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She was crabby, her mood brought an unpleasant and unwelcome mood to him but he dared not complain. He couldn’t even though he wanted to tell her to ease out of it.
He knew she would tell him he was the sole reason she was so mad even though he wanted to point it out to her that he did not know whatever she handed him years ago was so important he was never to part with it.
“I gave you three days” she muttered.
“Do something.” she snapped.
“I will.” He replied, trying to smile, hoping that will change the mood, make her relax and make her smile.
Not like he expected her to smile at him in a thousand years but he at least did not want her hating him for the rest of his life.
There was an old jazz music playing softly in the background, Tamilore allowed it to seep through her, so it could temporarily take her away from the overwhelming fear she was feeling at the moment.
She shut her eyes tightly, responding to the call of the music, allowing it to touch her and heal her.
It was the type of place Timilehin would visit, she told herself. He liked places like this, places where he could sit; order good food to quench physical hunger while good music fed his soul.
The aroma of fried yam and spicy stew caused her to open her eyes and when she did, she saw him.
He must have walked in when she shut her eyes because there was no way in the world she would have missed him where he was sitting.
He was staring straight at her, saying nothing, a smile on his face. She tried to look away from him but not before Jide caught her eyes.
He looked at Timilehin and then back at Tamilore, “Your friend.” he said, trying to still the ugly green demon called jealousy rearing its head slowly inside of him.
“Yes.” she replied simply and dug her fork into the hot yam.
“What is he doing here?”
“To wash plates” she replied, her expression asking him, what else?
He knew the question was funny the moment it got out of him but he had been too blinded by his own jealousy, to see the obvious.
He suddenly realized that a whole lot would have happened to Tamilore since he last saw her. She would have moved on, would have fallen in love again, and would have been with other people.
The last part made him cringe. He did not want her to be with other people, he did not want to imagine her being with other people.
“Do you like him?” Heavens knew he could not even keep the jealousy out of him; no amount of exorcism could drive away the green-eyed demon.
“How is that your business?” she asked him.
He wanted to say why, he liked her a lot, oh he did more than like her, she fascinated him, she opened up feelings and emotions he never thought he was capable of feeling. She made him realize a lot of things about him that he never would have known, she was life, she was the one who showed him life.
Tamilore was hoping he would say something to what she asked him. Something like it was his business because he liked her and because he was jealous.
He might be good at walking away from commitments and excellent at being a coward but he had never aced hiding emotions. She could see the jealousy and pain on his face even though he tried hard to hide it.
It stung her that he wouldn’t talk; say what he felt and it disappointed her that nothing had changed. If he had a choice to pick her now, he still wouldn’t.
Timilehin walked towards their table, his food, which was in a white paper bag, was clutched in his hands. He smiled at her.
“I see this is why you canceled.”
Tamilore shifted uncomfortably in her seat. The night was about to get dramatic.
Timilehin then faced Jide and stretched his hand for a handshake, “Timilehin.”
They shook hands firmly and then Timilehin returned his gaze to her.
“You owe me one, Tamtam” he said to her and she nodded. She owed him one, two, twenty, whatever. Anything that would make him leave her table and stop making her feel awkward.
“Old Soul every night this week” She said and he smiled, he smiled so brightly she wondered if he’d appeared at that table to make her promise him her whole week.
“Goodnight, Jide. It was nice meeting you.”
The response was forced from his lips, “Good night.” Jide replied and when Timilehin had stepped out of the restaurant, he faced her and asked, “You would be seeing him every day this week.”
Tamilore nodded as she began to tear the deeply fried fish in her plate apart, “Yes. Do you have a problem with that?”
And because he was a coward still, he said, “No”.
“You cannot continue to see that guy, Yetunde. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Yetunde scoffed, “You must think you are the older sister here.”
“This is not about who is older, this is about your safety.”
“You cannot tell me who to see.”
Tamilore wanted to tell her why she couldn’t continue to see the man but she knew it would mean she had to reveal a lot of things, so she chose to send a message to Jide either.
What do you intend to do about the situation on ground?
His response: I don’t know. One thing I know for sure though is I don’t want you to be with that guy.
Tamilore chuckled when she got his reply, then she typed another message and sent to him
I’m talking about the guy hovering around my sister, mumu. You don’t get to have an opinion on who I should be with.
The response to her message came so late that she almost thought he’d decided to ignore her.
I will handle it, Tamilore. I promise. By the way, I don’t like it when he calls you Tamtam. Its like he knows you… its too familiar.
She laughed when she got the response.
She saw Timilehin at Old Soul the next day. He had told a cab guy to pick her up from the house and held her hand all through the time they spent there.
It was karaoke night and Nkem was around. Timilehin told her she was allowed to listen to the songs the other guys were singing but she was not allowed to join the fun.
