Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON THREE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Lola and Bolu saw Temi and Oyinda after the service and went to greet them. They’d both been blessed by the message, which reminded them of the importance of guarding their hearts and caring deeply for one another. They were reminded to be watchful and not to be slack in their Christian discipline, because their enemy is like a roaring lion looking for who to devour.
Bolu was particularly charged by the message. He knew that with continual prayer and fellowship with God, he would always know what to do in the face of temptation. He was now assured that he had done the right thing concerning Amaka. If God wanted him to do otherwise, He would certainly make Himself clear on that. Whatever Amaka’s issue, Dele was more than competent to represent her.
“That was a much-needed word,” he said to his friends, when they’d exchanged greetings.
“Yes,” Oyinda said. “I didn’t know that there were that many DAILY habits of Christians. I mean, do you guys do the accountability thing he talked about?”
Lola and Bolu looked at each other before Bolu responded. “Yes, we do. Though it’s not easy, and it’s so tempting not to be accountable to one another at times. But that’s where we have strength and safety.”
Lola nodded. “Yes, we are not meant to do Christianity alone. That’s why Paul taught the Church that they should submit themselves one to another. We all need to look out for one another. That’s how we show that we care, and it’s also how we humble ourselves, in case we ever start to think we know everything.”
“Hmmm,” Oyinda muttered. He wished Temi would be open to him and fellowship with him. He knew he didn’t have much to teach her at this point, but she’d never even asked him how he was growing since his conversion. As if she didn’t care whether or not he was saved.
“Yes, it was a good message,” Temi contributed. “I know I needed it.”
Temi and Oyinda exchanged a look of understanding and grace. They would both have to start acting like Christians; disciples of Jesus Christ.
It was the day of the baby shower, and Cindy was using her kitchen for her first big order. She’d employed a kitchen assistant on Friday, and she’d started work on Saturday. Rita was doing great so far, and Cindy was making good time to serve lunch by 2 pm.
They packed the food into coolers and took a cab to the venue of the party. It was a two-storey, semi-detached house in Lekki, and there were only a few people around when they arrived at 1:00 pm. They were obviously the organisers, as most of the guests would be coming in after church.
Chioma saw Cindy as she entered through the gate and thanked her again for honouring their short-notice order. They had also been quite particular on the dishes they wanted served, so it was a worthy appreciation. Chioma showed Cindy and Rita where they could set up and serve the meals, which was a sheltered space in the parking lot. Cindy requested a few tables, and Chioma sent someone over to bring them for her.
“Thank you,” she said when the person brought two tables over. She drew in a breath when she saw that it was the attractive man who’d delivered her goods on Thursday.
“Hi,” she muttered when she’d recovered from the shock of seeing him again.
“Hey,” he replied, a smile playing on his lips. “How are you doing, ma’am?”
Cindy swallowed. Her throat had suddenly gone dry. “Fine, thanks. You?”
He nodded. “Good, too.”
The handsome man backed away from Cindy a few steps before turning around and bumping into someone. “Oops!”
“Careful, Nick!” a young lady carrying a jug containing cocktail exclaimed.
“Sorry, dear… Let me help you with that,” Nick said, taking the cocktail from her and placing it on one of the tables he’d just brought over.
He gave Cindy a side look before heading into the house, wiping his hands on his jeans as he went in.
“You like that man…”
Cindy turned at the sound of Rita’s voice. She hadn’t realised that she’d been fixated on the handsome man. She was more than a little embarrassed by Rita’s observation.
“I don’t know anything about him to like. Can we just focus on the work at hand?” she hissed. But she swallowed, wondering who he was and if there was a chance they’d get to say more than a few words to each other today.
They got their chance when he came over to collect his meal.
“I’d like fried rice and turkey, with dodo and salad, please,” he said, his eyes on her face and not on the food before him.
“Sure…” she muttered, pulling her gaze away. She wiped a clean plate and served his dish, taking care with the turkey she chose for his plate.
“Do you work here?” Rita asked, and Cindy could have kicked her, but she was out of reach.
Nick smiled. “No… I live here…”
Cindy looked up suddenly and took in her environment again. But he is just a delivery man, she thought. She decided to say nothing, while Rita continued.
“Oh, nice. So, are you the father, or what?”
Nick laughed. “No… I’m Natasha’s brother. May I know who’s asking?”
Rita beamed and extended a hand. “I’m Rita. This is Cindy.”
Nick looked at Cindy with an appreciative smile. “Nice to meet you, both!” He took a spoonful of the rice and then gushed. “I see...”
Cindy blushed as he walked away. She turned to Rita and glared at her when Nick was out of sight. Rita chuckled at her mischief. Nick was really gorgeous, but it was clear to her that he had eyes only for Cindy. Otherwise, she might have played her hand.
“It’s a GOAL!!!” the men roared in Gbenga’s house, where they were gathered watching the English Premier League Football games.
“What a kick!” Andrew gushed, taking another gulp of his beer. “Mehn!”
“But that goalie tried sha!” Gbenga commented. “See the angle that ball came in…?”
Femi finished his beer can and picked up another. “The game is over already… Three/nil… They can’t recover from that…”
“Anything is possible, oh… There’s still ten minutes… It will not be the first time,” Gbenga replied.
Femi laid back with his feet up on a stool and drank his beer. He hadn’t really been focused on the game like he wanted to be. These days, whenever he watched a football match, his thoughts always strayed to Victoria. He still couldn’t understand why she’d shut him down the other day. It’s like he just couldn’t catch a break with her.
