On Trial – Episode 25
© Onyinyechukwu Mbeledogu
Kaira finally logged out of her Facebook account after spending hours on it. The events that had played out in court had gone viral. And just as Tega had predicted, so had the fact that Laide had been pregnant before the alleged rape with speculations as to who the mysterious boyfriend was. Someone, most likely Tari, supplied that information.
Well, she forgot to add the part where she shoved a wine bottle into her ‘friend’ out of jealousy and made her go the police to report a rape!
‘I won’t be surprised if she was the one who ensured that the requisite payments were made for the doctored reports and switched samples,’ Kaira murmured as she changed into a red, yellow and black knee length Ankara dress. She pushed her long feet into her stiletto heeled sandals.
Laide had called Koje the same day the suit was discontinued and dismissed. He had listened to all she had to say and then told her he wanted nothing more to do with her. Her secret had taken priority over his personal liberty and she had to right to use Tari as an excuse when she could have easily talked to him.
A few days had passed since Koje was discharged and acquitted. She hadn’t seen much of him which wasn’t surprising. He was giving her the time she needed to make up her mind about being with him. She had finally forgiven Ekene and was ready to move on with her life and there was only one man she destined to be with. But first she had to see Aunty Wunmi who was in town. They would be having a celebratory dinner together that night and Aunty Wunmi had insisted that her Godson, Timileyin, who had picked her up from the airport should be part of it. The famous Godson Aunty Wunmi had been hoping Kaira would meet and fall in love with.
‘You know, you are just the woman my Timileyin needs to keep him out of trouble,’ Wunmi had told Kaira three years earlier in her Lekki home. ‘But my darling boy first needs to realise he’s an adult now and not the child I used to bounce on my laps and give everything he wanted.’
Kaira smiled. With the way Aunty Wunmi went on about her Godson and how perfect she believed Kaira would be for him and vice versa, Kaira was surprised Aunty Wunmi hadn’t gotten Timileyin to reach out to her yet especially since he was resident in Port Harcourt.
‘Timileyin told me about this new place in Port Harcourt. He says their food is excellent and better than wasting money eating ‘carbs’ in a hotel,’ Wunmi had said when she called Kaira that afternoon. ‘He says it holds fond memories for him.’
‘What’s the name of the place? I might know it.’
‘I know that place.’
She had gone there with Koje on the date-that-was-not-exactly-a-date.
‘Great. So you’ll meet us there. Just take a taxi. Timileyin will drop you at home after he has dropped me off.’
Ever the matchmaker, Kaira had thought.
‘I’m staying at his place for the duration of my stay here,’ Aunty Wunmi had continued.
‘You do know that if he intends to see another woman, your presence in his home wouldn’t be a barrier, right?’ Kaira had stated the obvious.
‘Let me see him try.’
‘He’s not four years old, you know.’
‘He’s still my Godson, that hasn’t changed. Besides he’s completely in love with you.’
‘Are we still talking about the same person? Remember I haven’t met him before.’
‘That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know you.’
Kaira considered driving down to Sally’s Delight and saving Timileyin the trouble of driving her home but she thought better of it and took a coloured taxi to the venue. She would have to think of a good and believable excuse to get out spending time alone with Timileyin.
Wunmi was waiting for her, dressed in a long silk gown that did justice to her big hips. She held the younger woman in her arms for a full minute.
‘I’m always proud of my girl.’
‘And I’m always a proud mentee,’ Kaira responded. ‘Where’s Timileyin?’
‘He’s making a call. Let’s go inside.’
Wunmi chose a table and made Kaira sit adjacent to her.
‘How exactly do you expect me to engage in female gossip from across here?’ Kaira asked.
‘Engage in unis£x gossip then,’ was Aunty Wunmi’s simple response.
Wunmi’s eyes suddenly lit up as she looked over Kaira’s shoulders. Kaira’s nose twitched at the scent of the familiar cologne and she immediately turned around, almost falling from the chair, her eyes wide. The man in the black suit and pale blue shirt stopped on his tracks as their eyes met.
‘It is a lie!’ Kaira exclaimed.
‘Okay, Godmother, you played me this time,’ Koje chuckled. ‘You should have told me we were dining with Kaira instead of letting me protest all the way down here, thinking you were trying to pair me up with one of your friends’ daughters in Port Harcourt.’
‘Why ruin the surprise?’ Wunmi returned unapologetically.
‘You’re Timileyin?’ Kaira gasped.
‘That’s my middle name,’ Koje told her. ‘And Godmother-dearest is the only one who calls me Timileyin.’
‘I gave him that name,’ Wunmi said with a sense of pride. ‘Oluwatimileyin – God is my backbone. A name works for its owner, don’t you agree, Kaira?’
Kaira was still staring at Koje and then she started laughing. She and Koje had been played. Aunty Wunmi had killed two birds with one stone. Getting her to represent Koje and knowing that they would constantly be in each other’s company as a result.
At least she didn’t have to find an excuse to leave early, Kaira smiled, rising to her feet as Koje walked up to her.
‘It’s good to see yo.u again,’ she told him, her heart racing.
‘Same here, ife mi ,’ he responded with that smile she had missed. ‘And now that I know you’re the same woman my dearest Godmother here has been hinting me about, I have no intention of letting you out of my life. Ever.’
‘And you shall have no protest whatsoever from me in that regard,’ Kaira responded with a smile. She couldn’t believe how much she loved this man.
Their eyes held for a moment, their hearts speaking to each other. He sat on Kaira’s left and Kaira reached for his right hand beneath the table and squeezed it gently, before entwining their fingers, grateful he was left handed. Koje smiled at her, leaning towards her. His lips pressed gently against hers, his cologne assaulting her senses.
‘I love you,’ he whispered against her lips.
Her eyes widened for a moment and then she whispered back the words he had waited for so long to hear.
‘I love you Koje.’
Wunmi was temporarily forgotten but she didn’t mind. She was glad her matchmaking plans had worked for good. The love radiating from the lovebirds was as thick as concrete. Her boy deserved to be happy and so did Kaira. And after the hell Koje had just been through, Wunmi had no doubt in her mind that Koje would be wasting no time in proposing to Kaira.
Grinning, Wunmi immediately took her phone out of her purse and went straight to her WhatsApp page. She scrolled down to her chat with Koje’s mum and typed a new message:
Good news, my dearest friend. We have a wedding to plan this year. Our boy has found the love of his life.
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