Eleven Years Ago
Ezinne stood at the door of the computer laboratory, eyeing the room and feeling conflicted. She was
very late for a meeting scheduled with Mofe who she had kept waiting for a while now and she could
spot him from where she stood, she could also spot her friends Dara and Osas at another end of the
room, also waiting to see her. Dara had called her up earlier saying Ekene had been blowing up her
phone with his calls asking that Dara speak to her on his behalf. Ezinne didn’t want her friends
interfering in the issue but she doubted they had a choice in the matter. She knew first hand how
annoying Ekene’s persistence could be, so she had told Dara they would talk in the computer lab.
Now she was wondering who to meet first, if she went in her friends’ direction now, she might not
leave them in the next two hours, they would get carried away with talking. Ekene’s gist wasn’t
important to her, nothing anyone said would help him. They were never getting back together, like
never ever!So she decided on Mofe because he’d been the one she had a meeting with in the first place
and had been waiting for her a while now, she walked down to where he was seated hunched over his
computer, staring at the screen in deep concentration.
For a genius and a nerd, he was really attractive and it took quite a lot of acting to hide that she didnt
notice this. She wasn’t sure when she had begun checking him out but working together so closely, she
had begun to notice how curly his dark hair was, his chiseled facial features , deep set eyes shaded by
thick lashes giving him a broody look all the time and even the rough beard over his angular jaw was
quite appealing to her. She had caught herself more than once wondering what it would be like
running her hand over the roughness.
She sighed mentally, good thing her project work was rounding up soon because she needed to get
over whatever infatuation she was going through and that would begin once they didn’t work so
closely anymore. She had wondered if he had a girlfriend, good looking guy like him had to have one,
he was good boyfriend material. He was disciplined, never disappointed, kept to his word and was
always on time unlike her useless Ekene who was almost always late and a liar. Recalling the past
week’s episode, when Mofe had butted into her argument with Ekene, she could still recall vividly the
look in his eyes. He’d been ready for a fight, and had only left because she had assured him she was
okay. Like Ekene had said she had a watchdog and hadn’t even known it.
Approaching him now she had to smile as the word ‘sexy nerd’ popped up in her head. How was it
possible to be this good looking and also be so smart? He was almost doing her project from scratch
and she’d not even asked him to, he could have just changed some things, made it more efficient but
he had thought it not good enough, he was so thorough. Such a sexy perfectionist, but she didn’t really
mind as far as she got her ‘A’.
“Hey you,” she playfully patted him on the back.
He turned to her with her welcoming smile, his deep set eyes crinkling at the sides, his curly hair was
lower than usual and his beard was trimmed giving him a ruggedly clean look. She wasn’t sure how
that was even possible but that was the best way to describe his looks.
“Hi,” His eyes held hers like they always did whenever he spoke to her. It got her shy, she wasn’t gutsy
enough to look him in those eyes that seemed to see through to one’s soul. If he held her eyes for too
long she was afraid of what he would see in hers and so she preferred focusing on something else
“I thought you wouldn’t show.” He said
“Yeah, I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting so long, I got delayed.” She apologized drawing her gaze
from his to the laptop on the table, as she sat on the lab stool next to his. “How is it going?” She asked
eyes on the PC and realizing he had changed some more things but it looked really good, he had taken
her design and made it so much better.
“Really good, look what I did with ……”
“Zinnie!” Ezinne heard Dara screech and turned to see her friend running in her direction. ‘uh oh’ she
thought knowing she would have to devote some time to her friend but she purposed to dismiss Dara
as soon as she could.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were around? We have been waiting for ages,” Dara said as she
enveloped her in a hug, like she hadn’t seen her in weeks when they saw each other everyday. Osas
hadn’t come over from where she sat, but was beckoning on her to come over with her hand with a
huge smile pasted on her face.
Mofe turned to give them a once over before turning back to his work, she really shouldn’t keep him
“You couldn’t even say hi, or are you hiding from us?” Dara accused assessing her
“Why in the world would I hide from you when I asked you to meet me here?” Zinnie asked perplexed.
“ Do I know? You know I wanted to talk to you about this your boyfriend, Ekene,”
“Abeg, he isn’t my boyfriend, he is a liar and a cheat and I deserve better.” Ezinne told her friend.
“He is saying you are being unreasonable,” Dara told her and Ezinne’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Unreasonable? Is he for real?” She sputtered.
“That was how he put it, he also called Osas, come and hear all he said to her, she recorded it,” Dara
took her arm without waiting for her reply but Ezinne was really interested in hearing what Ekene had
told her friend and forgot about Mofe and her project work. She got up from the stool and followed.
“Were you doing anything serious?” Dara asked halfway.
“I’ll get back to it.” She needed to hear this, she wouldn’t be too long.
“What are you doing with that guy, isn’t he the one who does stuff around your house?”
“Yeah, he is helping with my project. I’ll get back to it after I hear what Ekene said to Osas.” She
replied, she wouldn’t be long.
