Tue. Feb 13th, 2024

Chidubem who preferred to be called Dubie proved to be patient, kind and very loving. He spoke to me every day. He talked about his day. I had an itinerary of his activities daily and I gave mine without any prompting from him. He visited me once every month with provisions and some foodstuff. It was easy to accept anything from Dubie as he preferred to be called with his loving smile. We went out whenever he was in town to eat and hang out.

 

I noticed each time he came he never checked on Chidera his cousin. When I asked him, he said he didn’t want her to know he was making progress with me. I found the reason he gave weird. Also, I observed, she had never asked me if he called or came around. I decided to ask her and also get to know more about him. He had been a complete gentleman so far but I had to know more about him. I set out to achieve that.

 

I met Chidera and asked her about her cousin Chidubem. She looked confused to me. I told her this guy told me he saw me when he came to visit her and she gave him my details. She said truly, she met two guys in town in December when she was preparing to close for the holidays. They offered to pick her from school. The guy ‘toasting’ her and his friend came to her room. The friend saw me and became interested. I told him you were not interested in a relationship as your marriage recently ended.

 

“That guy is a charmer. He made me enter the room and there I gave him your lowdown. He told me that was all he needed. I haven’t seen him again since then”

 

“What of the guy he was with, are you both still dating?”

 

 

“We never did. He came once before I finally went home. We didn’t talk again since then” I opened my phone and showed her Dubie’s picture. “He’s the one. My roommate was tripping for him but he was only interested in you. I didn’t know he will actually come after you”

 

“Can I have his friend’s number?” She gave me the number.

 

I was uncomfortable. I had let my guard down. Why didn’t I investigate all this while? What if he was a serial killer or a ritualist or a kidnapper or he was sent by Jacinta and Ugonna to seduce her and then expose her? She was upset with herself for not asking all this while.

 

I didn’t know what to do or whom to ask for help. I began to think of the best way of getting information from a guy without him knowing I was doing that. I wasn’t skilled at that at all. Chiamaka came to my mind. She was in Abuja and streetwise now. I called her and confided in her. “Give me his friend’s number, I will get you all the information you need”. I quickly obliged her.

 

Three days later, she sent me messages telling me everything about Dubie.

 

“The friend said he is a good guy. He is the only son of his widowed mother. He loves and adores his mother but takes his own decision. He learnt his trade from his mother’s brother and right now he is bigger than the man. He is a Master’s degree holder, he recently completed the Master’s degree from Lagos Business School. He has never been married. He dated a girl for five years but she broke his heart and married someone else. The guy wasn’t even half as rich as Dubie was. He wants to marry a girl not for her looks but for her intelligence. He is seeing a girl that fits his desire.”

 

“According to his friend, he is a good guy. He is very mature and friendly. He hardly has enemies and doesn’t get angry. By the way, he is from Anambra state, Onitsha to be precise while his mother is from Afikpo”

 

I had gotten all the information I needed. His resumé still looked very good but I began to fight off a feeling that became overwhelming. Why did he have to lie to me? Why did he have to give me the impression he knew me through someone? Did he have ulterior motives? I had to wait to hear from him.

 

 

I reduced my interaction with him and blamed it on schoolwork. I stopped responding to his early morning messages. I didn’t read his itinerary or post mine. Dubie is a smart guy. He sensed something was wrong and came visiting. I came back from my shift that afternoon and behold I saw Dubie walking my way. I called Chidera before he got to me and asked her to come. When Dubie got to me, he greeted me and behold Chidera arrived just in time. Dubie didn’t recognize her anymore since they met just once months earlier.

 

“Dubie, don’t you know your cousin Chidera? Chidera, isn’t this your cousin?” I asked as Dubie was looking confused.

 

“Cousin? He is not. I met him with his friend. They gave me a ride to school and that’s it” Chidera replied.

 

“She is not my cousin” Dubie replied, “thanks for helping me locate her,” he said to Chidera with finality that she had to leave. He turned to me still smiling, “Let’s go in and talk”

 

Dubie had a way of controlling me without me realizing it. I opened my door and he came in.

