HE SAID NO
Grace emptied the food packs that her friend brou-ght in one after the other, there were 4 plates. She li-cked herl-ips at the sight of the well balanced and spiced chicken. Amifel [email protected]£ with more than enough food and drinks for both of them. She also brou-ght her portion of the yummy cakes served at the [email protected]
“This looks yummy,” Grace said as she got set to pounce on the food pack with the largest chicken. She sat on the floor, so she could enjoy her meal better.
Amifel saw her complimentary cards pack on the wooden table where she left it in the morning.
“My card pack, I was looking for it at the [email protected] and I was scared that I probably misplaced it. “
“I thought you left it on purpose.”
“No, jare. I just made this batch and it would take a while to get another.”
Amifel undressed excitedly, she seemed to look different from the way she sounded earlier, Grace looked at her throu-gh a corner of her eye and she used the other eye to focus on the delicious meal in front of her.
“Is there something I need to know?”
“Like what?” Amifel asked as she re-moved her gold dangling earrings.
“I don’t know, you tell me.” She said, the stuffed rice in her mouth gave her voice a funny sound.
“Nothing, really…” Amifel grinned.
“Let me guess, was your money doubled?”
“I wish.” She chuckled.
“So, what could it be, because, for someone reluctant to go to that wedding [email protected], you seemed to have enjoyed yourself.”
“Well?” Grace asked impatiently as she paused her meal for a while. “Talk now!” Amifel laughed heartily.
“You are not serious, when you are re-ady to talk, let me know. “Grace continued as she resumed her meal. “But this rice is delicious sha, the chicken was properly grilled and well spiced.”
“The chicken is a little too spicy for me,” Amifel commented as she changed into her white towel and headed for the bathroom door.
“I didn’t forget that you have not told me why you are excited oh.”
“Why are you talking as if it is a crime to be happy. Do I need a reason to be happy!” The sound of the running tap made Amifel’s voice sound faint but Grace heard all the same.
“Even though you tried to act smart, I can still figure out that you are a little too excited for someone who practically dragged herself out.”
“Leave me alone!”
“I have left you oh.”
In a few minutes, Amifel was done bathing, and she was mopping her b©dy when she started.
“The MC was such a clown.”
“He must have really made your day.”
“What is this one saying…”
“So, he is responsible for that glow you [email protected]£ in with.”
Amifel shrugged. “Well, not exactly, or maybe not directly.”
“Okaaay… it is indirectly.” Grace chuckled.
“Would you let me talk?”
Grace kept quiet and Amifel could hear the silent go-ahead in her silence.
Amifel sli-pped into her cream-colored nightgo-wn as she settled beside Grace who had demolished the food before her in less than 20 minutes. She picked one of the food pack and opened it as she started relaying all that she experienced at the wedding, starting from when the MC called her out, Grace laughed at her at the point when she said, she almost tr!pp£don the stage.
When she got to the point where she shouted at the young man.
“Abah! Why did you shout at him now? Is it his fault that the MC joined the both of you together?” Grace rebuked her after she emphasized that he was a fine gentleman.
“You can’t blame me, I was [email protected] and he was a [email protected] of it.”
“Do you know maybe he was [email protected] too?”
“Well, maybe but he didn’t look like he was.”
“Not everyone is good at showing their emotions.”
“Yeah, but I went back to apologize.” She continued, with a mouth full of chicken as she told her about how they reconciled. “He asked me for my complimentary card.”
“But he claimed it was for business.”
“Yes na, a lovely relationsh!pis a serious business,” Grace chuckled and she blu-shed.
“That was when I discovered that none was in my purse.”
“Ah! The devil is a liar!”
Amifel laughed lightly, Grace was such a clown. “Yeah, it pained me sha but I gave him my phone numbers instead.”
“Uhn uhn.” Grace cleared her throat.
“Nothing.” She giggled. “So, what’s his name?”
“Same way I exclaimed,” Amifel said, laughing.
“Oh wow. Isutoyan? What on earth does that mean?”
“I’m not really good with Yoruba but from my little knowledge of it, ‘Isu’ means yam, ‘toyan’ well, I don’t know what that means.”
“Yoruba girl that does not un-derstand Yoruba, what a shame.” Grace jested.
“I am not a Yoruba girl madam! I am a proud Igbo girl, “
“But your mum is Yoruba.”
“Yeah, and my dad is Igbo, that makes me an Igbo lady.”
“As if you un-derstand Igbo too.” Grace hissed slightly “Why didn’t you ask him.”
“I wanted to but I cautioned myself, I mean, we ba-rely just met.”
“It’s true though, so you won’t start sounding like a parrot.” Grace chuckled.
At that point, Amifel was about to hang her teeth on another hvge chunk of her chicken and this made Grace salivate.