Ezinne was feeling guilty as hell. She’d thought she wouldn’t spend so much time with her friends but
she hadn’t known how time had flown past so quickly and she’d ended up spending close to forty
minutes with Dara and Osas talking about her ex boyfriend who she didnt even give a half of a damn
about. When she had turned to where Mofe had been seated, it had been empty. He’d left sometime
during her valueless conversation with her friends without a word to her and Ezinne had a feeling he
was royally pissed.
It had been unfair of her and she had to right the wrong. She had called his phone but it had been
unavailable and so she had come home instead, intending to check on him at home.
She’d been at his gate for about five minutes ringing the bell but it seemed like he wasn’t home either.
As she decided to leave, the gate was pulled open. She had begun preparing her apology when she
saw it wasn’t Mofe but some other guy. She’d seen him around with Mofe but she hadn’t been
introduced to him before.
“Hi,” she greeted “Is Mofe around?”
The guy regarded her lazily, looking her up down and back, a smirk on his face, he replied “Nope.”
“Do you know when he’ll be back?” She asked, sensing an attitude. There was a mocking way he was
looking at her and she decided she didn’t like him.
“Why? So you can stand him up again?” He asked sarcastically.
“Excuse me?” Ezinne asked confused.
“You had a meeting with him, to which you came late and then abandoned him to go gist with your
She frowned knowing Mofe must have told him about their failed meeting but it hadn’t exactly been
like that “I didn’t abandon him, I just …”
He cut in before she could speak, “You think he had nothing else to do than to just sit by idly and wait
there for you to finish gisting with your friends?”
“Look!” She snapped appalled at his rudeness “I admit I was wrong in wasting his time and I came here
to apologise but I don’t know you and I don’t need to explain myself to you. When he returns let him
know I was here, I’m sure you know who I am already.” She said crisply, who did this guy think he was
“Apologise?” he said with a scoff “He invests time he could be using to do other really important things
for himself, on your work. He does this freely for you when he others pay him to look at theirs and he
doesn’t give them half as much time as he has given your work. He’s not charging you for it so the
least you can do is be on time when you have a meeting with him and save your apologies.”
Her mouth dropped open, who was this guy to talk to her this way? She wondered as he shut the gate
in her face. He was so bloody rude and had serious attitude problems.
But what had he said about Mofe charging others to look at their work? She hadn’t known he did that
as he’d never mentioned it. Why hadn’t he, he’d invested quite a lot of time in her work, the least she
could do was pay him for his time.
Mofe was done with torturing himself, he realized it had been a bad idea working so closely with
Ezinne, his poor tender heart couldn’t take it anymore. These past two weeks had been like a dream
come through for him, he’d been spending some time with the girl he’d carried a crush on for years. He
hadn’t cared that it was work bringing them together, as far as he got to be with her for a few
minutes, he had been happy but now he was reconsidering.
He had realized a few things in their brief time together, one of which was, she wasn’t as stuck up as
he’d thought, she could be quite playful and down to earth. In his naïve mind he’d begun thinking they
were getting past the stage where she had seen him as just the help and maybe considered him a
friend but he had been dead wrong. That afternoon, he’d seen the relationship for what it really was,
he was there just to help with her work. Gosh, he felt pathetic for himself and knew he had to rid
himself of these damned feelings one way or another because they weren’t doing him any good.
She had just left him sitting there waiting. After an extra thirty minutes of waiting for her, he had left
as he was already an hour and a half late for a meeting with his aunt, the woman who had taken him
in after his parents had been killed in an auto crash. She was dear to him and he had pushed off seeing
her for some chick who didn’t think much of him aside that he was working on her project for her. His
eyes were open now and he was done fooling himself, it had been great while it had lasted but now
was the time to wake up.
He walked in the dark to his house, the streets of the estate quiet with just the street lights
illuminating the dark night. Almost at his gate now, he couldn’t wait to sleep and forget about what
had happened that afternoon. The humiliation had bothered him so much that his aunt had noticed
there was something wrong, he’d had to lie that it was stress from working on his project but he
suspected she hadn’t been fooled because she had kept looking at him with concern in her eyes. He
hoped Eric hadn’t told her anything, Mofe wouldn’t be surprised if he had because Eric couldn’t keep
anything to himself.
His employer, a lieutenant Colonel wasn’t around as he was on another of his numerous assignments
outside the state. He travelled quite a lot and that was why he needed Mofe in the compound, taking
care of things and keeping the place until he was in town. His aunt had helped with the job as she had
been housekeeper to the colonel’s sister and family until she had resigned two years back. Now she
ran a small petty trading business.
As Mofe approached the gate to his house, he noticed a lone figure sitting on the lawn outside the
gates, seeming to be going through the phone.
His brain told him who it was but he refused to accept it, it seemed like her but he needed to get closer
to confirm that his mind or eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. He wasn’t wrong, it was Zinnie and she
was going through her phone intently, earphones plugged into her ear.
What in the world was she doing in front of his house and how long had she been ther, he wondered
as he stood in front of her. His shadow falling over her, she looked up at him.
“Hello?” He said, wondering why she was seated outside his gate.
“Hi Mofe, you’re back.” She pushed herself up, dusting her behind as she stood up.
