Dave quickly swerved his car to the curb like a driver in an action flick and practically jumped out of it. He walking briskly to where Oleng and Collins were standing, staring at each other.
“Angel, what’s he doing here?” he asked his stunned girlfriend.
Before she could reply, Collins leaned on the car and lazily said, “Dude, isn’t it obvious?”
Oleng saw Dave flex his fingers and knew he intended hitting Collins. She quickly held his hand.
“Please Dave. This whole thing will end right now.”
Dave gave Collins a murderous look but kept quiet.
Oleng looked uneasily around her. Passersby were beginning to get interested in the whole scenario. She knew she had to end it here despite the fact that it would break someone’s heart.
She walked up to Collins. He stood straight, smiling.
“Collins,” she began softly. “I want to apologize for toying with your emotions. Back in school, I was really getting to like you until you spoke those harsh words to me even after I opened up to you about my past. You called me a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I was innocent of that accusation yet it didn’t stop you from calling me such.
Well, here standing before you now is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. I really don’t feel anything for you. I used you to make my boyfriend jealous. I don’t love you, I don’t want your money or your gifts and I don’t want to marry you.”
Dave gave a whoop and came to stand beside her.
Collins turned away and hit his fist on the hood of the car. He was like that for a while and when he turned around, Oleng’s mouth dropped open.
Tears were running down his eyes. Dave snickered. He believed it was just for show. He wasn’t moved but Oleng was deeply moved. She really hadn’t meant to hurt him.
Collins went to his car to remove the tarpaulin he had used to cover the murano jeep. He spread it haphazardly over the car, hooked the car back to his own jeep and drove off.
“Trying to get me jealous, hmm?” Dave chuckled after they couldn’t see the car anymore.
Oleng turned to him with tears in her eyes. “I feel so bad. I really didn’t mean to hurt him.”
Dave held her hand and led her inside the compound away from the view of their spectators. He hugged her.
“I know but he obviously hurt you first. What happened by the way?”
Oleng shook her head. There was no way she would ever tell Dave what she told Collins. Once bitten, twice shy. Dave would also kick her out of his life.
“Story for another day.” she sadly told him.
“Angel, please don’t feel bad today of all days. His tears weren’t real. They were just to make you feel guilty and you fell for it. He’d make it in Nollywood.”
Oleng couldn’t help laughing at that. Dave smiled.
Oleng had a good time with Dave and her friends. She came back home exhausted. She had her bath and was about saying her night prayers when her phone beeped. A message had just entered. She smiled. It was probably a late birthday wisher. It was Collins.
“Oleng, I’ve got to be angry with you for what you told me earlier in the day but I realize I have no right whatsoever to be. I’m at fault in everything. I lost you due to my own stupidity.
For the first time in my life, I had a heart to heart talk with my father and he made me see reasons to give you up and accept defeat. Dave is a lucky guy.
I’ll be leaving for London next week for my masters. I had planned for you to join me there but I guess that’s wishful thinking now. I wish you the best in life.
I’ll never forget you.”
Tears came to Oleng’s eyes but she smiled through them as she remembered good times with him. She’d return the box of gifts to him.
*Hater of Collins, this is the end of Collins and Unfulfilled Promises. So make una free d guy abeg. Funny, he actually found his virgin in London but he never forgot Oleng*
The entire incident with Collins drew Dave and Oleng closer. Oleng didn’t try to make Dave jealous anymore by refusing to give her number to guys who asked her out.
Her service year was finally over. Dave took her out to celebrate and later took her to his house.
“I’m so happy. No more ‘Yes sir’ and ‘Yes ma.’” Oleng said laughing happily as she sat down heavily on the sofa in his house.
“Don’t be too sure. After all, you’d still work under someone.” he said as he put on his sound system.
“The way I’m feeling right now, I want to set up my own business and be my own boss.”
Dave laughed. “What kind of business do you want to set up?”
“Anything, I don’t care. I don’t want to work in a bank. It’s too tedious and time consuming.”
“You can work somewhere else. Frankly speaking, I’m happy at your decision because I want a wife who’d have time for our kids. Let me go and get us something to drink.” he said and walked away, leaving his girlfriend bamboozled.
This was the first time Dave had hinted on marriage. He had never spoken of marriage around her and she had never thought of it. Would she like to marry him? She asked herself. She had to be sincere in saying she loved him better than ever now after the whole Collins’s issue but was the love strong enough for marriage?
