Always One More Time #9 By Temitope Ogunyinka
I recall when we first met
A long time ago . . .
How could I forget, the way I felt when I first laid eyes on you . . .
I remember saying to my friends there is my future wife and then I took the step to meet someone who would change my life
It had to be . . . My destiny ‘cause I was made to love you . . .
Daniel closed his eyes as Gerald Levert sang I was made to love you.
Here he was, listening to a love song he would have loved to sing to the woman he wanted to marry. The woman he loved. He was pathetic.
He had messed up big-time and there was no way he could remedy it. He didn’t see a way out. He didn’t want to let Adesewa go, but he didn’t have a choice.
Adesewa deserved a happy ending. She deserved to be with a man who wouldn’t give her any hassle like he was giving her. But the thought of her with another man pissed him off. But then . . . in his heart, he felt he was doing the right thing. Letting her go. He felt a little peace, but he hated the idea. It felt terrible knowing you loved someone but could never be with the person.
“God why?!” He shouted. He picked the empty bottle of water on his bed-side table and threw it at the door and breathed out slowly.
He bent his head low and placed it in his hand. He had hurt her all over again and he didn’t think he could make it right a second time.
Few minutes later he picked up his phone and sent a text-message to Efe.
Hey Efe. Choose a date for the wedding and get back to me. Let’s get it started.
He tossed the phone aside and rested his back on the chair. He closed his eyes and let himself fantasize about Adesewa, ‘cause that was all he could do now.
Fantasize. . .
Funlola recalled her conversation with John and laughed out-loud on her bed. After they left Mama K’s place, while in his car, she had explained the reason for her stunt and the conversation had taken a turn she had not expected.
“So there’s this guy I had a thing with a while back and, not to brag much, he was all over me. He became a stalker later on. He would call me everyday and every minute like he didn’t have a life asides me. He would ask what I was eating, where I was, who I was with and when I told him the truth, he always thought I was lying! I mean it all got tiring and disgusting. I couldn’t take the whole shit any more jere. Had to let him go. Since then . . . he has been wanting to kill me.”
She had turned to see John’s reaction. It was exactly as she had wanted it. His mouth was opened down. She had burst out in laughter and held her tummy, as if to hold back from regurgitating.
“I’m just joking o! Gosh PJ you are so easy to tease. You get uncomfortable very quickly! Chai!”
She wiped the tears from her eyes and threw her head back on the head-rest.
He cleared his throat. “Funlola you almost made me call the police.”
She turned and looked at him, her mouth slightly agape. “Why?”
“Because wanting to kill someone is a crime nau. And over what? ‘cause the babe doesn’t want you again?!”
Funlola shook her head.
“PJ are you really living in this world? Or you’re stuck in your Christian world of wicked-things-don’t-happen? Don’t you hear some things people go through in relationships? The other day I heard a woman slit her husband’s throat while he was asleep. Asleep o! Very calculating woman. She must have some witchy-witchy in her.”
John chuckled as he stopped the car at a traffic light.
“But on a serious note; tell me what really happened with that guy at the local joint?”
Funlola shrugged. “All I told you asides the killing part is true.”
“Okay. B-but has he bothered you since? How long ago did it happen?”
“Nope. Like two years or so.”
There was silence in the car as John drove them over to Audrey’s place. Funlola looked out the window and when she wasn’t doing that she was busy tapping on her phone. They soon arrived at the house and John killed the engine.
“Thanks for the food PJ.”
“Thanks too; instead of coming here I would just head over to Mama K’s place.”
“Erm – Funlola can I ask you a question?”
“Is it possible . . . I mean. . . Can you marry me?”
Funlola moved back and stared at him like he had suddenly grown two green horns on his head and a tail was appearing out of nowhere.
“I know it would take sometime for you to er- actually come to a conclusion but I was wondering -”
“Is it because you bought three hundred naira food that you think you can just ask for my hand in marriage? Pastor John! Do I resemble a loose girl?”
Wait, don’t answer that.