His resolve to shelve his feelings for her suddenly weakened as the thought that she had waited out
there for him for a considerable amount of time ran through his mind. But recalling that she was only
being friendly with him because he was working on her project, it returned. Her presence there had to
do with the project, they hadn’t gone over it in the afternoon so she was probably hoping they would
do so that evening but he would save her time.
Without a word, he dipped his right hand into his front jean pocket and he retrieved his flash disk and
handed it to her. He didn’t trust himself to speak, not sure how it would come out. It wasn’t her fault, it
was all his for being an infatuated fool, he had to face reality now.
A frown creasing her brows, she looked from the disk to him and back “What’s that?”
“Your project, I’m done with it.” He said, keeping emotion out of his voice, intending to do this as civilly
Still looking confused, she accepted it, their fingers grazing as she looked up at him again. “I searched
for you all over school Mofe, you left without informing me. I’m so sorry for leaving you the way I did, I
got carried away by my friends and…”
“Not a problem,” He lied, cutting her off, he walked to his gate without glancing back at her.
“Mofe,” She called quite uncertain, he turned but didn’t look in her direction. He loved looking at her,
looking into her pretty light brown eyes but if he did that now, he feared he would do something
irrational, like beg her to give him a chance at being her boyfriend.
“I’m telling you I’m sorry and you’re just going to walk away?”
“I said it’s not a problem, what more do you want from me, I’ve handed you the complete project work
on the flash, our business is done.” He snapped irritated and losing patience.
Shit, he hadn’t meant to snap but she really should just leave. he thought he saw something cross her
eyes but he wasn’t sure what it was and she covered it fast.
“Okay, if that’s it, how much do I pay for your work?” She asked him pointedly.
He looked at her, it was his turn to be confused “What are you talking about?”
She shrugged noncommittally “I’m paying you for your services, I don’t want all this time you put into
my work to be for nothing.”
He scoffed unbelievably, now he was a whore being offered payment for his services. Money was
everything to her, wasn’t it? As long as he was being paid, she had control, she could treat him like the
paid help. Well, he would just have to disappoint her as he had genuinely helped her expecting nothing
“Don’t worry about it,” He clipped.
“But… I thought you were…. you do this sort of thing for money, don’t you? Your friend in there told
me…” She said nodding at the house.
He frowned, was she talking about Eric? He cut her off “Did I ever insinuate that I was doing it for
“No, but most of the things you do around, you get paid for it, so why won’t you accept my money?”
“Ezinne, please stop, I didn’t do your work for money… just go, please.”
“Mofe, did I do anything to offend you aside from today? Is that why you are acting like this?”
“Acting how?” He asked in exasperation.
“You are not even looking at me, and you don’t want me to pay you. Others pay you so why won’t you
accept payment from me?”
He shook his head, turning to face her fully now, making himself look her in the face. “You just look at
me and all you see is paid help isn’t it? You just see a guy desperate for money, don’t you?”
His sudden accusation had her jaw dropping in surprise, she struggled with an answer “I…no, of course
not, I just thought… I thought I should appreciate all the work and time you have put into my work.”
“Bullshit! You were going to pay for my services, that was probably why you left with your friend and
kept me waiting like I didn’t have anything else to do but wait for you? I should have just put the time
wasted on your tab and presented you with the bill later, right?”
“I said I was sorry about that, I didn’t even realize time had passed so quickly. If you had signaled me, I
Oh? So now its my fault now that I didn’t tell you that you were keeping me waiting?” Now she was
going to blame him?
“Mofe, why are you blowing this thing out of proportion, you know that’s not what I meant.”
“Ezinne, I put off a meeting with someone important to me for almost two hours because of your work
and that’s why I’m blowing it out of proportion. You can keep your money, I did it for a friend, or
someone I thought was one and I don’t charge my friends for my work….but if you think we aren’t
friends, just accept it as bonus off being your paid help for four years, goodnight Ezinne.”
“Wait Mofe,” She called again, the frustration evident in her voice.
He turned again, what was it now, he was also frustrated. Why didn’t she just leave?
“I get that you are really pissed with me, so I will ignore your harsh tone and words because I have
worked with you long enough to know you to an extent but please, I still insist that you let me pay you
something.” She said her eyes pleading, he wanted to say something but she continued “You invested
so much of your time here, and did it so well, and it wouldn’t be fair. Please let me do something for
“Why are you insisting on paying me? Is it that I can’t do it as a friend, I can’t be your friend, I’m not up
to that level? You see me as the help, so I must always be paid for whatever I do for you?” He was
really curious to know why she was on this payment thing like this, it wasn’t normal anymore.
“No, Mofe its not like that, I told you… you put much work into this and…..” she sighed looking away
“and I know you need the money,”
Realization was beginning to dawn on him, she saw him as a broke guy who needed every penny he
could rustle up. Yes, she was spot on but he would be damned if he would collect even a dime from
someone he cared so deeply about.
“I need money, yes but not from you. Goodnight Zinnie,” He told her with a finality that she didn’t call
him back anymore and as he opened the gate to go in.
She was still standing there when he closed it looking very confused.