“I called to talk about the reason you were crying. You’ll have to st©p wearing makeup when we get married, since I can’t afford to have you ruining all my clothes with your makeup whenever you cry.”
“I alre-ady said I wasn’t crying.” Kimberly snapped at him.
“It doesn’t matter if you were. I’m sorry I left my phone behind and got you worries. I’m sure your imagination must have been on overdrive and you would have @ssumed I was avoiding your call because I was no longer interested.” Eric said while looking at her face with a solemn expression on his own.
“I wasn’t worried..” Kimberly said, trying not to look so t©uçhed by his genuine concern for her.
“I’m not going anywhere for the next one year Kim. I’ll move in with you tomorrow and be there until our deal is done. So you can st©p being so worried.” Eric added.
“I’ll have your room re-ady. Is there anything you think you might nee-d in the room that’s not there?” She asked curiously.
“Yes. Just one thing.”
“What?” Kimberly asked looking at him intently.
“You.” Eric said, and smiled as he watched the confusion on her face gave way for a wi-de smile when she un-derstood what he was saying.
“Kim, for the next one year I only want to make you smile. And the only tears I want to see on your face are tears of joy. So try not to cry too much. I don’t feel good whenever you cry, especially when I’m not there to wipe your tears.” Eric said ma-king Kimberly’s eyes tear up. Was this [email protected] of their deal or was he being genuine? She couldn’t help but wonder.
“I said no tears, Kim.” Eric warned when he saw her eyes glistening with tears again.
“How can I not cry when you say such things?” She asked with a shaky smile.
“You know what I feel like doing right now?” Eric asked as he kept looking into her eyes.
“I want to pat your hair. And then watch you fall asleep like you did yesterday.” Eric said ma-king her look away shyly. If this guy was a pla-yer, then she was done for. Her heart was just jumping up and down, and this wasn’t a good sign.
“Eric… I don’t think you should say such things.” Kimberly protested.
“Why? Because it scares you?”
“I told you Kim, within the next one year I’m going to make you experience what marriage should be like. Before you decide you don’t want something, you should at least have an idea of what you’re rejecting. Now go clean off that make-up and have some rest. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.” Eric said with a grin, and hung up before she could say anything.
Eric sighed the moment he dropped his phone on the be-d. This wasn’t a good sign on his own end too. It was ba-rely three days and he was feeling so protective of her alre-ady. Yeah he knew he liked her and cared about her really much, but saying cheesy things about wanting to pat her hair and watch her fall asleep was something entirely different. The fact that he had even meant it, bothered him more than he cared to admit. How was he going to be able to genuinely help her if he started feeling this way about her? The last thing he wanted was to fall in love with her and end up getting all caught up in his own emotions if she made a mistake. How would he be able to help her if he starts feeling hurt and jealous when she sli-ps as he knows she would likely do within this year?
He couldn’t believe he was having these thoughts just within three days of meeting her. Why did she have to be so sweet and fragile anyway? It would have been easier for him had she not been so soft, yet pretending to be strong.
Eric was interrupted from his musings by the sound of his ringtone. He picked up the phone when he saw it was Chuka, “My big man friend!” Eric tea-sed Chuka ma-king him chuckle.
“Nna ehn, rich man life sweet die! Omor! I just dey hear people dey complain of heat meanwhile AC wan finish me with cold. From AC house, to AC car, to AC bathroom!” Chuka said ma-king Eric bur-st in laughter.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself while I’m sweating my @ss off in this your room. Common I better [email protected] my neighbor generator, you don’t even have.” Eric said wryly as he wiped off the sweat on his forehead.
“Did I s£nd you to make that dangerous bet with your father? Abeg go back home like the prodigal son, and leave suffer for people wey get am. I support your father o. God knows I can’t taste this life and go back to that my yeye house.” Chuka said ma-king Eric chuckle again.
“Anyway sha, that’s not why I called you.” Chuka said, his voice suddenly sounding very serious.
“Hmm.” Eric could vaguely guess what Chuka wanted to say, but he prayed he was wrong.
