Eleven years ago
Ezinne sat across the table from Ekene, her features knotted in a frown, she was mad as hell but managed to keep a calm composure. They were having dinner at a restaurant in town but Ezinne was so mad she hadn’t bothered with the food. Ekene had ended up ordering her meal when she’d kept mute, staring daggers at him with her arms crossed over her chest.
She was only here because her father had insisted and because she needed a favour from her father in return.She figured if she indulged him by attending this date with Ekene, he might give into her own request.
“Ezinne,” Ekene called her softly, trying to sound concerned but she wasn’t budging. She saw right through his fake antics.
“Are you seriously not even going to touch your meal?” He asked
She raised a brow, “I’m not even going to touch the cutlery, talk less about the food.” she replied.
“Ezinne…” he started but she cut him off with a wave of her hand.
“Save it, Ekene. I’m only here to indulge my dad. Me and you are done, so just save it… I’m only biding time till I get back home and tell my dad that it’s never going to work between us.
Ekene sat back, looking crushed but she didn’t care if she was indeed hurting him. Maybe if she was harsher, he would finally get the point.
“Ezinne, what more do you want from me nau? I have apologised like gazillion times already…. what more do you want from me?” He asked, frustrated.
“That’s it, I don’t want anything from you. Just leave me alone. My dad isn’t listening to me, but if you told him you were not interested in the relationship, he would listen to you. There’s really no……”
“But I’m still interested in you. I want you, Ezinne, I’ve never stopped wanting you.” He told her
She gave derisive snort before she could stop herself. “you want we… while you are out there chasing other skirts, you still want me, right?”
“Ezinne, I’m sorry about all that… I’m done with all that. I will be faithful to you from here on. I swear to you.” He promised.
She rolled her eyes, not buying it. “Yeah, right,” she replied.
“Ezinne!” He exclaimed losing his temper and slamming the table with his fist, drawing attention to them.
She jumped at the sudden change in his temper. He closed his eyes for a second as if to rein in his temper.
She shook her head, now this was the Ekene she knew, not the pretender who was faking repentance just now.
“Ezinne …. you know I have a quick temper. Why do you enjoy aggravating me like this? Why don’t you just do as you’re told? Gosh! I swear you are so frustrating!” He said tersely, barely holding himself together. “Your father wants the best for you, for us, doesn’t he?”
“She raised a brow questioningly, “I should do as I’m told? because I’m a robot? or a computer program? Garbage in, garbage out? Is that what I am to you, Ekene?”
He shook his head, exasperated. “No! Of course not. you know that’s not what I meant.”
“So what exactly did you mean?” She asked crossing her hands over her chest and leaning back in the chair. Silently amused, she watched him struggle with his control.
“You enjoy pushing me….. defying me, taunting me and just…. Just pushing me to the edge.” He said.
Finally, she gave into her amusement. Bursting into a fit of laughs, she cut him off mid-sentence. “ I’m sorry….please…. go on.” She managed to say between laughs.
Ekene sat back, his features drawn, he looked really pissed. Ezinne knew if they were not in such a public place, he might have lashed out at her.
“I’m now a joke to you, am I not?” He asked, his voice now dangerously quiet. His fake repentant façade was off now and he was back to his true form. His eyes were narrowed and he looked like he wanted to beat some sense into her. “ You think this is a joke?”
Dialling back on the laughter, she decided to behave herself before she pushed him to exhibit himself in public. She wouldn’t be surprised if he started beating her right here, he was barely holding himself back.
“I really didn’t mean to laugh but you are just….. you’re something else Ekene. You are seriously going to blame me for everything?” She asked. “You have the sense to tell me that I push you? That your philandering and assault on me, were all my fault? Seriously?”
“Yes!” He replied “I also blame that guy you are deceiving yourself with. The one you are following about and calling your boyfriend. He’s the real joke here… you are the joke, Ezinne… it is yourself you should be laughing at. You are losing people’s respect hanging around that low life and flaunting him all over the place.
My friends have been seeing you around with him and they ask me who the hell he is to be with someone like you. Do you know whose daughter you are? Why have you chosen to bring such disgrace upon your father, upon us?”
