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Dinner was a grand affair and Hadizat was astonished to see that Timi went all out. They were sitted as White Orchid restaurant and the waiters handed them the menu. Hadizat looked at Timi. He was busy perusing the menu.
“Timi,” she called in a whisper. He looked up.
“Are you sure about this? This place is quite expensive.”
Timi smiled and as it usually happened whenever he did so, her heart seemed to lurch in her chest. “I’ve got it covered Hadi”. He enclosed hee hand in his on the table and gave it a slight pat before letting go. “Everything is covered.”
Hadizat relaxed a bit and resolves to enjoy herself. They were in the middle of the main course when Timi asked, “So, is there any significant other? A boyfriend or fiance? I don’t think there’s one but I don’t want to presume.”
Hadizat reached out for her glass and sipped a bit before shaking her head slowly.
“Really?” Timi looked a bit shocked. “No one in Edinburgh? I was sure that’s where you were hiding him.”
Hadizat laughed and thanked God there was no food in her mouth else she would have choked. “Timi,” she reproved.
“Okay, okay. I’ll stop.” He grinned and resumed his meal.
“I’m glad though,” he spoke again after a mouthful. “That there’s no significant other.”
“What about Grace?” Hadizat asked. “How is she?”
She looked up in time to see Timi drop his spoon and dab the sides of his mouth with a serviette. Hadizat was amazed at the abrupt change in his demeanour.
“Timi, what is it?”
“Nothing. It’s just…can I tell you about it?”
“I told you about Grace in ABUAD. I met her in the fellowship when she came in 100 level and I said to myself, ‘There goes a beauty’. I didn’t give her a second look till I was in final year. That was a few weeks before I introduced her to you in the library. Before we graduated, I approached her and informed her of my intentions – I meant to date and marry her. She agreed.”
He paused and gulped down the contents of his glass before he continued. “I didn’t suspect unfaithfulness of any kind. Even when I was in law school, I’d chat with her via Messenger or WhatsApp, send her airtime and even money once in a while. When I was done with law school, she was rounding up at ABUAD. I suggested we both serve in Lagos, she refused. I felt she didn’t want me to choke her so, I agreed.”
Timi breathed in deeply and continued. “I served in Lagos. She went to Abuja. On her birthday that year, I had a cake delivered to her but I also decided to surprise her by paying her a visit unannounced and taking her out to dinner. When I got there, I received the shock of my life. There were two guys fighting just outside her door. Guess who they were fighting over?” Timi laughed bitterly.
“Grace?” Hadizat’s eyes almost popped out.
“I couldn’t join the fray. I just called one of her roommates to confirm. That one came outside and explained things to me. She didn’t know how to tell me Grace was two-timing, bla bla blah. I left quietly. The next day, I called to confront Grace and she rained insults on me. That was when it dawned on me that I really didn’t know who I wanted to get married to. I didn’t know her at all. So, I called it quits.”
“Wow. That’s serious,” Hadizat muttered.
“Yeah. And I just ruined dinner by recounting that tale,” Timi smiled. “Hadi, please forgive me.”
“No offense. It’s okay. There’s still dessert.”
“Of course,” Timi replied and gestured to the waiter.
Their dessert – red velvet cake arrived and Hadizat enjoyed the sumptuous taste. In the middle of dessert, she looked up to see Timi’s eyes fixed on her with an expression she could not decipher. Hadizat dropped her spoon and bared her fears.
“What are we doing?”
Timi seemed to recollect himself and his eyes lost their glazed expression. “What do you mean?” He asked.
“I mean, why are you doing all this? Taking me out for lunch, visiting, this date…”
“Because you obviously don’t love me. You can’t even be with someone like me. Are you trying to lead me on? I can’t even compare with Grace. Timi, are you toying with my emotions?”
“How can you even…I could never…”
“…cos I can’t handle it Timi. I’ve been through so much. I can’t…”
Hadizat stopped her charade long enough to look into Timi’s face. This was his serious look. He was about to speak when her phone rang and she saw the name of someone who had not called in a while.
Hadizat picked immediately. “Munirat, yayaki…”
“Ina kwana Hadizat. Zo quickly. Mama had a heart attack. She’s unconscious. She needs you now!”
Before Hadizat could say a word, the call had ended.
“What is it?” Timi asked looking at her with concern.
“I need to go home now.”
“Sure? It’s just 8.40…”
“Take me home Timi.”
The ride back home was silent. Each was lost in their own thoughts. Timi wanted to broach the issue Hadizat had raised of him stringing her along but he didn’t know how she would take it in her distraught state. He decided to leave it till another time.
When they got home, Hadizat told him a quiet thank you and went in. She narrated the phone call to Mr. and Mrs. Adegbite and a decision was made.
By 8am the next morning, Hadizat was on a flight to Abuja with Yola as her destination.