(My heart desire)
BY BLESSING SILVER
“What’re you doing here, Greg?” Leona asked, giving him a straight look.
“Do I need to give a reason before visiting my wife?” He asked. “I’ve missed you”
“When you’re done talking rubbish, you can find your way out” Leona reached for the door, ready to bang it on him..
“Wait,” Greg called before she could close the door “Are you always so feisty?. Well, your dad invited me” he said and Leona’s brow narrowed as she turned to look at her dad.
“Dad, did you invite Greg?” She asked him.
“Oh..is he here already? Yes, let him in” he said and Leona rolled her eyes at him before moving away from the door. He walked in and closed the door.
“Hello Mr Terence” he greeted, walking to where he was.
“Hey Greg. It’s so thoughtful of you to come check up on Leona” he said and Leona at once knew what he was trying to do.. she saw the facial conversation and understood it immediately.
“If I don’t check up on my wife, who will?” He said, giving Leona a knowing smile that irritated her.
“Okay okay,” Leona stepped in “what’s this wife thing again?”
“Honey, since you’ll be getting married to Greg, I thought it’d be nice to invite him for dinner and maybe you both should hangout and get to know each other better after it” her dad answered and she cocked her brows at him.
“Dad, I made it clear already that I will not marry him. I won’t” she said intently.
“But we talked about this Leona, we agreed on it” he had barely finished talking before Leona answered.
“No dad,” she said “You agreed on it alone. And I’m not doing it. That’s my answer again” she said.
“So you don’t care about me huh? JT? Your mother? Do you only think about yourself?” He asked and she scoffed.
“I care about everything and that question about selfishness, You have no right to ask me that, I’ve always done everything for you and on heaven’s name I’d have done this. But I’m not ready to commit myself to a lifetime pain and suffering, Greg’s only after my body, he doesn’t even love me. He’s only doing this to satify his crazy insatiable urge!-
“That’s not true Leona,” Greg shortened her words “I love you and you know it”
“You lying scumbag,” she didn’t expect herself when her palm moved to his face in a slap “Why don’t you just say the truth? And even if you love me as you claim then I don’t love you and I will not marry you!” She said plainly before walking past her mom to the stairs, Elisabeth followed her.
Jesse turned to Greg with a placating look.
“This is the end Jesse” Greg said, rubbing his cheek with a furious look on hus face..
A lady just slapped him! He can’t even remember when last that happened and that’s because it never had.. Leona had such guts and right now it irritated him.
He’d give her that grace until their wedding night.. he’ll make sure she gets more than just a slap! .
“No Greg, please. I’ll talk to her more, trust me son, she’ll accept. Just give her more time to cool off” he said.
“I can only give you two days. No Leona, No deal”
“I thought you said you love her? Why can’t you give her time to accept you. Love isn’t something that comes in two days, if you love her then you’ll wait for her” Jesse said.
“I love her so much and I can’t wait to have her, that’s why I’m in a hurry.
Take your time Jesse” he said before walking to the door and out of it. He smiled to himself.. Leona’s is a very fiesty type and he could only wonder how good she’ll be on his bed.. He just can’t wait to experience it.
Leona stayed on her bed, staring into space and going far at thoughts.. it had felt good to finally feel her palm on the crazy bastard in a way that caused him pain.. he must’ve taken her for a fool or something or probably think all girls were like his other sluts..
“Honey,” her mom called and she transported back to reality, realizing her mom was beside her..
“I’m fine mom, really. I don’t know why I’m crying but I know I’m fine” she said.
Her mom sighed softly. “Your dad-
“I’m tired mom,” she cut her off “Dad won’t stop unless I do. Maybe we need to give each other some space. I’ve never seen a father that only acts all innocent and caring just to get something from his daughter, I’ve never seen a father that only thinks about himself, a father that doesn’t make his child’s happiness his priority!. I’m tired of everything mom, this house, dad, work.. I’m just fed up!” She said.
