WRITTEN BY: OGECHI ALABI
Funke went back home for the Christmas holidays. Ebuka came back too. They were inseparable. They rotated each other’s houses. It was evident to all they were now officially an item.
Ebuka liked to hold Funke’s hand, pull her close to him, hug her and even kiss her on the mouth regardless of who was present. It was as though no other person mattered. Although Funke was shy initially, she adjusted to it and even looked forward to it. She hardly initiated it but she never complained about it.
Ebuka told his mother he was ready to propose to Funke. His mother felt he should hold on a bit before forging ahead. Ebuka wouldn’t hear of it. He discussed it with his father. His father understood young love but didn’t understand the hurry. Only Ebuka did.
It was beginning to be a struggle to be alone with Funke and nothing goes down. He wanted to be with her according to her desire. He was willing to respect her wishes but he could only do that when they got married. He couldn’t explain the rush to her, he was embarrassed. They went everywhere together including the church. They came to the church together and left together. It was glaring to all they were a couple.
Finally, he got an engagement ring and immediately after the new year, he proposed to her. It was a simple and very beautiful proposal. They went out to have ice cream. He had given the ring to the ice cream parlour to place in her ice cream. As they were taking the ice cream, she bit on the ring. Ebuka went on one knee and asked her if she would marry him. It was captured on video. She cried. She didn’t say anything except being teary. Finally, she stood up and helped Ebuka to his feet. She hugged him tight and whispered, “Yes, I will”. Ebuka was ecstatic. He announced she had said yes and then put the ring on her finger. He kissed his fiance in full view of everyone. It was beautiful seeing young love.
Funke’s father wasn’t too excited. “Why the hurry? Why do you want to truncate your destiny by getting married? Marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities, there is no need to hurry into it. Your career, for now, should take centre stage. Why do you want to ruin what you have going for you? With this love thing, your grades will drop. Ebuka will be a distraction. What if you get pregnant? I hope that is not the reason for rushing into marriage.”
“Dad! I am not pregnant. We don’t have sex.”
“Who are you deceiving? The guy that can’t keep his hands to himself hasn’t had sex with you? What do both of you do when you are alone?”
“We talk and plan our future. Ebuka is a nice guy and I love him. I know you feel it is moving too fast but you should remember you raised me to be smart. I know a good thing when I see one. Ebuka is the best person for me. All the other guys tried to get into my pants the moment they met me but Ebuka has never suggested it. He respects me. It may be one of the reasons he wants to marry me but I know he wants me for keeps.”
“He is Igbo. Igbo people don’t treat Yoruba wives well. What has his family said about it?”
Ebuka’s father was stunned when he was informed. “You proposed to her? You are serious about this girl and I am happy about it. But, isn’t it too soon? Why not wait until you start work before getting married?”
“You make it sound as though Funke will be waiting around for me forever. I have engaged her now and yes, I will wait until she rounds up her university education before legalising our union. But, I will not leave her to the wolves that will serve with her. I saw married women and engaged ladies fall for guys who only had an interest in messing up with them. The length those guys went to achieve it was unbelievable. I know Funke won’t fall for it but I am not willing to take chances.”
“You want us to do the introduction so the family is aware of our intentions and our full support?”
“Yes, dad. I don’t want her parents to consider anyone else. I want them to know we are serious.”
Read – In love with a mad man episode 4
“Is there something you are not telling me? Why the urgency? Is she pregnant? Do you suspect she is seeing someone else and want to mark your territory? There should be more to this than what you are saying.”
“It is not any of those things. I love her and I want to marry her. I am willing to wait until she graduates but I can’t wait longer than that.”
“Why? Something is eating you up. You can confide in me, son. Talk to me.”
“It is nothing, dad. It is between both of us and we have decided never to involve a third party in our relationship.”
“I am not a third party. I will advise you and it is left to you what you want to do with the advice. Spill it son.”
