Home, a place she belonged but didn’t feel its vibe. She felt odd being back home. Maybe it was the trauma of never seeing her family again or the overbearing behavior of her family or the invasion of privacy from Jide.
She wasn’t sure how she felt but she knew she was missing Efe and his infectious smile. She wished she didn’t part ways with him on bad terms but she wasn’t ready for her family.
She was scared of becoming who she was before the abduction; sad, frustrated and alone. She was tired of being left behind and Efe did just that.
“Excuse me” Mine muttered standing up.
“Where are you going? You haven’t answered my questions”
Mine heaved a sigh. “Why didn’t I show up at Royale Exquisite? How many times I was intimate with Efe? Is that all?”
Jide gave her a blank look.
“I told you all everything, to the tiniest detail and you never asked about me, my health, state of mind-”
Jide interrupted her, speaking with gritted teeth. “You are perfectly fine, we all can see that”
Zira and Mine’s family stood up to leave, allowing them to sort out their issues when she stopped them.
“You don’t want to hear my answer?” Mine questioned.
They looked everywhere but her. Maybe they have seen her at the lowest point in her life, broken and empty that they knew she wouldn’t return to Jide, at least not after his right questions at the wrong time.
“Mine-” Mr. Atare started but Mine cut him off.
“That has always been the problem Jide. You all can see I am perfectly fine” she said sarcastically.
Jide stood up. “Answer my question”
Staring into his eyes, Mine saw several emotions but the one that struck her was distrust and pity. Yes, she was abducted and spent several days with a guy but that’s where trust comes in.
She realized she wasn’t miserable when she was away and standing face to face with him, her happiness was slowly being replaced by old feelings she knew too well.
This is what I need to get away from. Mine thought to herself.
She walked out, without a glance at him. Jide was surprised. She had never dared to walk out on him before.
“Give her time” Mrs. Atare suggested.
“She can’t distinguish before a fling in light and death situation and a real relationship?!” Jide flared. “I was going to propose, that’s how serious I am”
“She just returned from-”
“I’ll take my leave, please don’t make excuses for her” Jide said leaving.
Zira silently excused herself to check on her best friend. She never thought her friend would simply show up after weeks and it was easy to see she changed.
Zira met her seated on her bed, staring at a blank wall. This wasn’t she was hoping to return to.
“You care about him, a lot more than you should,” Zira said confidently, so sure of her words. “Why are you sitting like wasting time?”
“You are a terrible friend” Mine chuckled.
Zira shrugged her shoulders, sitting behind her on the bed. “If caring about your happiness means I am terrible, then so be it. I don’t want you to be depressed again and feel so lonely when we are all here.”
Mine threw herself into her friend’s arms, relishing in the warmth it provided.
Efe stared at the gate he had seen Mine go into. He wasn’t sure where he was going until he found himself giving direction to his friend and he ended up here.
His friend stared at him. He obviously has it deep for the girl he met while he was abducted but why the hesitation?
They sat in silence, waiting for who to make the first move. They weren’t sure how long had gone by when they heard a tap on the car window.
“Jide why-” Cara halted when she saw the strange face. “Who are you? Why are you staring at my friend’s house?” Cara gasped as she realized it could be the abductors.
“I mean no harm” Efe quickly said, stepping out of the car limping on one foot with a walking stick.
Cara gave him a thorough look. He can’t do much on one leg, she thought.
“It doesn’t answer my question,” Cara told him with a sassy look.
“I want to see Mine,” Efe said.
“Wait here,” Cara said and walked into the compound.
“Who is she?” Efe friend asked.
“A sassy one” Efe answer, chuckling. Mine had told him of a sassy friend and it wasn’t hard to identify her.
Zira stepped out a short while later and met Efe. He wasn’t familiar but the smile that greeted him assured him she wasn’t a sassy one.
“Come in Efe,” Zira told him leading the way. It wasn’t hard to identify a man who was limping just like Mine had told him and the smile, she wasn’t exaggerating.
Mine came into view.
All eyes flung to her direction, her voice as angelic as ever, he missed hearing her voice. He shamelessly gawked at her.
“We will give you guys space to talk,” Zira said dragging Cara away.
Efe’s friend got the message and excused himself too.
“You shouldn’t be standing for too long,” Mine said propping his arm over her shoulder, disregarding the walking stick in his hand.
“I want to court you”
“I know,” Mine said, gently helping him sit.
“I can’t forget all that be to pretend nothing happened”
“I know,” Mine said squatting side him to check on his injury.
“I really like you”
Efe was sad when she didn’t reply, instead she feigned ignorance of his words. He watched her every move like he used to.
“You are smiling now and without a reason”
“Someone once said being alive is enough reason to smile. Until I decided to be happy, no one can make me happy”
Efe grinned. “The person is smart”
“More like a handful” Mine rebuffed. He frowned. “And it’s going to be a very long tiring journey with him but I don’t mind, I will learn along the way, my sanity out the window, each day will be filled with happiness and laughter, away from the craziness of urban life but I can manage.”
Efe was stunned. It was mere words or maybe confession but in his ears, or was wedding vows and that was enough for him.
He pulled her into his arms for a bear’s hug. His injuries were worth it. Maybe she hadn’t experienced almost losing him, she could be stuck with conflicted feelings.
He squeezed her tightly in his arms, allowing the silence to convey their unspoken words but some words needed to be spoken.
“I really like you too” Mine muttered beside his ear.
“Can we get married today?” Efe asked in a serious tone, releasing her from his arms.
“I like you but until you make me fall in love with you, no marriage” Mine teased.
“Let’s get abducted again,” Efe suggested, throwing Mine into a fit of laughter.
Unknown to them, her parents and friends were watching them, surprised but relieved she would finally be happy and not question everything in her.
“You wear glasses?” She asked, noticing his eyeglass for the first time.
He kissed her nose and rested his forehead on hers. “Thank you” he whispered.
“Thank you for being you, abduction partner and being a handful”
“Let’s go in”
“Your boyfriend?” He asked.
“He’s history now,” she said and winked at him.
Efe wasn’t worried, he had a future with her to look forward to.