“I understand. What do you want?” She asked.
“Can I be alone for now?” She asked and her mom nodded before standing up.
“Call me if you need anyhing” she said and Leona gave her a slight nod. She walked away. Leona wiped her tears, hating her fragile self. She’s supposed to be strong, confident and piqued, not teary. She sighed and stood up.. Walking to the window, she pulled it open and let the wind wash her.. hoping it could cleanse all her weak feelings.
Feeling her numb legs, Leona walked to her bed and settled herself on it..
An hour passed and Leona still found herself staring into space, all iota of dizziness vanishing. She glanced at the time on her phone, it was few minutes to eleven. She stood up from her bed and walked to the bathroom, she turned the faucet and washed her face with the water.
She grabbed a towel from the rail and dabbed her face with it, walking back to her room. Getting to it she saw her phone turned on and a missed call from Damien.. she looked past it and finished wiping the water off her face when her phone started ringing again. She wondered why he should be calling by this time.. isn’t he sleeping or doesn’t he think she might be sleeping. Leona sat on her couch before answering the call.
“Damien?” She called wheezily.
“Um hi. Sorry if I disturbed your sleep”
“I wasn’t sleeping. Was about to though” she said “And why aren’t you sleeping and calling me by this time?” She asked.
“I can’t sleep, that’s why” he answered.
‘Me too’ Leona thought.
“You’re calling me cos you can’t sleep? What do I have to do with your sleeping inability?”
“Sorry,” he laughed nervously “I just- I have something I need give to you” he said. “Can,” he paused, arranging the words allover “Can you spare five minutes before going to bed?” He asked. Leona brows lowered.
“Why? You want to come?”
“Is it that important?”
“Well, to me it is and it’s now or never” he said, making Leona more inquisitive but she saved her curiosity for later.
“Um okay. But I don’t think the security will let you in. Yo-
“I can sneak in to your balcony. I’m sure it won’t be that hard to climb” he said.
“Um..O-kay. Five minutes counting” she said and he hung up.
Leona dropped her phone to think.. she knew she shouldn’t be having these thoughts but it was too obvious.. what if Damien is..a thief and is coming to rob her house like Amelia had once said. She shook her head but another thought popped in.. what if he was using her to get to her house and–
Leona shook the thoughts away again. She don’t trust Damien but she doesn’t suspect him to be a thief either. Leona sighed.
If he was then he must be a good one.. Leona stood up, leaving her towel on the couch, she grabbed her jacket, pulled it on and turned off her lamp, unplugged it and grabbed it. If truly he’s a thief then she could at least defend herself with it before he’d get to anything.
She glanced back and caught a peek of the flowers granny had given her, the lily resting on top.
‘Sorry Damien but I can’t take any chances’ she thought.
She walked to the balcony and held the rail, watching for him..
Three minutes later she saw something fall off her fence and then she saw him rest on her fence, her eyes lit up and he jumped down.. she nearly yelled, thinking that he might’ve hurt himself since the height from the fence wall to the floor was kind of big.. He didn’t stand for the first five seconds but he stood up the next second and bent to pick up something. Leona didn’t know when a relieved sigh passed through her lips.. Recollecting herself, she tightened her palm around the lamp handle, bringing it to her other side.. what if he has a pistol or something with him, she can’t trust him yet. He started walking toward her, he stopped when he reached her balcony.. he waved at her and slowly she returned it, still holding onto her lamp. She saw him pull a ladder to reach her and began climbing the steps. Getting to the first, he held onto the rail and dragged himself up before lifting a leg and crossing the other beside it.. he jumped down with a hard breath.
“Hi,” he breathed out to her. “Am I late?” He asked and Leona stared at him, trying to read his expression and search him for any harmful weapon but she only saw the bouquet in his palm.. Leona almost sighed in relief when another thought hit her.. what if his weapon was in the flowers.. thieves can be really smart but she was smarter. He followed her gaze after the silence treatment and long stare she gave him and he saw her looking at the bouquet he held.