But more than trying to understand Victoria, he was really trying to understand his feelings. Was he just desperate to be with someone or did he really want Victoria again? Whenever he thought of her, he felt so good, so hopeful. As if she was the missing piece to his puzzled life. But he would remember what she’d said, and he would think that he was deluded to feel that way. Surely, she was right, and there could never be anything more between them.
He sighed, just as the match ended, and took his feet off the stool. He rose up and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, heading out to the pool area to light up.
“Hey, where are you going?” Andrew called after him.
Femi just shook his head and continued to head out. He put a cigarette to his mouth and lit it, taking in a drag and shutting his eyes. He opened them as he released the smoke from his mouth and nostrils. He took another drag.
“Hey, what’s up?” Andrew had come out to meet him, a beer bottle in his hand.
“You’re not still thinking of Vicky, are you?” Andrew asked.
“And if I am?”
“Hmmm…” Andrew muttered. “Perhaps it’s time for an intervention…”
Femi chuckled. “Very funny.”
“Seriously though. I think it’s time you move on, bro. Away from the past… No more regrets,” Andrew said, taking a swig.
Hmmm… Femi thought and sighed. Maybe that was his problem; thinking that the solution to his happiness was in going back to resolve the issues in the past. Maybe the only control and the only hope he had at being happy was in being decisive and passionate about the present. It’s not like he didn’t have options… He just had to learn from his mistakes and… And what? Stop being afraid.
“Yeah… Maybe you’re right,” he finally said, looking at his old friend.
“You know I am…”
In that moment, Femi’s phone pinged with a new notification. He brought it out to check the message. It was just what he needed, a ‘hello’ from Zahra. He hadn’t gotten back to her since that night, and it was strange that she’d remember him, just at this time. He smiled, took another puff of his cigarette and then put it out on the banister.
Cindy was bathed in a warm glow that night, as she prepared to sleep. It had been a very successful day. But the scene that played over and over in her mind was that of the handsome delivery man’s smile as he walked away, after she’d served him.
She knew he liked her. She’d known that from the first day. But what was troubling now was that she thought the feeling was actually mutual. She’d never felt so attracted to another soul. Well, besides Ope. She didn’t think she could ever feel this way for another man.
She’d long since given up the idea that she’d find true love. Given her years of abuse and sexual exploitation, men had become like anathema to her since she hit puberty. She didn’t have the dreams of Cinderella nor even Pretty Woman. She just wanted to be free and successful; happy without a man being the reason nor a hindrance.
But meeting Ope gave her hope that not all men were vile, wicked creatures. And she’d been safe knowing he was married. She hadn’t felt in danger of falling in love, and being made weak by him… Until one day, she’d woken up to the realisation that she was in love, and he suddenly meant so much to her.
Cindy swallowed. But Nick was different. They had barely exchanged words the two times they’d met. Yet, there was something magnetic about him. She already longed to see him again. She pressed her eyes shut, as she prayed for grace.
She suspected that he was someone she ought to avoid. But she had the feeling that it was going to be harder than she thought. Especially after Chioma’s appreciation message came in via WhatsApp…
“Thanks so much for today, Cindy! It was just perfect. Everyone was going on about the fried rice! And, I think Nick really likes you… Can I give him your number?”
Cindy’s heart burned with a fire that scared her. She would have to take this request to God in prayer first. She needed to be sure that she was acting in love and not lust.
Sola was happy to be back at work on Monday morning. It had been one helluva week living with his in-laws. He’d felt very much on the spotlight, not just as a husband, but as a father. But it hadn’t been so bad. He’d actually had a chance to have a one-to-one chat with his father-in-law on their third night, and it had given him some much-needed inspiration about his situation.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” Mr Ogunyemi had asked.
“I don’t understand, sir…”
“Here… Now… With my daughter. Do you have a plan?”
“Yes… Yes, I do, sir.”
“So, this was your plan? To come and live here…?”
“No… No, sir. But Dami was really miserable, and I thought it might help her feel better if I supported her right now.”
“Hmmm… So, what’s the long-term plan? What are you doing for money?”
“Well, I’m a public relations officer at Opex Industries, sir. The pay is quite decent, and I think in a year’s time, we should be able to afford to rent a two-bed apartment,” he’d answered. When Mr Ogunyemi didn’t blink, he continued. “I am also still looking out for opportunities and small jobs in media, which is really my field and my passion. But I like my job too.”
At last, he’d blinked. “I remember when Bunmi and I got married. We didn’t have a roof over our heads for the first year, but I had a plan. Both our parents lived in the village, so staying with them wasn’t an option. Back then, I worked two jobs; a cleaner by day and a security guard by night. She slept with me in my little guard post. While I read for my exams - I was also taking classes to go to University - she sewed clothes. We barely got three hours of sleep each day, but we were happy. Of course, we didn’t have a baby then… But when they started coming, we were able to adjust, and funnily enough, we both received favour in our enterprises…”
Sola had just stared back at his father-in-law, not knowing how to respond to that. “I guess what I’m trying to say is; don’t let your present circumstance cloud your vision. If you have a plan, keep it in mind and always refer to it, to make sure you’re on course. And it always helps to be flexible.”
Sola had swallowed and nodded. “Thanks, sir. I appreciate the talk.”
Sola smiled now. He knew he was very blessed. He had a supportive and understanding family, a beautiful wife and handsome baby boy, and a job he actually enjoyed. He wasn’t going to stress out about not being where he wanted to be anymore. He was going to enjoy the process and make the most of every opportunity. Especially the time he had to just breathe. Like the time he’d stayed home with his wife to look after their son.
To be continued...
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