 

“Is this why you have been behaving strangely towards me? Because of her? You should have just asked me and I would have told you. What’s the worse that can happen? I told you she was my cousin so you wouldn’t feel she was diverging information about you to a total stranger. I saw you and liked you, that’s it”

 

“You should have told me. You have should confess it to me”

 

“It escaped me while I was having fun. I honestly forgot I hadn’t. I am not happy with the cold reception you were giving me these past few weeks. I thought you were involved with someone else and I came to find out”

 

“If I was, I will tell you straight up”

 

“We have been on this for five months. You are in your final year now. Do I still have to wait until you graduate before we can be official?”

 

 

“I am not ready to jump into the arms of another man while my ex is still hanging on. There is nothing between us but he is still there and he is there because of his sisters. I want it to be two years before I move on. I don’t want to rush. He needs to get the message. At the same time, I have a reputation to keep. By the way, how will Onitsha people feel about you marrying a divorcee?”

 

He was shocked. “You have investigated me thoroughly. They don’t have a say. I was raised by my mother and her family why my father’s brothers and sisters took over everything he had. I am making money to buy back everything my father owned from them and then sue them to court. I will mess them up. My mother’s family are my family”

 

“I don’t think it is right. You have to relate with your father’s family. How did you know they took over everything?”

 

“My mother told me”

 

“Did you try to find out yourself? Have you gone there to ask them for your birthright? Go there and you might hear something entirely different and you can reconcile your mother to her late husband’s people”

 

“Are you trying to say my mother lied to me?”

 

“No. I am saying she was young and heartbroken. She could have misread intentions and ran away. I know Onitsha people don’t take over their brother’s property; they are not known for that. I have checked”

 

“You investigated for me?”

 

“No, I wanted to be sure all you told me was true”

 

“Well I didn’t lie”

 

“You are twenty-six. You will be twenty-seven this year. You told me you were twenty-eight. You have a Master’s degree; you made me preach about going back to school. Why did you do that?”

 

 

“I wanted to get to know you before opening up about everything. You married a guy ten years older and a guy three years older comes along. You are used to a more mature guy so I had to tread softly. I like you very much and I want to be with you. I don’t want you to dismiss me for any reason. That’s why I did all this”

 

“Can you ow tell me the truth? I will love to hear it from your mouth”

 

“I am Chidubem. I was born and bred in Lagos. My mother is a widow; my father died when I was ten years old. She never remarried. I went to a private primary school. I attended King’s College Lagos. I went to the University of Lagos where I studied Business Administration. I concluded my Master’s degree in February this year from Lagos Business School. I am from Onitsha but was raised by Afikpo family. I am twenty-six years old. I have never been married. I have my own business and I am comfortable. I am in love with a girl who is still indecisive if she wants to be with me. I am willing to wait until she is ready no matter how long it takes; I have age on my side” he made the last comment with a full-blown smile.

 

I was tempted to kiss him at that moment. I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was s£xually attracted to him. What I don’t know now is if I just missed having s£x total. It hadn’t been a struggle for me to stay without it; I had stayed three years without it and nothing happened. I knew we couldn’t be left all alone otherwise if he made any attempt, I would fall.

 

My phone rang and jolted me out of my stupid thoughts. I answered the call without looking at the caller id. It was Emeka. I couldn’t believe it.

 

“Baby, I want to get you a pair of Christian Louboutin’s for Uju’s wedding. What is the colour of the dress so I can get them?”

 

“Loubu what?”

 

“Christian Louboutin”

 

“Who is Christian Louboutin?”

 

“He is a shoe designer. Just tell me the colour of the dress”

 

 

“But I don’t want anything from you? I don’t want shoes. Emeka it is over now, stop trying to buy me back. Please now” I stood up and excused myself to talk to him outside.

 

“But we are friends. We were lovers. I miss you. I miss your body. I can do anything for you. I still love you”

 

“Where are you now?”

 

“My contract has ended; I am back in Spain”

 

“And you don’t have any lover?”

