Noon

It’s day eleven in Mom’s house and I’m still sane. After the news of my pregnancy, I thought I would lose my mind but strangely, I haven’t. I’ve accepted my fate; I’ve decided to give it a try and see how well or bad I’ll fare in this phase of my life. I’m thirty five, unmarried, beautiful, successful, wealthy, with a new qualification added to my achievements, “soon to be Mom”. Sounds weird but I’m curious to see how it goes.

Mom had come to stay with me the whole of this morning. She had taken her time to talk to me about
the three stages of pregnancy, and had explained to me what to expect every month. She had even suggested that Darey be my private doctor so that he would be at my beck and call but I had immediately refused. I didn’t want that much intrusion from my family any more than they already have. I want to go through this process alone and savor every moment of it. This is a new world I’m stepping into and if I have to do it, I would need all the privacy I can get to focus and carry it well.

Mom had finally opened the door and had told Tinu to take me on a drive for fresh air. She had banned me from driving myself henceforth thankfully. At least, we agree on that level. I hate driving myself. So finally, I’ve earned my freedom. Tinu had driven me around the estate and then taken me to Shoprite just around the corner to see a movie. On our way, we shared small talk that gradually flowed into sensitive grounds.

“Tinu, how are you and Darey now?” I asked genuinely concerned
“We’re good as usual. No problem at all” she answered brightly
I looked at her closely to be sure she wasn’t hiding anything before asking “Are you sure?”
“Yes! Don’t worry, we never carry any grudge to the next day Sister Lola” she replied still smiling

I sighed and looked ahead shifting my mind to my own thoughts. Then Tinu said,

“I think you’ll be a great Mom to it Sister Lola”

That took me unawares and my eyes moistened as I shook my head at her,

“Naa, I don’t know about that. I’m a really selfish person. I’ve never liked kids and now, I’m about to have one. I don’t even know how I’ll be able to share my time with it”
She laughed and said happily, “I’m glad you just admitted that you’re a selfish person. You really are a pain in the ass you know.”

I laughed as well as I thought about what she said. Somehow, she was right but I just can’t help myself.

…………………….

Evening

It was about 7:30 pm and everyone was in the living room watching TV. It was sort of a significant moment for us all as that will be the last day we’ll have such an opportunity to be that close as a family again. Tomorrow is the 31st ; cross over night that meant that we all would go to church and pray our way into the New Year. No one dared miss that service because of Mom of course. Also, after the service, I would have to go back to my house and continue with my life which will be in a different way now.

So we all were enjoying a movie on African Magic when a car started honking it’s horn outside the gate. Mom asked Bayo to go and check cos she wasn’t expecting anyone. My aunts and relatives would arrive tomorrow for the cooking and New Year celebration. Bayo went out and after about fifteen minutes, he returned. Then he announced,

“Mami, there’s a man outside that wants to come and see you”

Mom turned around and looked at Bayo, the others did same but I wasn’t interested in whatever the stranger had to do with Mom. He’s probably one of the neighbors coming to thank Mom for the food we shared some days back. Mom stood up and went to meet the man outside then after a while she came in with the man. She was giving instructions to Bayo to take in a brief case and from the sound of her voice, it was obvious she was really excited. Curiosity made me turn to look at her cos I just didn’t understand what her neighbour had said to make her so happy.

“Lola, Jeff Oku is here to see you”

I was stone shocked when I saw Jeff standing there, tall, handsome and dark in all of his glory. He was wearing his business suit and was smiling at me. I quickly looked around at Tinu, Darey and the kids faces; they all looked shocked as well. I don’t know if it was about his looks or the fact that they couldn’t believe that I have a man in my life. I carefully stood up, walked to Jeff and dragged him to my room. I could hear everyone groan in a, “here she goes again” way but I didn’t care. I closed the door when we were inside and faced him angrily.

“What the hell are you doing here?!”
“Sweety Pea, I’m glad I finally found your Mom’s place. It wasn’t easy though.”He said pulling me into a bear hug

I immediately pulled back and shouted “Don’t touch me, you’ll hurt it!” and unconsciously, my hand went up to stomach protectively

Jeff looked confused as he asked “What’s ‘it’?” he asked

I almost bit my tongue in realization that I had spilled the bean too soon then I quickly removed my hands from my stomach. Jeff was too smart for my liking cos he was quick to smell a rat. I stuttered for the first time ever since I had know Jeff.

“The…the… question is why are you here? I…I… didn’t ask you to come so why are you here?”

He was looking at me strangely, not answering my questions but I continued as I remembered the stupid box of chocolates. I went to my wardrobe and brought it out.

“Here, have your stupid box of chocolates”  I shoved it at him

He took it, opened it and went on his knees. My heart skipped and I was rooted to the spot in shock. I have been with an engagement ring in my closet for days without knowing it!

“Lolly, I actually sent you the chocolates on purpose. I knew you wouldn’t open the box so I sent it anyways cos I wanted to do this in person. I know you don’t love me enough to want to give up your freedom for a life with me but I love you just the way you are. You are annoying, over bearing, selfish, and a pain in my neck but beyond all of that, I see a beautiful soul who’s got a heart of gold. And Lola, no matter how hard you try to make yourself look insensitive and difficult, I want you more.”

I had to stop him before he said anymore, “Trust me Jeff, you don’t want a life with me. I’m a hand full. You of all people should know that!”
“And that is what I want Lola. I feel incomplete whenever your drama doesn’t come in it’s regular dose. All I want to do is love you the way I always have. I need you to complete me. Please, say yes…just say yes and let me handle the rest. Please…”

I stood quiet, refusing to say anything. Just then, the door burst open and Mom stormed in shouting and removing her head scarf to tie around her waist. She looked funny as she stared shouting,

“Lola, you better say yes o! You better say yes! This year must not pass you by. Oya, se kia!”

I was laughing so hard already and then I said yes. Jeff sagged to his knees with relief and Mom ran out the room screaming.

“Lola is married o! Lola is married!”

I heard them in the living room screaming for joy as well. Oh Mom! The apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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