“Oh.. for you” he stretched it to her and she gave him a look before taking it.
“Thanks” she said slowly, with a sigh.. he was obviously harmless. She smiled at him, bending to drop her lamp, she held the bouquet with her second hand and sniffed it.
“And your five seconds late” she joked and he laughed.
“I’m sorry” he said, moving to stand beside her.
“Do you want to come in or-
“No.. it’s better here” he said and she cocked her brow at him.. he let out a short nervous laugh. “I-I’m not saying I don’t want to stay in your room cos it’s bad or I think it’d be uncomfortable, I-I just think we should stay here cos I’m kind of muddy from that fall and I don’t want to get your floor, chair or bed stained” he rushed his word..
Realising he sounded too fast and some of his words got mushed up, he added. “Sorry. What I’m saying is–
” I understand ” she cut him off, laughing and he laughed too.
“That jump really hit you hard in the head” she said and he laughed more.
“Honestly, it was a difficult fence” he deadpanned, increasing her laughter.
“Don’t tell me you came here to give me flowers” she said .
“No,” he paused and reach into his pocket, grabbing a colourful card, he handed it to her and she took it, examining it..
“A movie ticket?” She asked.
“Yes and before you ask I didn’t buy them, I won them. It’s kind of a promo offer.. Get fifty stickers, win two movie tickets, I’ve been saving them for five months.
I could’ve gone alone but I have to go with someone else, the card will be forfeited and I won’t be allowed to use it at the cinema if I don’t. I could’ve gone with Granny but she’s not much of a movie person and she’s an early sleeper. I couldn’t think of anyone else to go with..but you” he said, slowing the last part. “Do you have plans tomorrow?” He asked in a calm tone.
“Yes,” she said and his once enthusiastic expression turned to a disappointed one. “I have work tomorrow and Amelia and I kind of have a girly outing after it” she said with a placating look. His frowned, disappointed.
“Sorry” Leona added, stretching the card back to him.
“Yeah, it’s okay. I’ll just give have to give them out to someone else” he said.
“So you came all the way here by eleven PM in the night to give me a movie ticket. Why didn’t you just bring it tomorrow with the cupcakes?” She asked.
“Cos I know your mom would be there with us.. I don’t think I’ll be able to ask you with her there” he said and Leona laughed.
“You’re scared of my mom?” She asked.
“No! No. I just thought it’d be kind of improper or loopy” he said with a twitched face.
It’s good he hadn’t chose tomorrow to bring it, her mom definitely would’ve misunderstood.
“And since I couldn’t sleep, I thought I could just do it now and probably get to see you too” he said and Leona faced the card back, rubbing it.
“I can’t sleep too” she said, looking at him, his brows raised questioningly at her. “It’s not that I have something to be awake for or someone.. I just can’t get myself to sleep.. I just keep thinking” she looked ahead, holding the rail back. He moved to stand beside her.
“Did something happen?” He asked and Leona gave him a quick glance and moistened her lips.
“Not really, it’s just my dad and his sicko demands” she said.
“Is it the marriage stuff again?” He asked and Leona was about asking him how he knew about the marriage but she remembered that she had once told him about it in the past. She nodded slowly.
“So, we’re kind of broke and-” her voice trailed off. Maybe she shouldn’t be saying this to him, for the record he’s still kind of a stranger and..
*Yeah, a stranger you confidently let into your balcony by this time of the night, a stranger you invited to your home and a stranger you had once wanted to kiss* her subconscious hit her and she sighed.
“My dad owes money and he thinks getting me married to a rich guy’s the only way to clear it off” she let it out. ” And I think it’s crazy cos he won’t even take my no for an answer. It’s so frustrating and-” she sighed, calming herself. “For the past five years I’ve done nothing but obey him and do all he wants but this one thing I don’t want to do, he takes it as a big deal and he’s allover me!” She said. Almost not believing she had just said all her family life and problems to a not-so-familiar person, things that even her best friend doesn’t know about.