“I don’t want you to leave so Nkem would think he can just enter you anyhow” he said with a smile and she laughed.
She liked Timilehin, he was fun, free spirited, he understood her world and he would never be shy to show her to the world if they were together. She quickly banished the thought as it crept in her mind.
They would never be together. She never liked Yetunde’s men and she would not start now.
Someone was singing Chris Daughtry’s Life After You and that arrested Tamilore’s attention.
“You like the song.” Timilehin noted, “I like it too” he added and then as if planned they simultaneously sang the chorus.
All that I’m after is a life full of laughter
As long as I’m laughing with you
I’m thinking that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we’ve been through
I know there’s no life after you.
The song proceeded into the second verse but they paused, She did simply because he did and He did because something had been touched. A part of him had been touched.
He held her neck with his hand and slowly drew her closer.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
He stopped, was silent for a while and then said, “Nothing.”
She refused to pick his calls after then. She refused to reply his messages and she told herself that the gentle tug at her heart every time she refused to reply to his messages meant nothing.
The creep who was around her sister had stopped coming to the house and she felt slightly relieved.
She went to Church on Sunday not because she wanted to be in Church but because she wanted to see Jide after the service.
When the service was over, she managed to grab his hand and pull him away from the crowd that swarmed around him as usual.
Yetunde was impatient this time; she walked away from them both and went to her car which was parked outside the Church.
Jide walked Tamilore towards Yetunde and her car as they spoke, “Your family is well to do, so I am sure you know someone who knows top guys in the Police force.”
“We know the commissioner of police and we even know the AIG but you have to understand that I cannot report this to them without revealing a part I don’t want them to know.”
Tamilore gaped at him, “You would rather jeopardize my life than help get that lunatic off my back?”
“It won’t get that bad by God’s grace…”
“Oh don’t even bring God into this because when it gets all ugly, I promise you I will not remember God.”
She was getting agitated and he hated to see her that way. He held her and said calmly, “Tamilore, many questions will be asked if I go to the police and the answers might taint my family’s reputation.”
She was not sure she had heard right but if she needed any confirmation at that time, she got it. Her sister suddenly screamed, causing her to panic.
She stared in the direction the noise had come from; there were two skinny guys with a gun pinned to Yetunde’s side.
They took her to their car, which was an SUV waiting for them and threw her into the backseat. Tamilore made to follow but Jide pulled her back and held her tightly until the car sped off.
“They just took my sister away!” She screamed, “My sister! It’s that guy! It’s that guy! Its him!”
“Calm down, Tamilore.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down! Shit just got real!”
He held her close to him and gently stroked her back, while he whispered to her that it would be fine. It was the way he always got her calm when they were in the UK together years before. And it always worked just like it was working then.
She was crying. He realized that she was not screaming but she was crying. He hoped she would stop and he began to think of ways to solve the mess they had unknowingly gotten themselves into.
It was his mother, she had found him and he knew it was time for yet another marriage counseling session. As he turned to face her, he saw the look of disapproval in her eyes. And as if by reflex, he pushed Tamilore away.
“Your marriage counseling begins now. Let’s go.” She said, unwilling to go until he left with her.
Then he faced Tamilore and told her, “I have to go”
Tamilore watched the duo in shock as they left. Her sister had just been abducted and Jide left her to deal with something they were both supposed to deal with.
All of a sudden the anger she had bottled in for four years rose and consumed her. She was angry at him for making her fall in love with him and leaving her, she was angry at him for taking her body and everything she could give and bailing on her, she was angry at him for not being able to stand for himself and for not being proud to show her to the world.
He had carefully built a perfect and beautiful world for himself and he had refused to acknowledge the chaos he had stirred in her own imperfect world.
Refusing to think twice of what popped in her mind, she marched straight back into the Church compound and asked for directions to the pastor’s wife’s office.
Then she opened without knocking, refused to look at anyone else but Pastor Grace Rogers and then said in a voice cold but convincing, “Jide would not be marrying anybody else. We got married while he was in the UK four years ago, after he picked me up from a strip bar and after we had mindless sex everywhere from London to Manchester. Your Bible doesn’t preach divorce so he is going nowhere and he won’t be marrying anybody else.”
Grace was stunned and so was everyone else on the marriage committee.
Tamilore retrieved her phone and scrolled through her old emails. Emails she had exchanged with Jide from the very first time they met, Emails that she knew every word, every typo, every punctuation in it because she had read it a million times over after he had left.
She placed it on the table in front of his mother, “Read.” she said and turned to leave, “I will come back for my phone.” she cast him a stony glare as she caught his eyes on her way towards the door. He was shocked, devastated, he even had the nerve to look betrayed.
“By the way, I’m Suga Spice and he is Hot Dick.”
She added and slammed the door shut behind her.