Once Upon A first love wasn’t a book Tope Omotosho planned to write. This novel tells the touching story of two teen loves who run into obstacles determined to tear them apart.
When Peju finally reunites with her longtime teen love, Abdul Layeni, it’s a dream come true. He’s the kind of man she wants to be with. In fact, he’s the only man she’s ever known. Their love stronger than ever, she’s determined that nothing will keep them apart again. But it seems fate has other plans for them. In a struggle for love, will she come to realise who her first love really is?
Below is a short excerpt from the titillating book.
Peju Adams rang the doorbell and let out a slow, calming breath. No answer. She raised her hand to the bell again, right when he opened the door.
Her heart leaped at the sight of him. Just like it always did. Smiling, he shifted aside to let her in.
“I didn’t think you would show up,” he said.
“Neither did I. I guess I couldn’t help myself.”
He was casually dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt. Black had always been his favourite colour. On his feet was a new pair of Nike sneakers. She took a seat on his leather sofa, restraining herself for the millionth time that week from pulling him close and wrapping her lips around his. She was curious to know if her body would still respond like it did years ago.
“Yeah, I’ve missed that.”
“What?” Was I thinking out loud? She quickly turned her gaze to his apartment. The décor screamed rich bachelor pad, just like the kind in movies.
“I’ve missed you checking me out. It feels good to know I still appeal to you.” He smiled. “So what would you like to drink? Water, a soft-drink, hot-chocolate…. me?”
She raised a brow at his cheekiness. “Mr. Layeni. Water is fine. Ice-cold please.”
He nodded and headed to the fridge to pull out a bottle of water, a premium brand. He handed it to her ever so gently. “You can start talking when you’re ready.”
“Abdul -” she said wearily.
“When you use that tone, it makes me feel weird.”
She ignored him. “What happened back in school needs to stay there. Our love was just play-play. Nothing serious.”
His expression suddenly grew solemn. “I don’t want to believe you mean that. It was never like that for me. Why do you think I sought you out when I arrived?” He inched closer. “I’m back now. Back for you.”
She shook her head in disbelief and dropped the bottle beside her on the dark, marble tiles. “Can you hear yourself? Time has passed, Abdul. We can’t just pick things up from where we left off. We have both grown. Things have changed, and we don’t have the same values.”
The words Christian values hung loosely on her tongue, but she held back.
Abdul moved even closer, enough to caress her burning cheek. She flinched at his touch, and it wasn’t because his hand was cold.
How do you do this to me, Abdul?
“Nothing matters but us. Plus, it’s not like we didn’t keep in touch, at least for the most part. You’re still the same person I left in Nigeria years ago, only older and sexier,” he teased. She elbowed him back, gently, “And I’m more in love with you than ever before. We can make this work. No restrictions. No barriers. Give us another chance, Habeebah.”
The name sent shivers down her spine. He called her that during their most intimate of moments.
“Abdul. Please. This isn’t secondary school. This isn’t a movie script or a novel. This is –”
“Love, Peju. This is love.”
He cupped her chin, willing her to look at him. She gazed into his eyes and found some of her answers there, but not all. Yes, she loved him. Yes, she would like to be with him forever. What they had was now, and if there was anything she learnt from her late father, it was she had to seize every opportunity when it presented itself. Tomorrow could be too late.
Damning the quiet nudge in her heart not to, she made the move to kiss him and was glad when he responded with as much urgency.
Come out from among them and be ye separate.
The words were whispered against her heart but her desire took over. She didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop. Even her gospel-themed ringtone couldn’t interrupt, no matter how hard it tried. She would call whoever it was later.
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For those interested in the hardcopy they could reach out to Tope on Instagram @topeogunyinka or send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org