Eric had been so sweet, why had he been so callous all of a sudden? It galled her to think of the fact that he had probably been pretending then just to get her defenses down in order to sleep with her Well, he had succeeded but just that once because she wouldn’t be a fool for him again.
She couldn’t help the feeling of betrayal she felt towards all of them for having fun without her She shook it off though It wasn’t their fault that things hadn’t worked out between her and Eric She held herself from calling Zinny, Marvy and Dave over the weekend.
Collins called and they hung out He was his usual charming self but she was so distracted by what she felt was going on in Port Harcourt without her that she was poor company He was very disappointed but there was nothing she could about it. They rescheduled the date for another day.
She was surprised when Dave didn’t ret-rn on Sunday evening but came back on Monday morning She couldn’t talk to him because he had to go to work Oleng couldn’t stop herself from going over to his place that evening though it was late.
She couldn’t dispute the fact that she wanted to hear all the details however gory it might be to her.
When she got to his place, she was ushered in by a smiling Dave She refused his offer for a drink After a minute silence, she asked,
“Well, how was it?”
“It was cool. I had a wonderful time.” He simply said.
She waited but when he didn’t say anything, she said, “Well, aren’t you going to give me the details?”
He was surprised. “You really want to know?”
“Duh! I wouldn’t have asked na.”
“Alright.” he said smiling. “It was great It was wonderful We had a lot of fun. We went to Genesis and spent the wh0le night talking and fooling around The following day, we went to Eric’s house and spent the wh0le day there It was awesome You need to see Eric now.
If you thought Eric was handsome before then you are mistaken now because he is drop dead gorgeous, no homo He’s taller; his skin is glowing more than ever.His slight accent of those days is now more pronounced.
Eric is now a big boy He works in a major construction company over there.
He’s planning on coming back to Nigeria to settle down permanently
That guy has girls drooling over him.
Everywhere we went, they didn’t bother looking at Eddy and I He was the centre of attention but you know Eric not being a womanizer, didn’t even have their time. He had eyes for us alone.He even…” he rattled on but stopped all of a sudden and looked at her.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go on and on about Eric like that I forgot that…he trailed off.
With a light shrug she said, “It’s okay.”
“We had fun like we used to do back then but it wasn’t the same without you We missed you but we all kept it to ourselves.”
She nodded and cleared her throat. …didde…I men did he…” She couldn’t ask the question. She looked down at the floor.
“Did he ask of you?” he guessed.
She nodded her he.
Dave looked away. “No, he didn’t and we didn’t want to ruin everything by mentioning you Zinny made a slip and mentioned your name once The silence had been deafening Eric’s phone had saved the day by ringing then I tried… I tried to talk to him about you but there was no time for that. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” she said again and smiled a little So he hadn’t dimmed it fit to ask of his ex-girlfriend She didn’t blame him though He probably had a string of girls over there considering the way Dave had described him, so why bother about an old flame?
She imagined if she had been there with them It would have been She was so disoriented that she picked up her phone and started playing with it while Dave stared at her in silence She mistakenly hit her dialed calls button and began calling Dave ’cause she had called him before coming over.Before she realized what she had done, his phone had already started ringing She was astonished when the ringing tone was,‘My first love’ by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.
Dave looked at her in horror She looked at his phone which was beside her on the sofa and of course saw, ‘My only love’ which she had seen at her last visit.
Dave quickly took the phone and ended the call He got up and walked away from her with his hands in fists saying, ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!”
After a while, Dave turned around to look at her and said, “Hmm…you’ve finally found out.Yes, you’re my first and only love I’ve loved you from the very day I set eyes on you; from that moment Eric introduced you to me but I couldn’t show it How could I show the love I felt for my close friend’s girl? I had to hide it and have hidden it very well over the years I won’t lie to you, I’ve had series of girlfriends over the years but you’ve always remained on my mind as my first and only true love.
When I heard you and Eric had broken up, God forgive me, I was secretly joyous but then you disappeared When I found you here again, I thought it was fate bringing us together and even though I wasn’t particularly happy that you now hated Eric with a passion, I felt it gave me a chance with you but you kept seeing me as a brother, breaking my heart further. That was why I was always very hurt any time you introduced me as your brother or just a friend I swore that you would never find out I was prepared to take my secret to the grave but life can be funny. See the way you found out, by mistakenly calling my phone in my presence.” he narrated softly. Oleng was more than dumb founded.
She just sat there staring at him. He walked up to her and sat down beside her. He held both of her hands in his.
“I won’t lie to you, Oleng. I love you. I love you very much. I’ve always fantasized about you being my wife but I’m not going to push you or rush you I know you probably still have some feelings for Eric despite your hatred but please try to consider me Think about the love I have for you and try to see if we can have a future together Please.” he pleaded passionately.
Oleng continued to stare at him in bewilderment She couldn’t bring herself to say anything Zinny and Marvy had really been right.
Please say something.” he said.
She cleared her throat and opened her mouth but nothing came out,She tried again.
“I really don’t know what to say…when Zinny and Marvy told me you had a crush on me back then, I thought they were joking Nevertheless, I watched you but you never gave any indication that I was more than a friend to you so I thought they were mistaken When I was here last week, I was surprised to see that you had saved my name as, ‘My only love’ in your phone yet you didn’t say anything until today…and you wouldn’t have if I hadn’t mistakenly dialed your number.” She looked bamboozled.
“Oleng, you know I’m reticent and kind of shy, I couldn’t bring myself to tell you for fear of you rejecting me. You didn’t help matters either by always telling your friends that I’m either a brother, a close friend or just a friend.” he accused.
“That’s because I’ve always seen you like that.” she defended.