“Give me small na,” Grace said as she made for her plate just beside her. Amifel hit her hands.
Amifel gave in to her request as Grace bit a mouth full.
“I’ll ask him later when he calls.” Amifel continued. “Or if he calls.”
“He will call. He must call.” Grace laughed still chewing [email protected] “I don’t know him but I like him alre-ady.”
“I can’t wait.” Grace screeched.
“You have to. It is too early to jump to any conclusion. We don’t know him or anything about him, maybe he is not even what he looks like… I don’t even want to get myself hurt again by letting my emotions take the lead.”
“Yeah, you are right. We are not led by our emotions, we are led by God’s spirit.” Grace affirmed and Amifel nodded. ” But what do you think he looks like?” Grace asked with a sm-irk.
“Leave me alone jor,” Amifel said as Grace cackled, she loved to pu-ll her legs.
Grace let her be as the room grew silent, although it only lingered for a few minutes. Amifel who still had halfway to go with her meal focused on her plate. Unlike Grace, she was very sluggish at eating.
“Ami.” Grace began, suddenly sounding serious.
“She is very worried about you.”
“Wait, whose mum are you talking about.”
“Your mum. She called yesterday, in the afternoon while you were asleep, it was a new number and the call was incessant. So, I just thought to pick it to tell the caller that you were slee-ping.” Grace peeped at Amifel whose countenance had changed. She continued all the same.
“I wanted to hang up as soon as I discovered it was her but she was just screaming your name and she even sounded like she was crying. Amifel, plea-se talk to her. St©p doing this.”
“So now, she alre-ady knows, I’m at your place.”
Grace kept silent as she looked at her friend, Amifel was soft yet very rigid. She wondered how someone could manage such opposite characters so well.
“Grace, I have told you times and over. I am not re-ady to talk to them. At least they are sure that I am fine now and that is good. I will talk to her when I am re-ady.” Amifel said calmly.
“I am okay. Do you mind helping me with the rest?” She asked as packed her food remains aside as stood up.
Grace looked on at her in wonder as she picked a sachet of water, which she gulped hurriedly as she made for the be-d.
“Ami.. c’mon!” Grace said, refusing to back out. She sat beside her right on the be-d and tenderly placed her hands on her b©dy.
“I am going throu-gh a lot alre-ady; my parents are not ma-king it easy for me. My mum [email protected], makes me feel like I am unfortunate and even compares me with other people. It hurts Grace, it hurts. Does she want better for me than I want for me? No! “
“I un-derstand, Ami. I am sure she has realized her mistakes and she has learned her lessons. She misses you and wants to talk to you. plea-se forgive her.”
“I have forgiven her, I have forgiven my dad too. But you know what they say about keeping certain people at arm’s length for your sanity and peace of mind…”
Grace had run out of words to say. Amifel was indomitable.
“I will talk to her but not yet,” Amifel @ssured. “When I am re-ady. “
“When will that be? “
“Soon, I promise.”
“Okay. I would take your word for it this time and I would be there to remind you if you forget. “Grace smiled, Amifel did not respond as she turned her back to her. “Would you at least come and finish your food then?”
“I am full alre-ady, you made me lose my appetite. Go ahead, finish it.”
“It’s the chicken I want,” Grace said as she resumed back on the floor. “Should I eat the cake?”
“Glutton.” Amifel mumbled loud enough for her to hear.
“Thank you!” Grace said without shame. It didn’t matter what she called her now, so long as she got what she wanted. She would definitely deal with her later.
Grace did not see Amifel shake her head mildly as her mouth curved into a wry smile.
Amifel missed her parents too, especially her mum but she wasn’t re-ady to talk to her. Maybe not yet, her mum said such hurtful things to her. She could still remember some of them.
But she knew that she would have to let this go, maybe not yet but definitely, much later.
Mike was sitting at a park, waiting for Grace, his fiancée. They hung out there often, and Grace was quite familiar with the place. He was seated at their favorite sp©t in front of a beautiful water-fall.
Grace alre-ady told him that she was on her way and he looked forward to seeing her.
She was his dream come true.
Their wedding was due in 4 months and he was super excited.
Before then he had been turned down by numerous ladies. He just did not seem to be their type.
So many heartbreaks.
He could still remember vividly how he rehearsed so much prior to his proposal to Nkechi. She was a devoted member of his church, the same church that Blessing attended and she was serving in the music [email protected] They had been friends for a while and he thought they were getting along well. As far as he knew, she was single, because she told him that.
Only for him to gird up his loins and [email protected] pre-composed and well-rehearsed speech to her after Sunday service that sunny afternoon.
“Nkechi, you are a good woman, one that any man would pray to have. You stole my heart from the first day I spoke to you and I settled it in my heart that you are the woman I want to settle down with.”