Ebuka thought about how to present this before his father without sounding like a weakling or a loser. He loved Funke and didn’t want to do anything to hurt her. He wanted to do everything right with her. He was scared his father wouldn’t understand and might misjudge her.
“Ebuka, tell me what it is, your secret is safe with me. Tell me.”
“Dad, I am sexually attracted to Funke.”
“Of course, it is obvious for all to see.”
“When we first met, she told me she didn’t want to have sex until she gets married. I don’t want to have sex with anyone else, only her. These days I find myself wanting more than kisses and cuddles. I’m scared to make a move and it is mistaken. That’s why I am rushing this. Once she is sure we are getting married, she might give in.”
Ebuka’s father could not believe his ears. His son hadn’t tested the goods he wants to buy. He wondered if this Yoruba girl hadn’t hypnotised his son. Is this real love of something else? He had seen them together often, he already liked Funke. She had portrayed herself in a good light. So why haven’t they checked if they are compatible?
“Ebuka, you have two options. One, talk to your fiance about it and let her know how you feel. She will decide if she wants to break her rule or not. Rushing into marriage won’t help the situation, both of you will be miserable. The second option is for you to satisfy your lust somewhere else until she is ready. That way you won’t be tempted when you are with Funke…”
“I can never do that. Why will I cheat on her just so I do not defy what she wants? I don’t think I can do that. I can’t even be with another girl. I just want her to be comfortable for us to be able to make love. Within the confines of marriage was her condition, I can’t wait that long.”
“It is either you are patient until then or you have the conversation with her.”
“After the introduction, I will talk to her.”
“Ebuka, she might not be as experienced as other girls you have been with. She is a homely girl, not wild. You might be disappointed when you have sex with her. Don’t change your mind then; remember you love her and she is for keeps.”
Ebuka smiled. He told his father, “I will never leave her. No matter what happens, she is for keeps. Let’s plan the introduction for the end of the month.”
“It is too soon. Plan it for Easter. When is she graduating?”
“Either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.”
“Easter is fine to start talks. Endure until then.”
Ebuka took Funke back to school before leaving for the airport. They had talked at length. She had told him what her father said about the marriage proposal and he also shared his father’s comments. They were happy everything was falling in place.
“I would like you to visit me in Abuja.”
Funke chuckled. She knew it was coming and here it was. “Why should I come? Where will I stay?”
“With me of course.”
“I won’t feel comfortable staying alone with you. You know that.”
“I appreciate your sincerity but we should move past that. Aren’t you in the least worried about what I could be doing in Abuja?”
“Doing how? Aren’t you working? Or is there something you are not telling me?”
“Aren’t you worried I might be seeing someone else? Don’t you want to know if I have another woman by on the side? What if I am cheating, wouldn’t you want to know?”
“Ebuka, are you cheating on me? If you are, we can end the engagement. I am not willing to run after you to catch you doing anything. If you tell me this is where you are, I believe you. It is the same with me. Once the trust is no more there, what are we doing? Have you been with another person?”
“I haven’t. I will never do that but I will like you to visit me. We will spend longer time together without hindrance. You wouldn’t be in a hurry to run home and we will not be bothered about what our parents think we are doing.”
“You want me to travel without telling my parents? I can’t do that.”
“You can. I am not a bad guy and I won’t do what you don’t want me to do. I just want to spend quality time with you in a comfortable environment. Please, I want to show you around town.”
“My uncle lives in Abuja, if I must go there, I have to stay with him. I can’t leave school to travel, it is not possible. Please understand.”
Ebuka was hurt by her comment. He said, “Fine,” and allowed it to end there.
When she got to the hostel, she expected Ebuka to kiss her as he did in the past and then hug her but he was withdrawn. She felt her refusal to come to Abuja was the cause. But in reality, he was deep in thoughts. She had picked up her things and had walked into the hostel when he realised she had left. He went after her. He saw her climbing the stairs, and he followed her. Before he could get to her, she was entering a room. He didn’t want to call out to her, instead, he knocked on the door.