“Amaka called me today and was asking for your house address. Did you see her today? How did she know you’re even in Lagos?” Chuka asked ma-king Eric sigh. He had suspected that she would do that since she always used to [email protected] him messages throu-gh Chuka back in their University days.
“Yes I ran into her today. What do you know about her now?” Eric asked wanting to see if Chuka knew of her relationsh!pwith Kimberly.
“I only know she is married now. Her name is now Amaka Abamba…. Wait, it’s not the same Abamba as Kimberly, right?”
“It’s the same Abamba.”
“Seriously? Are they sisters?” He asked ma-king Eric roll his eyes.
“When you open your mouth sometimes I just doubt if there’s a [email protected] in your head. Was Abamba her surname when you knew her in school?” Eric asked ma-king Chuka pause with a frown on his face.
“You’re right. Her surname was Olise. So they’re like sister in-laws? She’s married to Kimberly’s brother or relative? Abeg tell me what you want to tell me st©p stressing me.” Chuka said irritably when he couldn’t come up with anything.
“She is Kimberly’s step mother. As in she is married to Kimberly’s father.” Eric said, ma-king Chuka to whistle.
“Wait o! You mean your ex is the step mother of your wife? See me see super story!” Chuka exclaime
After Eric’s call with Chuka, he decided to give his mother a call and seek her help. No sooner had he dialed her number before her voice [email protected]£ on, “Tunde Eric Obasan!”
Eric rolled his eyes, “Do you always have to call my name as if we are quarrelling?”
“Yes o. We’ve been quarrelling since you embarked on this mission. Why can’t you just st©p being stubborn like your father?” She asked ma-king Eric sigh.
“Are you re-ady to hear what I have to say or should I just end the call and mind my business?” Eric asked in a threatening tone.
“You’re just stubborn. Oya talk to me, I’m listening.” She said with a sigh of resignation. She really hoped he was calling to tell her about the girl Wumi had mentioned he had been hanging out with earlier that day.
“Well, I hope you’re alone? What I’m about to say is confidential.” Eric said ma-king his mother look around her to be sure no one was around her or coming out.
“Yeah, I’m here by myself. Is there a problem?”
“Well, I figured even if I don’t tell anyone this, I have to at least tell you, since you’re my confidant.” Eric said ma-king his mother’s brows pu-ll together in a frown.
“What is wrong?”
“I’m getting married tomorrow.” Eric said ma-king his mother sit up.
“What? What do you mean by that? How can you do something like that without your family? Besides you can’t even marry anyone when I haven’t even seen her nor approved of her. Where will you get the money from? Don’t tell me her family approves of such a marriage without the cons£nt of your parents?” She asked in confusion.
“Are you done?” Eric asked when he s-en-sed she had run out of questions.
“No I’m not. Answer these ones before I continue.” She snapped at him angrily.
“You’re ma-king me begin to regret calling you…”
“You can regret if you want to regret! How can you take such a bold step without us beside you? You’re my only son for crying out loud! I have a right to…”
“Can you just allow me talk? I will end this call and change my line if you keep being this way. What is this nau? Are you the one that asked me to call you before I did?” Eric asked, beginning to sound annoyed.
From the sound of his voice his mother could tell he wasn’t ma-king a mere threat, “Okay. Fine. I’m not going to apologise for my out bur-st, but I’m willing to listen.” She said with a sigh.
“It’s not a real marriage. It’s like one of those arranged marriages, and just for a year too. I’m not paying her bride price or even taking her to church.” Eric said ma-king his mother frown.
“Wait, what’s this about? Are you trying to get married just so you can survive for the year, and win the bet? You don’t have to go that far you know?”
“It’s not for me. It’s for her. Her father is a politician and is contesting for the Lagos State gubernatorial election and wants her to get married…”
“Why? Is there a law that states that the daughter of a governor can’t be single?” She asked, cutting in before he could finish.
“Well, not exactly. It’s just that she’s a little on the wild side…”
“Wild? What do you mean by wild?” She interrupted again.
“This brings me to the reason I called. I nee-d to get her a very good thera-pist. Like someone who could help her get over some psychological problem.” Eric said ma-king his mother frown when she heard the concern in her voice.
“Are you sure this whole thing is fake? To you?”