He came back with the drinks and set them on the table. They chatted and drank for a while before Dave dropped his glass on the table, drew closer and started kissing her. She wasn’t surprised because they had shared a few kisses in the past. Nothing special but kisses nevertheless. She was however shocked when he put his hand inside her crested vest. She abruptly stopped him.
“Dave, what are you doing?” she inquired, moving away a little.
Dave put his hand on his head and rubbed it vigorously, looking frustrated. He got up and walked a few paces away from her. He came back, sat down and stared at her. He brought out a small box from his pocket and opened it, displaying a gold ring.
“Oleng, will you marry me?”
Oleng was speechless. She had never for once thought this would happen today of all days. Her brain became numb. She just stared at the ring.
“Please say something.” Dave finally said after the long stretch of silence.
“I…ah…” she stammered. “I…don’t know what to say. You just sprung this on me without warning.”
“Surely you should have suspected by now that I would want you for a wife.”
“Truthfully, I didn’t…I… the thought never crossed my mind.”
“So? I’m asking you now to be my wife. I promise to be the best husband in the world to you.”
She laughed uneasily. “I don’t doubt it but please give me time to think about it. I’m still in shock now.”
Dave became downcast as he closed the case. He didn’t say a word. He stared at the closed case while Oleng stared at him. They were like that for a long time until she finally cleared her throat.
“I want to go home.” she informed him and stood up.
After a slight pause, he stood up and walked to the door. The silence between them on the ride home was nerve racking. When he got to her place, he stopped the car and waited for her to alight. She wanted to but turned to look at him.
“Dave, I’m sorry. Please say something.”
He looked at her with pain. “What do you want me to say after you just shattered my dream? Really Oleng, what is there to think about? You and I have been going out for a while now and you know I’m crazy about you. Surely you must have realized that someday I would ask you to be my wife. What really is your problem? Have I ever hurt you in anyway? Why am I always second class to you? Are you still hoping that somewhere out of the blues, Eric would come back and marry you? Wake up girl! I love you. I love you a lot. Please stop pushing me away.” he threw at her furiously. He was clearly pissed.
Oleng stared at him after his outburst. She was angry at what he said about Eric but controlled her temper because she didn’t want to fight with him.
“Please, when we’re talking about our relationship, please don’t ever mention Eric again,” she firmly told her boyfriend. “I understand how you feel. You’re the kind of guy every girl would love to have as a husband but I’m too shocked to give a positive answer. Do you want me to say yes then later, after thinking about it, I’d say no; dashing your hopes to the ground? Please give me time to weigh this from every angle. Marriage is for life. Please.”
“Alright,” he finally said. “I’ll give you time. Please don’t tarry with your reply.”
“I won’t. Thanks.” she said smiling and after giving him a peck, she got out and waved him goodbye as he drove off. She let out a deep breath and went inside. What a shocking evening! She confirmed to herself again that Dave was a silent volcano waiting to erupt.
She went inside and was glad that her aunt and Matthew were already asleep otherwise her aunt would have quizzed her. After lying on her bed for hours without sleep, she decided to call Zinny to give her some advice. She was almost 1am but she decided to try anyway.
“Hi Zinny, how far? Were you sleeping?” she asked her friend whom she heard yawning.
“No, I was watching a movie. How far?” Zinny replied sleepily.
“I’ve got news for you.” she said excitedly.
“That’s my girl! I know I can always count on you for correct gist. Wetin dey happen for there?” She was suddenly no longer feeling sleepy.
“Dave proposed to me yesterday.”
“What? It’s a lie.”
“I’m dead serious.”
“What did you tell him? Hope you didn’t say yes.”
“No, I told him I’d think about it but he was quite pissed at my reply…wait a minute…why did you say ‘I hope you didn’t say yes’? What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t know. The thought of you guys as husband and wife isn’t appealing to me.”
“What do you mean by that? Weren’t you the one who told me to go out with him?”
“Yes, go out with him but I no say make you marry am na.”
“But surely you knew the relationship could lead to marriage.”
“No, I told you to go out with him so you wouldn’t be lonely and try to get over Eric.”
“I’ve gotten over Eric.” Oleng firmly stated, angry that Zinny had to bring him into the discussion.
“But Eric…” She was interrupted.
“Zinny!” Oleng almost yelled. “How many times will I tell you not to call that name near me?”
“But Oleng, Eric is…”
“What really is your problem, Zinny? Don’t tell me you’ve fallen so much in love with Eric that you can’t even make a sentence without mentioning his name.” she furiously told her friend.
Zinny was silent at her outburst.