John shook his head. “No nau, haba! It’s not ‘cause of any food. Look at how I came. I told you I wanted to eat but you know I could just have gone straight to KFC or somewhere else to eat-”
Funlola raised her brow and folded her arms. “Are you now saying my food is too cheap?”
“No! God!” John placed his palms on his face and released a sigh. She heard him mutter ‘God help me’.
She refrained from smiling.
He dropped his hands and looked at her. “What I’m saying is, I would want to know if I have a chance with you.”
“Are you for real?”
“This is interesting.” She licked her lips and shifted her weight so she could lean on the door. “Why do you want to go out with me, talk more of getting married to me?”
“Because I like you.”
She laughed out-loud. “I’m flattered PJ but I won’t be offended about all this if you don’t get offended at my teasing you as well. ‘cause that’s what this is. A tease . . .”
Funlola shook her head at everything. “PJ is just not serious.”
Jasmine tossed her clothes on her bed and pinched her nose. Her eyes caught on to her appearance in her mirror. Her bohemian curls were scattered and her nose red. She had been crying all day. And over what? A stupid man she was finding hard to get over. She hated her emotions for betraying her when it came to any man, and now it was with Dele Akinsanya. She hated how much she wanted to be in his arms and feel his touch on her body. She hated that she was waiting on him to make up his mind and come running to her.
When she took the job as an intern in his studio it had been solely to learn photography and perfect her skills. It was along the way that she had fallen in love with her boss who had a thing for women. Mostly women who could control their emotions and not be so clingy to him. She was obviously not his type ‘cause she was nothing like that. She wanted a man she could depend on. Someone stable who wouldn’t cheat on her. Was that too much to ask from today’s men?
She and Dele shared a chemistry. She could feel it. Or else why would he have come over the night before and share her bed? Why did he scream her name when he made love to her? Why would he choose to cuddle with her? Wasn’t it all because he felt something for her? But then she hadn’t heard from him after that day. And that made her doubt all that she felt.
“You’re just so stupid Jazz. Just very stupid!” She told herself.
She knew his current girl-friend. How he planned on getting married to her but she had declined his offer. Jasmine praised the woman for her guts to deny him. She wished she had courage to do the same.
Jasmine sat on the bed and thought of what was it about Dele she liked. Why was she so hooked on him? Maybe ‘cause he was the finest of men she had been with. Maybe she felt he was a broken man who needed someone to really love him like she could. She knew she was beautiful and her self-esteem wasn’t shaken. But when she fell for a man she fell deep and it was always so hard to get over him. But with Dele she was willing to change. If it meant getting away from him and going back to Dubai, she would do it. Her emotional life was important and it was high time she took herself into consideration.
Ebuka stared at the woman beside him. She was curled up in a fetal position. She was beautiful even as she slept. Her mouth slightly open and small snores coming from her. He reached out and pushed a strand of her hair from her face. She stirred a little but didn’t wake up.
He had long awaited this moment to be with her. What was wrong if she had spent the night with him out of revenge? It didn’t matter to him. This was the first step and gradually, she would be his. No doubt about that.
Did he feel bad at what he had done? No. He knew there was no way Daniel and Adesewa would get back together after this. He didn’t know exactly what had happened but he could guess it had something to do with Efe. It was time to think forward about his future with Adesewa. For years he had fantasied about being with her. It felt like a dream. But he had pinched himself right from when she had knocked on his door last night dressed in a short, pink pleat dress. Her black stilettos adding to her height.
“Ade? What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you. Can I come in?”
He nodded. He watched as she walked in. Her backside looking amazing. He shook his head and slammed the door shut.
He cleared his throat. “What’s up?”
“I’m feeling a little down. I thought you could cheer me up.”
He quirked his brow. Cheer her up how? “Daniel nko?”
She shrugged. “He’s busy. I’m not going to waste time here. I’ve seen the way you look at me. No matter how much you code it, I know you want me. I’m horny, you’re horny. What are we waiting for?”
She reached to her back and next thing he knew her gown dropped to the floor. His eyes took in all of her. The next time he pinched himself was when he had kissed her for the second time. The first time was before she had left for Abuja after Daniel messed up.