Ezinne couldn’t believe she was hearing this. She wasn’t going to sit here while Ekene spewed this vile nonsense.
“Ezinne,” he continued. “Have you stopped to think what you are doing? The image you are portraying to others?”
“The image I’m portraying to others?” She repeated his question stupidly.
It was her turn to lose it, “What’s my business with what some person thinks about me, Kene?” She asked. “ I’m only concerned about my happiness and not what anyone thinks. If someone has a problem with how I live, they can jump in front of a moving train for all I care.”
Ekene raised a brow,”You really don’t care that you have brought your reputation so low dating that riff-raff? Seriously what do you see in him? What can he offer you?”
Ezinne knew he was trying to get her mad by insulting Mofe this way and she wouldn’t let him get to her. “He’s not a riffraff, and he’s hundred times more man than you are!” Ezinne quietly told.
“What? What did you say?”
“You heard me clearly. I don’t care what you and whoever else thinks about him but I love him and that’s all that matters in the end…..”
Her voice trailed as she realised that she’d just said she loved Mofe. Where had that come from? She looked at Ekene who had also heard her proclamation clearly. He looked like he was going to explode.
Ezinne arose from her seat. This dinner was over.
“Ezinne!” Ekene called. “Where do you think you are going? We are not done.”
They were done, she decided as she walked out of the room without looking back. If Ekene couldn’t accept it, that would be too bad.
She knew he couldn’t follow her, he had to settle their bill and by the time he did, she would have been long gone.
Mofe had just gotten to the gates of the estate. After a long day tending to his aunt, he needed to rest. Eric had taken his place and would watch their mother for the night. She had recovered enough and had moved back home.
Settling the bike rider who had dropped him off, he walked the rest of the way to his house.
He had seen Ezinne that afternoon when she’d briefly come over to his aunt’s place with a nice meal of beans porridge with grilled fish and baked potatoes. His aunt had enjoyed the meal immensely. Since The day Einne had gotten her to the hospital, his Aunt had been asking him questions about her.
He’d told her point blank that she was his girlfriend who he had deep feelings for. Aunt Moni knew he wasn’t one to engage in relationships carelessly. He’d had past relationships, not many and couldn’t really be called relationships. What he had with Ezinne surpassed anything he’d had with anyone else.
He’d been introduced to sex at the age of twenty by some older lady who had lived in their compound. She had taught him well enough, not that sex was rocket science though. A female’s body had pleasure spots, pleasure those spots and she would explode. He’d had flings and casual sex with a few other girls but no one had captured his feelings like Ezinne had even though he’d never spoken to her.
Seeing her in class and at home but knowing she would never be his had been a torture. She’d stolen his heart and kept it since the first year of school. He was lucky to have finally captured her attention and it bothered him that he’d confessed his feelings to her that day in her bedroom and all she could do was push him into the bathroom to hide from her dad.
What if she didn’t love him? He thought. What if she could never feel what he felt for her? What is she left him eventually?
Too many what ifs and it all scared him. There was no point thinking this way. It was up to him to keep her attention on him. Instead of thinking about her leaving, he should be strategizing how to make her fall deeper for him. With him travelling out of the country soon, he needed to give her reasons to wait for him.
He was approaching his gate when he saw dark hooded figures standing around in front of his house. He counted six of them. He stopped, knowing something suspicious was going on.
They saw him stop and turned toward him. He turned to run but before he didn’t make it far before they caught up with him. They dragged him back roughly. One of them kicked his knee hard as he fell to the ground.
“Who are you? What do you want?” He asked, not looking up at them. He didn’t want to see my faves, he just wanted to know why they were doing this.
But instead of answers, they began kicking his side’s and punching on him. He protected his head and face with his arms but was barely successful protecting himself from all their blows.
They punched him hard, focusing on his back, chest, sides and stomach.
Just when he thought he was going to pass out, they stopped.
“Listen carefully,” One of them said, leaning closer to him. “Leave that girl alone, she belongs to someone else. If you love your life you will end the relationship. Do you hear me?”
Well, he had his answer, there could only be one person who would plan an attack on him all because of Ezinne. Ekene?
Mofe didn’t move, he was in so much pain. choosing to remain still rather than replying them. They walked off while he remained on the ground, groaning.