Nkem answered, “Good day, how may I help you?”
“I want to see Funke.”
Funke hardly had visitors so Nkem was suspicious. She opened the door wider so Funke could see who it was. The shocked look on her face gave it away. They all knew who he was. Funke dropped the things in her hand to rush off but Esther’s comment stopped her in her tracks.
“Where are you rushing to? You were hoarding him as if we will snatch him from you, haven’t we seen him now?”
Funke had no choice but to let him in and introduce him. He smiled when she did that and the one-sided dimple she talked about showed. They smiled back at him as his smile was contagious.
“You forgot your kiss and I had to give it to you before I leave. I don’t know when next I will see you.” He pulled Funke close to him and kissed her on the mouth in front of everyone. He hugged her and whispered to her, “I love you.” Then he turned to the roommates and let them know it was nice meeting all of them. He hoped they would have time to get to know each other. He kissed an embarrassed Funke again and then left asking her not to bother seeing him off.
Nkem blurted out, “Everyone has found love except me. Wow, Funke, this guy is into you.”
“What!” the three friends exclaimed at the same time. They were excited and asked if she accepted and she said Yes. She brought out the engagement ring for them to see.
“Funke might get married before all of us here. Last to get serious boyfriend and fiance but first to marry.”
“Not yet. We are not getting married yet.”
“Why?” Nkem asked Funke.
“I am not ready. Ebuka wants it right now but I want to wait until I graduate. He wants me to visit him in Abuja.”
“And?” Nkem asked.
“I can’t travel to see him without my parents’ consent like he is proposing. I don’t want to be alone with him there without restriction.”
“Uncle Tobi is in Abuja. You can stay with him.” Nkem suggested.
Esther laughed out loud, “So she shouldn’t stay with the guy who kissed her passionately in our presence because she is scared he will devour her. He will most likely devour you, that is if he hasn’t. The guy has sex appeal. If you are not available, another babe will help keep him company until he comes back.”
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“God forbid! Esther, why are you so negative? Imagine the comment you made in his presence. Are you not seeing someone we haven’t met?”
“Seeing someone you haven’t met? Who is that?”
“It is not Jake but Efe. Have we met Efe?”
“What are you trying to say?”
“That you are still seeing Efe.”
“We are friends and not lovers, so what are you insinuating?”
“I am not insinuating anything. Let us meet your friends too. Can’t he come here to visit us?”
“You are trying to distract us from your relationship with Ebuka. Why did you remove the ring? You are hiding things from us meanwhile we are open with you. It is not your fault. Imagine bringing Efe into the conversation; how does it relate?” Esther stood up, wore her slippers and left the room.
Funke was irritated by Esther. She asked, “What is wrong with that one? She thinks I don’t know what she is up to. Anyway, it doesn’t concern me. I brought my topic up for discussion.”
Zainab spoke, “We agreed not to keep secrets from each other and we have done that so far but now relationships are getting serious, we are hiding details from each other. How do we support you when we know nothing? How do we guide you when you are concealing vital details? Esther has been open with us to an extent. She might perceive we will judge her that is why she has been silent about the Efe guy. We saw that chat together but we can’t talk about it, it is an invasion of privacy. If she doesn’t bring it up, we can’t talk about it. Ebuka is a fine guy. Listen to what Nkem said about visiting him while staying with uncle Tobi. Esther is also right, don’t give room for temptation. If he is ready, marry him so he can have access to your honeypot. Is that not what you are withholding from him?”
Both Nkem and Funke were shocked at Zainab’s comment. She was hardly ever vulgar and she reasoned deeply. They agreed she will consider it. As they were still talking, Ebuka called to say he was at the airport about to board. He told Funke he loved her and couldn’t wait to see her again. She told him she loved him too and she was waiting for him.