“I called you to give me advice, to tell me what to do, not to dig up the sordid past.”
Zinny was silent for a while before she calmly said, “Think about this. How will you feel on the day of your wedding when you see Eric as one of the groom’s men? They are close friends so Eric is bound to come for the wedding. How will you feel then knowing fully well that if circumstances were different, he would have been the one standing beside you at the altar?”
“But circumstances are different now, Zinny if you haven’t noticed.”
“It need not necessarily be. You fit change am.”
Oleng was appalled at what her friend just said, “Zinny! I don’t believe this. You can’t possibly be saying that I should give Eric a second chance?” she asked, scandalized.
“Eric is a changed person. He…”
“He put something in your drink, didn’t he? Was he so charming that you started day dreaming about us being together again? Why did you allow him use you to try to get to me?”
“Don’t be cruel, Oleng.” Zinny was getting angry.
“I’m not being cruel. You know, you surprise me. You amaze me. You know what Eric did to me. You know how he hurt me, how he abandoned me yet you insinuate that I should go back to him. For what? A second round of pain?”
“He’s only human; liable to mistakes.”
Oleng couldn’t believe her ears.
“To err is human but to forgive is divine.” Zinny continued.
“Really? Well, we both know I’m not divine so I can’t forgive him. I made a mistake calling you for advice.” Oleng was almost in tears.
“No, you’d be making a mistake marrying Dave.”
“I’ll take my chances after all, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d face a heavy disappointment from a guy. Thank you. Goodnight.” She was about ending the call when she heard Zinny say,
“Oleng wait! I know you’re very upset right now but think about all I just said before giving him your answer.”
“Okay. Thank you.” she rudely said and ended the call abruptly.
She couldn’t quite digest all that Zinny had told her. Why was she so much of an advocate of Eric these days? Had Eric told her a horde of lies? If she answered Dave in the affirmative, of course she would make sure Eric didn’t attend the wedding. She had always wanted a quiet wedding, so only a few of her closest friends would be there excluding Eric. She hoped Dave would understand.
She felt so betrayed by Zinny that she didn’t care if the latter came to the wedding or not. Wait a minute, she hadn’t even told Dave yes, yet she was planning her wedding list. She laughed at herself and decided to call Marvy to seek her own opinion about the matter.
“I have something to tell you.” she said after they had exchanged pleasantries.
“What?” Marvy’s interest was piqued.
“Dave asked me to marry him last night.” She held her breath waiting for a reply.
Marvy whooped. “My! That’s wonderful news. I didn’t know you guys had gone so far or is there a bun in your oven?” she teased in euphoria.
Oleng laughed out with relief. “Of course not. I haven’t given him a reply.”
“What are you waiting for, girl?”
“I don’t know.”
There was a moment of silence before Marvy said, “Is it because Dave and Eric are friends?”
“It doesn’t matter. Because things didn’t work out between you and Eric doesn’t mean you’ll remain a spinster all your life. You moved on and found another guy, albeit it’s unfortunate that it’s his friend you moved on with. That’s life for you. Shit happens but life goes on.”
Oleng had to smile. “Thanks so much Marvy. I’m sorry to say Zinny doesn’t feel the same. She wants me to go back to Eric.”
“I’m sorry but Zinny is living in a dream world. When we were all together, she kept murmuring to my ears alone though, that she wished you were there to make them complete. She wished you and Eric were still together. She wants you guys to be as happy as she is with Eddy. You guys were her role models in terms of relationship then, so she was very depressed when you guys broke up.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.” Oleng was amazed.
“Yes. She told me. Eric spoke to her at length but she didn’t tell me what they discussed. Don’t mind her. Just follow your heart. If you feel you still love Eric and you want to be with him, no problem, but on the other hand if you love Dave and want him for a husband, follow your heart.”
“I no longer love Eric but then again, I don’t love Dave to the extent of marrying him. I don’t think I’m capable of loving deeply and completely again.”
“Do you see him as a capable husband?”
“Yes.” she said after a moment’s thought.
“Then either you marry him or wait for someone else, maybe the so-called Mr. Right.”
Oleng laughed. “Thank you so much Marvy. I feel so relieved now after Zinny’s heated talk.”
“Don’t worry, Zinny will come around. After all, Dave is a close friend also.”
“Thanks.” Oleng was all smiles.
“You’re welcome but know that my charging fee is five dollars per minute. Hope you weren’t thinking my advice is for free?” she joked.
Oleng laughed happily.
“Hold on Oleng…have you told Dave about your pregnancy? I mean why you broke up with Eric?”