“Are you sure you’re not getting alre-ady involved with her?” His mother asked, beginning to sound worried.
“I don’t know mom. All I can say at this point is that I really care about her, and I just want to help her.” Eric said ma-king his mother sigh. She could tell that it was either he was in love with this lady alre-ady or halfway there.
“I guess she must have made quite an impression on you, for you to be feeling this way. Who is she? And who are her parents? Just how wild is she, and what kind of help does she nee-d?” She asked curiously.
“She’s the daughter of s£nator Abamba. I suspect she suffered some sort of S-xual abuse as a kid, and now it’s ma-king her kind of promiscuous.” Eric said honestly.
“Promiscuous! Come on Eric, how can you be in love with her?” His mother asked, as every Nigerian mother would ask.
“I never said anything about being in love with her. And how come you jumped the [email protected] where I talked about her being abused as a kid. Come on mom, you know better than this.” Eric said, sounding very disappointed in his mother.
“You didn’t have to say it, I’m your mother and I can s-en-se it alre-ady. And knowing about the effect of S-xual abuse on women doesn’t st©p me from being concerned about my only son!” She snapped at him.
Eric took in a de-ep breath, “If you think I’m in love with her, then you should know me well enough to know I’m capable of ma-king my own decisions. And if I decide she’s who I want, then I’m going to go about pursuing her relentlessly. So it’s either you’re going to help me help her become the kind of daughter in law you want, or I can go about it my own way. And if I decide to go about it myself, don’t blame me for never confiding in you again. The decision is yours, so make up your mind.” Eric said ma-king his mother draw in a de-ep breath.
She knew her son well enough to know he wasn’t bluffing. “Do you think she is willing to change? Can she change?” She asked hesitantly.
“If I thought it was a dead end, do you think I would be trying to help her?” Eric asked ma-king her sigh again.
“Does she have any idea who you are?”
“No. I’m just Eric King to her. She doesn’t know anything else [email protected] from the fact that I used to work with iGlobal.” Eric said ma-king her sigh.
“Tunde, I really hope you know what you’re doing. You could get hurt, you know?”
“Yeah, I know. It’s just for a year. If she’s unable to change in this duration I would move on after our contract and not bother about it.” He promised his mother.
“But you would be hurting the whole time if she keeps living promiscuously.” His mother pointed out.
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. I could be hurt, but I won’t let myself suffer from it. Don’t worry about me, I won’t even let her know I care about her that much, so it would be easier to leave if things don’t go as planned.” Eric promised, trying to @ssure his mother that he would be fine.
“And if she changes? Can you live with her knowing her past?” Her mother asked.
“Mom, are you going to help me, or not?”
“Fine. I will help you. At least can I get to meet her once? She doesn’t have to know I’m your mother.” She pleaded.
“I’ll have to find a way to work that out. Just help me get the best thera-pist you can find.” Eric pleaded.
“We both know I will. As long as it makes you happy.” She promised.
“Thanks mom, I knew I could count on you.” Eric said with relief.
“But you know I have to let your father and sister in on this, right? We can’t keep it from them.”
“Keep what from us?” Chief Obasan and Wumi who had just returned from their evening exercise asked.
“Are you sure dad won’t make a big deal out of it?” Eric asked his mother with concern.
“I will take care of it, don’t worry too much. I’ll call back tomorrow and let you know what’s up. I love you.” She said before disconnecting the call.
“What was that about?” Chief Obasan asked as he moved further into the living room.
“plea-se don’t seat on that couch with your sweaty b©dy. You should both go in and clean up.” She said looking at them repulsively as they dr!pp£dwith sweat.
“We don’t have to sit down to hear you. What’s up with him? Is he coming back?” Eric’s father asked, waiting to hear her answer in the affirmative.
“No. He is getting married tomorrow. A fake marriage.” She quic-kly added when she saw their facial expressions.
“A fake marriage?” Both Wumi and her father asked in unison.
“Yes. I’ll give you the details after you clean up. I can’t talk to either of you while you’re looking that way.” she said with a shake of her head. She nee-ded to at least check out who Kimberly was so she could know how much she could tell her husband.
WATCHOUT FOR EPISODE 48