Thanks to Jude, who blamed his past rejections on his poor proposal skills, he gave him some pick-up lines which he added.
“Your dad must be a terrorist because you are the bomb and you can call me Pharaoh cos I will never let you go!” he win-ked as she chuckled, she must have been feeling his rhymes, he told himself and so he continued.
“You must be a broom cos you just swept me off my feet!”
“Are you here to insult me? What’s all this broom, terrorist stuff that you are saying?”
“I was only trying to thri-ll you.”
“You are obviously doing the direct opposite, “
“Oh… I’m sorry. “he said, feeling awkward. “All I am trying to say is that I love you, Nkechi and I would be elated to have you as my wife. Will you be my wife?”
He must have sounded like a comedian because Nkechi bur-st into a feat of laughter that lingered for almost 5 minutes. Mike just stood there at the car park in front of her, looking like a joke with his overfull hair and baggy jean.
“Is this one of your jokes, because you have been ma-king jokes all day and this is the only one I seem to find very hilarious.” She chuckled.
“I am serious, Nkechi.” He said, helplessly.
“Maybe you should start by being more serious with your dressing. “
“What do you mean.” He asked as he looked at himself briefly, wondering if it was not serious enough. He was putting on a baggy jean and pink polo which he matched with his brown boots, it was his favorite footwear.
“Maybe you should start by dressing like someone from this [email protected] of our world.”
“What’s wrong with my dressing?” he asked, then he quic-kly added. “ I will adjust and dress just the way you like it, just tell me what you want.”
“See, the thing is I’m in a relationsh!p.”
“A relationsh!p? When? But you told me that you were single?”
“Yeah, I met someone recently and we are now together.”
Mike got her trick immediately and he apologized before dragging his feet away. That was the end of their friendsh!p, so you can imagine how happy he felt to have received an excited yes from Grace just when he thought all hope was lost.
When Mike saw Jude next, he gave him an earful for giving him stale and offensive pick-up lines and Jude returned it in a h0tter frequency, blaming his [email protected] on his lack of a convincing proposal prowess.
The memories made him smile, God had indeed given him double for all of his disappointment.
To buy up some time for himself before Grace’s return, he unlocked his phone and saw that he had some pending messages. He set to work, returning his messages.
He looked up just in time to see his beautiful angel, cat-walking towards him in blue jean and red flowery wra-p-t©p. She was indeed a beauty to behold.
He stood up proudly as he gave her a side hvg.
“I’m sorry I’m late. Work was a bit hectic today and I had to shower before leaving home.”
“It’s fine my dear.” He smiled as he dragged out a seat for her and he got a beautiful smile in return.
He ordered for ice-cream and meat-pie for the both of them at her request as they talked at length on numerous t©pics. He told her that he would be going on a business trip on behalf of the telecommunication company that he worked with.
“When would you be back?”
“In a month.” He said, eager to hear her response. Her face framed up into a scowl as she looked away from him and focused on her Vanilla ice-cream.
“Hey! I’m just joking, I’ll be back by the weekend!”
At that announcement, the lit glow in Grace’s eyes returned swiftly and Mike could swear that the chatty woman in front of him loved him very much.
Grace used that opportunity to keep him abr£@st of her preparations for their wedding and how much Amifel had been of help.
At some minutes to seven, they unanimously decided that it was time to go home. Mike excused himself briefly to use the restroom reserved for visitors at the park.
Grace was waiting for him when his phone beeped, she stole a glance at his phone screen and saw that her picture was his wallpaper, she blu-shed.
She opened his phone and went to his gallery, her picture was littered all over his gallery, ‘pic mixed’ with his in different folders and she just smiled on.
While she was looking throu-gh the pictures, his phone beeped again. It was a WhatsApp message from his friend, Jude. She wanted to swipe it off but the heading that she saw caught her fancy.
She opened his WhatsApp out of curiosity and she saw…
“Guy, I can’t imagine what you went throu-gh in that prison. It must have been a terrible experience.”
Her heart raced fas-ter than normal. What prison was Jude talking about or was he joking, she swiped the messages up, trying to figure out what they were saying before they got to that junction and then she saw…
“Don’t even compare that to a prison. A prison is not a place to be, padi. The times I spent there were the most terrible times of my life.”
“What!” she yelled.
She was engrossed in what she was re-ading that she did not notice that Mike had alre-ady returned.
“Baby! What’s wrong?” he asked, looking confused.
“Have you sle-pt in jail before?”
“What? Why that question?”
“Just answer me!”
Grace picked her purse and stood up like a wolf, she ran-walked as fast as her legs could carry her.
“Hey babe, plea-se wait! I can explain!” Mike yelled as he tried to catch up with her but her pace was quic-ker. He picked up his phone and then he saw what she saw.
TO BE CONTINUED
He said no Episode 39 & 40