She gave him a questioning look, trying to read his expression.
“Am I a selfish person?” She asked, not knowing why but recollecting her dad’s words.
“They’re only three selfless people I know in this world and one of them is you.. I’m not going to judge your dad or anyone, I’ll just ask you this instead.. When was the last time you let your heart decide?” He asked. Leona sighed, obviously not expecting the question.
“I don’t know. High school?” She said with narrowed brows, thinking. “It should be when I had my first boyfriend, I dated him cos Amy and my other friends wouldn’t stop calling me a nerd. I wanted to experience how life with a boyfriend felt like” she said.
“That wasn’t your heart decision Leona, that was your head. When your heart decides you know that it’s something you must do, you feel like you’re nothing without it and like a loser, like it’s something you must do and not just ‘might’ and your heart wouldn’t stop pulling you towards it” he said, Leona left her gaze on him.
“If that’s it then I don’t know.. But I know I still have plans on being a lawyer even after so many years”
“That’s a heart decision. Leona,
You’re smart, you’re young and intelligent. Following her father’s words is the right thing any child should do but you’re no longer one, you’re an adult and as adult you should start creating a path for yourself too. I’m not saying you should disobey your dad or leave him, I’m saying that parent’s can’t always be right, your dad can’t possibly be correct in everything. They’re some things you should decide for yourself, especially when you feel that they’re the right things. I don’t know your dad or how strict he maybe but I know that once you keep doing a person’s demand continuously then they won’t stop wanting you to do more..
Let your heart decide for you and while doing it remember that marriage is a lifetime commitment, the vows are something you’ll keep for the rest of your life. They’re lot of blissful marriages and I’m sure yours is out there too if you care to search.. Do what your heart wants!” He concluded and Leona felt herself warming to his words. They were real, wise and enlightening.
“Thanks” Leona said, smiling. He reciprocated.. “This,” she raised the movie ticket to him “What time is it happening?” She asked.
“Eight in the evening” he said. “Why? You’ll come?” He asked, suddenly enthusiastic again.
“I should be home before then but if I don’t fall asleep then I’ll go” she said and he laughed.
“Trust me, it’s an interesting movie” he said and she nodded.
“You’ll have to pick me up” he said.
“With all pleasure” he replied, making her laugh.
“Is that a lamp beside you?” He asked and Leona turned to the lamp then slowly turned to him, biting her lower lip nervously and thinking.
“Yes,” she answered slowly. “I-it’s faulty so I brought it here” she said and he nodded.
“Is it the bulb?”
“Um..yeah, yeah the bulb” she answered, uncomfortable with her lies .”I’ll go drop this inside” she said, referring to the flowers and he nodded. She walked to her room and created space in the vase before leaving the flower beside it.
A knock on her room door startled her. The knock came again..
“Honey, are you sleeping?” She heard her mom’s voice. “I saw your room light on” she said.
“Um yes mom. I uh- I’m just sitting” she said.
“Can I come in?” She asked.
“What? No, no. I’m about going to bed” she said.
“Are you talking to s-
Leona quickly placed her index finger on her lip, shutting Damien up and he read the sign and stopped himself from completing his words.
“Is someone in there with you, Leona?” Her mom asked.
“N-no. It’s my TV talking” she said.
“Open the door, I want to see you” her mom said.
“That won’t be necessary mom, I’m fine and I’m sleepy” she said.
“I know you’re hiding something Leona and if you don’t open this door this moment, I’m getting the spare key” her mom said and from the sound of her voice, Leona knew she’s dead serious..she couldn’t think of another cover-up lie. And for the first time, Leona regretted why she wasn’t a good liar.
Leona slowly turned to Damien who had a worried expression as her..she sighed before slowly walking to the door and unlocking it.