alas, there he was at the door to Dawn’s house. Ugochi was dumbfounded.
He had in his hands a beautiful bouquet of red roses, and his face showed his deep remorse. Ugochi wasn’t about to be appeased with just a bunch of flowers and a sorry look though.
“What are you doing here, Ikem?” she asked rudely. Fortunately, Dawn was not home or she would have walked him out immediately.
“Can I come in, Ugochi? Please?”
“What for?” she frowned
She reluctantly opened the door wider and allowed him come in. She indicated a chair that was a bit far from the sofa she chose to sit in. Ikem sat with a contrite look on his face. Ugochi simply ignored him and stared at her phone.
“Ugochi, these are for you.” He said indicating the flowers.
“What for?” she asked, without looking up.
“Just a small token to say I’m sorry.”
“A little too late, don’t you think?”
“Ugochi, look at me, please.”
She looked up. “Yes?”
“I know I messed up. I know, and I’m so sorry. You know me baby, you know I’m not that guy.”
Ugochi just stared at him, tears trickling down her face.
Ikem went to kneel down in front of her and took her hand. “Please, baby? You know we had a good thing going before I messed it up with my jealousy. There’s no excuse whatsoever for my actions and I’ll not try to give you one. The only thing I can do is promise to spend the rest of my life treating you like the queen you are. I’m really really sorry.”
Ugochi snatched her hand from his and stood up. She walked to the window and stared out, seeing nothing. Finally, she turned back to him. He was still on his knees.
“The only question I have for you is why now? We’ve been apart for weeks with no word from you. Why did you suddenly feel you can come back now?”
Ikem looked down. “Because of Fredrick. He made me realize I’ve been a fool all the while.”
“I can’t believe this.” Ugochi shook her head. “Because of Fredrick? So, if Fredrick had not convinced you there had been nothing between us all along, what would have happened?”
“I don’t know baby. That’s why I said I’m a fool. My irrational jealousy made this happen between us.”
“And what will happen the next time you feel irrationally jealous? What happens then?”
“I promise to listen to you first before taking any action.”
“And that’s supposed to reassure me?”
“Yes, Ugochi. We’ve been together for a number of years and you’ve provoked me many times without it resulting in laying my hands on you. I don’t know what came over me but I will make amends even if I die trying.”
“Don’t you get it, Ikem? It’s not the act itself that has me so bothered. It’s the fact that you stayed away for weeks on end, never contacting me for once. How do you think that made me feel?”
Ikem hung his head. “I don’t know what to say.”
“I guess we are at an impasse. Before we can go on, I have to be absolutely sure that such will never happen again. Until then, you’re on probation.”
“How long of a probation?”
She shrugged. “We’ll see.”
“Oh babe, that’s harsh.”
“I guess. But that’s what it’s going to be.”
“Okay then. We can work with that.”
Ugochi knew she can never be sure what the future holds. She also knew her friends would be disappointed in her for the choice she’s making, but her heart is still with Ikem and we can’t help who we love.
Sometimes, love can be beyond reason.
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