A dark cloud crossed her beautiful face. She hadn’t even thought of that.
“No…I don’t know how to tell him…must I?”
“You must. Tell him now so that he’ll decide if he still wants to marry you or not. Whatever you do, don’t hide that from him.”
“Okay. I’ll find time to tell him. Thanks once more.”
“I’ll send you my bill.” Marvy informed her laughing and Oleng laughed also.
Oleng woke up the following morning with a severe headache. She thought it was probably because of her late night but when it continued, she took some pain killers. By afternoon, the headache returned. She was a bit alarmed because she noticed she had been having the headache recently but pain killers had helped take care of them.
She was feeling sick by evening and when Dave came to see her she was very quiet, so she wasn’t good company. Dave put it down to the fact that because he had proposed the previous day, she was uncomfortable with him. He decided to leave. She was glad because the headache had gotten worse. She however managed to see him to the door. When he turned to give her a peck at the door, he caught her just in time before she fell to the ground.
He yelled for her aunt as he held his unconscious girlfriend in his arms. Aunt Vien rushed into the living room and was bewildered to see that her niece had collapsed. In between them, they rushed her to the hospital in his car.
They strolled up and down the corridor of the hospital, praying that she would be alright. Aunt Vien had to ask Dave if he thought she was pregnant though she hadn’t noticed any pregnancy symptoms in her.
Dave shook his head and said he had never had sex with her except if she was pregnant for another man which he doubted. The doctor came in then to tell them that they had carried out some tests and discovered that Oleng had both malaria and typhoid which resulted in low blood count and would have to stay in the hospital for a while in other for her to get better.
They both heaved a sigh of relief that it wasn’t a deadly disease that she had caught.
“I told her.” Aunt Vien said after the doctor had gone. “I told her she was getting thinner and thinner by the day but she told me it was stress from the bank.”
“Yeah, I told her also that she was losing weight but she told me the same thing. I thank God it was discovered early. Imagine if the whole blood had dried up in her body.”
“God forbid!” Aunt Vien vehemently said.
“Thank God. Let’s go and see her.” he said calmly and led the way to the room the doctor had told them she was in.
Oleng stayed in the hospital for two weeks. She would have been discharged after staying for a week but Dave and her aunt would hear nothing of it. She had to stay back in the hospital for another week though she was alright.
As she laid on her bed watching the television, she couldn’t help recalling all that Dave had done for her during her period of illness. He had had her moved from the general ward to a private room; he had spent countless hours by her side when she was both in sickness and good health. The trolley by her bed was never empty. It was always filled with goodies that she couldn’t even finish if she had been healthy not to talk of in ill-health. What touched her most was that he never failed to be with her everyday despite his hectic work schedule. He was so loving, so caring, and a true friend. He was everything she wanted in a man.
Tears rolled down her eyes as she thought of all he had done for her ever since they met again. He was just too good to be true and she wasn’t going to let go of him. He came into the room then. He had gone to get himself a drink.
“Sweetheart, can you imagine they don’t even have any cold drink? NEPA issues!” he informed her as he came into the room.
When he got to her bed he was surprised to see tears rolling down her eyes.
“Sweetheart, is anything wrong? Are you in pain? Should I call the doctor?” He was so filled with worry.
She held him as he tried moving away. She could only shake her head for emotion had made her tongue tied.
“I love you.” she finally proclaimed.
“What?” He was stunned.
“I love you. Thank you for being who you are; for being the most important person in my life.”
He was so baffled he had to touch her forehead to see if she was running temperature.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
Oleng couldn’t help the smile that crossed her face. “I’ve never been better. It took my getting ill and your presence with me every day for me to realize how much you mean to me. I love you and I’ll marry you if you’ll still have me.”
“Are you joking? Of course I’ll still marry you. You’ve made my day. You’ve made my life complete. I’ll love you for the rest of my life.” he declared and kissed her with pent up relief.
He took her left hand in his and brought out the small box from his pocket.
“Call me stupid but I’ve been carrying this box in my pocket since that night I proposed to you. I’ve never stopped hoping and I thank God my dreams have finally come true.” He placed the ring on her middle finger and hugged her.
Just then her aunt came into the room.
“What am I missing?” she asked smiling and dropped the paper bag on the table by the bed.
For an answer, Oleng showed her the ring on her middle finger, smiling.
“My goodness!” she said with euphoria. “Finally! I’m so happy for both of you.” She hugged her niece and hugged Dave also. She told him, “Welcome to the family.”