He searched her eyes. “Is this what you really want? Last time -”
She raised her finger to his lips. Her eyes moved from his down to his lips and back to his eyes.
“It’s what I want.”
It was all he needed to hear. The next time he pinched himself was as he watched her sleeping in his bedroom.
Yeah, Daniel you messed up big time.
Zainab felt a deep pain in her chest as she watched as her mother was lowered six feet under. Her eyes were swollen beneath her designer black sun-shades and she held a handkerchief up to her mouth as more tears rolled down her cheeks.
God you couldn’t even do this one thing I asked of you . . . She sniffed and swallowed hard. She felt strong arms around her shoulders and I.K pulled her closer to him. Rubbing her arm gently.
“Babe, it’s going to be fine. It’s all going to be fine. She’s resting now. In a better place.”
No amount of words could make her feel better. She just needed a fix. The burial was over and everyone was heading to the house. She didn’t want to mingle with anyone or be around the solemn faces of mourners. She just wanted to be alone. She wanted to get out of the place and get a fix. She needed one badly.
“Get me out of here I.K. I can’t stand it any longer.”
As he led her out of her she heard someone call her name. She turned around and saw her mother’s lawyer walking briskly towards her.
“Zainab. Would you be heading over to the house as well?”
“Well, I have something from your mother to give to you.”
“If this is about the will I can hear it later.”
“No, Miss Baruwa. This isn’t about the will.”
He opened his carrier bag and brought out a white envelope and handed it to her. It had her name boldly written on the top in her mother’s handwriting. The sight of it sent a sharp pain to her chest as tears flooded her eyes again.
“What’s this about?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. But your mother said to tell you it would answer most of your questions. I’m sorry for your loss. I would inform you of the reading of the will when it’s time. Please excuse me.”
He walked off and left Zainab staring at the envelope in her hand.
I.K held her shoulders. “Come on babe, let’s go.”
Zainab smoked two rounds of weed before deciding to open the letter. I.K was half-naked and sleeping by her side. She read the contents of the letter slowly. Her mother had started off by apologizing for everything and not being able to spend more time with her. She apologized for how they had never been close and that broke Zainab’s heart. The last thing her mother wished was for her to have a better relationship with her father and get to know him. Her heart raced. Zainab’s eyes quickly searched for a name which she found towards the end.
Mr. Eghosa Phillips.
John tossed his pen on the table and rubbed his eyes. He yawned and used the edge of his palm to massage his head. He was almost done with his message for Sunday. God wanted him to talk on Covenant and John had done extensive research on it. His findings astonishing him. Currently, he was looking at the covenant relationship between a man and woman. The oneness in marriage and outside marriage. Truth? The whole thing freaked him out. It made him think of his pending relationship with Funlola.
He chuckled. She was fun to hang-out with, but he also realized it wasn’t going to be so easy to ask her hand in marriage. What was I expecting sef? That she would just jump on me and say yes?
As he drove home that day he had discussed it with God. Telling God this kind of thing required prayer and fasting ‘cause Funlola was a hard nut to crack. But God had told him to hold on and go back.
So John had prayed and decided on his next line of action and he prayed it worked. He got back to working on the message and as soon as he was done he prayed and thanked God for teaching, after which he went about his plan.
He found out Funlola liked adventure and spontaneity and he would give that to her. As much as his nature allowed him. He was more of a calm guy that avoided hassle, but if he had to win his future wife over then he had to try something she liked. He dialled her number twice before she finally picked the phone.
“Hey Funlola. How are you?”
“PJ? Halos. I’m good. What’s up?”
“I wanted to find out if you were free this evening. I would like to take you out.”
“Erm – I have my period.”
He frowned. What? “I don’t understand -”
“Period is when a woman starts menstr-”
“I know what period means o! Please save the explanation.” John shouted over the phone.
“You asked na . . .”
“I meant what does that have to do with anything?”