 

“White girls are not as sweet as you”

 

“I find that disgusting you know”

 

“Have you been with any other man? Was he better than me?”

 

“I was a good girl before you spoilt me. I have gone back to being a good girl”

 

“You are waiting for me. I will be attending the wedding. I book a hotel where we will stay away from the prying eyes of others”

 

“It won’t happen Emeka. Tell your sisters to bring Chisom to make you happy. I have to go now; I have a visitor” I ended the call.

 

As I stepped into the room, Dubie said to me, “Your ex doesn’t want to let you go”

 

“He derives pleasure in taunting me. Don’t mind him”

 

“You don’t taunt someone by buying the Louboutin shoes. Do you know how much those cost?”

 

“I don’t. I don’t care. I don’t need shoes. I will tell my aunt to et me a pair of shoes when it is time”

 

 

“Whose wedding is it?”

 

“His cousin. She wants me to be her chief bride’s maid”

 

“His cousin?”

 

“We are friends. She was the lady I was taking pictures with after New Year Mass if you remember”

 

“I think so, although I don’t recall her face. You are a good person”

 

“Tell that to my ex sisters-in-law. By the way, would you like to attend the wedding with me? It is in October. She has taken my dress size body measurement. She is providing the dress and I have to get the hair, shoes, etc. I’ve asked her for a list of things I need for my ‘job’ and she promised to send them”

 

“You will make a great Chief bride’s maid. She is sensible to have chosen you. Let me take you out” He stood up from my bed and then he stopped and asked me, “ I noticed you didn’t respond when I said I was in love with you”

 

“You said you were in love with a girl. You didn’t mention my name”

 

“Do I have to?”

 

“Yes, I can’t make assumptions”

 

“I am in love with you”

 

“That was fast. I like you but I’m not in love. Bear with me”

 

“But you like me and there is a probability you will fall for me. I have to work harder”

 

I laughed. I enjoyed his company each time he is already. This was the first time we discussed anything romantic. He was a businessman to the core. He talked more about his travels and the places he had visited. I loved listening to him. It was

 

 

because of his stories I was interested in living abroad. Even more, I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to visit many countries and experience their culture. He ignited it in me. That was one desire I heard very close to my heart.

 

By August, the first semester of final year was over. I began my project and didn’t have much time for socializing which I explained to Dubie. He asked me for the list from Uju and I refused to give him. I gave them to auntie Nneoma instead. She got me everything when she travelled. Uncle Emma was still abroad. I called him as often as I could.

 

Uju called me up with gist. Apparently, Ugonna came with a suitor for the introduction. The guy is a returnee and was madly in love with her. Everyone was excited as she would be settling down soon.

 

“The guy has collected the list and all. Their wedding is in December. She has been carrying herself like a peacock. The boy’s family is very prominent. Didn’t they check? Didn’t they research? How will he marry Ugonna with what she did to you? Anyway, you didn’t spread the news of her being her baby killer but someone else might just do it. I told Adanne if her in-laws hear what she did to you, they back down. But she said you were caught in adultery so it doesn’t count. I have kept quiet”

 

“Isn’t it better she marries and leaves the house than she stays back and becomes a nuisance? She should marry so that the wives will be at peace”

 

‘You are too kind. It is too much. You don’t want to take revenge?”

 

“Why should I? Vengeance is of the Lord. I just want to live a good and righteous life”

 

“Righteous. Emeka still has an interest. He is coming back for my wedding and also Ugonna’s. He wants you back but I know his sisters don’t want. So, he wants them to leave the house before he makes a major move. I’m just telling you about his plans. I told him you have vowed to come back but he wants you”

 

“He is a joker. What of Jacinta? Has she remarried and moved out?”

 

 

“She had a major misunderstanding with Chibuike’s wife. Chibuike sent her away from his house. Her father asked her to either go back to school or go and learn a trade. She is in Lagos with Adanne”

 

“She is staying with someone. I hope she uses her the way she used me”

 

“They will fight soon. I know them, they will fight”

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