“Can you see me as a boyfriend?”
“I don’t know. You just sprung it on me this evening.”
“I understand. I’ll give you time to think about it.”
“Okay…emm…I think I’ll take my leave now.” she informed him, standing up.
“I hope I’ve not chased you away.” He stood up also.
“Of course not.” She gave him a small smile.“It’s getting late and I’m tired.”
“Alright. Hope I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“You bet.” she said and laughed a little but it was forced.
“Lemme take you home.”
“No. Don’t worry. I’ll take a taxi.”
“Really.” she smiled falsely again. She just wanted to get the hell out of there.
When he had seen her off and returned to his house, he used his fist to hit the wall That had not been the way he had planned on telling her she meant the world to him He had made a mess of things He castigated himself He had the fear that not only had he driven her away but ended their friendship as well.
Oleng kept thinking on her way home She was still amazed at what had happened. Immediately she got home, she called Zinny.
“Zinny, guess what.” she said with excitement.
“I said guess.”
“You just won an American visa lottery?”
“Of course not.Though it’s close to it. Dave just professed his love to me!” she exclaimed.
“It’s a lie!” Zinny exclaimed. “Really?”
“Yes.” she said and went on to give her the details.
“Wetin you go do?”
“I don’t know. Believe me, I’m confused.”
“Why don’t you give him a try? Dave na nice guy o!”
“But I don’t feel anything for him. He’s like a brother and good friend to me.”
“Love grows; that’s if you give it a chance.”
“I don’t want to hurt him if the love never grows.”
“Then tell him that. Tell him you’ll give him a chance but he shouldn’t get upset if you don’t eventually love him.”“Do you think he’ll accept that?”
“Just try am jor! Frankly speaking, I think you’ll get to love him that is if you don’t already. Maybe you don’t know it yet but now that he has proclaimed his love maybe yours will come to light.”
“I hope so because he’s really a nice guy and I don’t want to hurt him.”
“Don’t worry, time will tell, Mrs. Sokari.” she teased and they both laughed.
“Oleng, I intended calling you before you did I want to apologize for not telling you about the small get together we just had Dave told me you were hurt at been left out. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright, Zinny. Afterall, I told you not to tell me anything about him I must admit that I felt bad at first at being left out but I got over it So how was it?” she asked with false cheerfulness.
“It was cool Eric is something else If I wasn’t already in love with Eddy, I would have fallen in love with him.” she laughed and Oleng found herself laughing also though not from her heart She was sick and tired of hearing her ex-boyfriend’s virtues.
There was a minute silence before Zinny said, “Oleng, he asked of you.”
Oleng became breathless. “That’s not true Dave told me he didn’t ask of me and when you made a slip by calling my name, he didn’t say anything but was saved by his ringing phone Who am I to believe?”
“It wasn’t a slip. I called your name intentionally to see what he would say but he didn’t say anything Later on when I went to pee, he followed me and after a little preamble, he asked after you. Where you are, what you’re doing and so on.”
Oleng was silent at that. She couldn’t believe her ears.
“Oleng, all this while, I saw him as a monster but after speaking with him, I realized there’s more to it than what meets the eye concerning your break up.”
“Really?” she replied in great doubt.
“Yes. He gave me the impression that you broke up with him. He said…”
“What? That I broke up with him? That filthy liar! He wanted you to feel sorry for him and you fell for it How could you? After all I told you he did to me? Unbelievable.” She felt betrayed.
“No, you listen. I know he came back to Nigeria all flashy and all but I refuse to forget what he did to me You weren’t there so I don’t expect you to understand. He wasn’t there when Mrs Akpan made life a living hell for me He wasn’t there when I was jeered at by my cousin or when people whispered about me when I went to the hospital for antenatal or when I carried his bastard for nine months or when I was in labor or put to bed or when I discovered the baby was dead Where was he?” she scre-med bitterly. “And now he has the guts to lie that I broke up with him! He can be the most handsome, richest and successful man on earth but to me he is just a loser for abandoning me when I needed him most.”
Zinny couldn’t help the tears that gathered in her eyes at the pain her friend had gone through.
“I’m sorry,” was all she could say.
Oleng calmed down. “I’ve to go now. I’ll call you some other time Bye.” she said and ended the call in a perfunctory way without waiting for Zinny to say good bye too.
She was thinking deeply when her aunt came into the room She sat down on the bed and enveloped her in a bear hug.
“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I heard you yelling so I had to come and find out what was upsetting you”
“I promised myself not to get worked up over him again but I couldn’t stop myself He hurt me so much and now he goes about saying I’m the one who broke up with him and not the other way round.”
“Don’t mind him He has probably realized his folly of yesteryears and to save face, he has to claim you broke up with him.”
“How can he do that when he knows what he did?” She raised eyes full of pain to look at her dear aunt.
“Like you said, he’s just a loser…tell me one thing though, you still love him, don’t you? I mean you still have feelings for him.” She looked into the eyes of her niece as she asked.
Oleng shook her head vigorously. “No. I just have this deep hatred for him for not only dumping me but lying about it as well If I could see him now, I’d shoot him between his deceitful eyes without a second thought.” she vehemently told her shocked aunt.
“Oleng!” she exclaimed. “Don’t ever say such again. You can’t take his life even though he was mean to you Don’t even think of such things not to talk of actually saying them.” her aunt looked scandalized.
“I just told you my mind.” was what Oleng simply said leaving her aunt to stare at her in fright.
Aunt Vien started thinking of who would tell her where she could find a good psychologist because Oleng desperately needed one before she would do something very foolish that could ruin her life.
She remembered what her sister had told her that fateful day.
Oleng was really a very passionate person She loved and hated passionately.