“I’m not really that much in the mood to go out. I – erm – have serious cramps and all. Let’s schedule another day. Okay?”
John felt his high-energy plummet the more. “Sure. Sorry about the cramps. Is there anything I can do?”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind a large cup Cold-stone Ice-cream. It would make me feel a lot better.”
He racked his brain, thinking of how his movement would be. “Okay, would be at yours in forty-five minutes max. That okay?”
“Oooh PJ you’re a life saver. Expecting you! Bye!”
He dropped the phone and hurried over to the Mall to get the ice-cream and drove within speed limits to Audrey’s place. It took approximately forty minutes to get it all done. When Funlola opened the door he almost grimaced at the way she looked. Her face looked swollen and her hair tousled. She was a mess!
“Wow . . . Is this how you have your erm – monthly cycle?”
“Yes o. Very annoying. My back and breast – I mean chest – hurt. Sorry PJ, you shouldn’t be hearing such ex-rated things.” She gave him a weak wink and John ignored her.
“Here you go.”
He handed her the ice-cream and spoon. She took her seat on the long couch and John sat apposite her on the love-seat. He watched as she placed the spoon full of ice-cream into her mouth.
He shook his head.
“So what plans did you have PJ? I find it very odd that all of a sudden, you took an interest in me. It’s very – suspicious.”
“There’s nothing to it. Let’s just say my eyes have been opened.”
She dropped the cup on the throw-pillow while balancing it with her hand and stared at him. “PJ you really like me?”
“And this isn’t a game?”
He shook his head.
“PJ, are you out of your mind? Did you drink shepe before coming here?”
He smiled. “I’m very sober and aware of what I’m doing.”’
“Somehow I find that hard to believe.” She raised the ice-cream cup up a little. “Thanks for the ice-cream though.”
“I have something else for you . . .”
He had never imagined how it would be like to propose ‘cause he had not pictured anyone in mind.
He dropped down on one knee and brought out the black box in the pocket. He opened it to reveal the ring and he heard Funlola gasp. The ring had cost him, but if this was what God wanted then it was worth it. He looked at her and said confidently, “Funlola James, would you marry me?”
Her eyes still on the ring she asked, “You’re joking right?”
Unfortunately . . . “No, I’m not.”
She got up from her seat and laughed out-loud. “Two proposals within a space of a month! I am a lucky girl o!”
If it was another person this was happening to he probably would have found it hilarious. But there was nothing funny about him kneeling on one leg and holding out a ring to a woman who never had any intention of getting married to him.
“I actually do want to marry you.”
She smiled cheekily at him. “So my seduction worked?”
He shook his head.
“So why do you want to marry me?”
“Because I care about you. Because I love you.”
Her eyes widened. “Pastor John you love me? A common sinner? You know I’m not a virgin like you right?”
“Yes. I love you. Regardless of anything you have done in your past.” He remembered his sister had told him of her one night stand with an old friend of hers.
“I would think about it.”
NEXT . . .
Dele raised his brows. “And so bloody what?! What does love have to do with it?”
“He seems genuine.”
“You mean you love his father’s money.”
“Dele don’t insult me!”
He walked over to her and pulled her into his arms. “I shouldn’t insult you? Don’t you realize throwing yourself around men is enough insult for you? Acting like a prostitute. Why are you so materialistic?!”
She tried to wriggle herself free from him but he held on tight. He grabbed her chin and pressed his lips against hers. She used her fists to hit him, but there was no point. He didn’t relent and her fingers would ache later on.
His eyes swept over her and she felt goose-bumps all over her. His minty breath on her face, he forced her lips open with his tongue and kissed her. Funlola had always inwardly praised him at his kissing skills.
Not telling him to his face ‘cause he could be so proud a times.
Gradually, she melted in his arms. She grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him close; their kiss deepening.
She couldn’t tell how many seconds or minutes they remained lip-locked and his hands finding places to settle. The sound of someone clearing their throat caused them to pull apart. Funlola turned around to find John standing by the door. His face unreadable. She used her finger to clean the side of her mouth.
“John -” She began.