Chapter 2Wings of Healing (Chapter 1)
The ornate design of the lobby in Navagne hotels and gardens made me catch my breath as usual and I allowed my eyes to drink in the beauty of the place. The gleaming gold-patterned marble floors, the floor-to-ceiling windows, the tall marble columns, the glittering golden chandeliers, and the elegant leather settees. Everything about Navagne appealed to the senses in a pleasant way.
A hostess approached me with a warm smile as I walked farther into the lobby, and I found myself responding automatically. They really say a smile is infectious.
I told her I’m dining with someone in the restaurant in response to the question she asked if I needed any help. She gave me the directions, and I thanked her, but I already knew how to get there anyway.
Navagne was one our favorite haunts. Alex loved their seafood, and I loved all their food. I smiled to myself; I really did like food, but I also liked my new figure. I had dropped two dress sizes and fully intended to keep it that way.
I spotted Alex immediately I entered the restaurant. He looked up at that moment and caught my eyes. I loved the way his eyes light up as they meet mine. He stood as I approached and drew out a chair for me.
“You’re looking particularly pretty today, honey,” he said, touching my cheek lightly. “I love your new hair-do, and that dress is new, too, isn’t it?”
“Thank you.” I smiled back at him, pleased that my efforts had paid off, then pretended to frown. “But are you trying to say you know all my clothes or what?”
“Of course not.” He laughed. “I just kind of know this is new, though.”
“It is. Fayona bought it for me on her recent trip.”
“Oh, that’s nice of her. How is she, by the way?”
“She’s good. She’s just got this new contract, and she’s really excited about it.” I told him more about that, and Alex was very impressed when he learnt the event Fayona would be planning was for the Ade-Johnsons, a popular family in Lagos.
A waiter approached us, and we gave our orders after going through a few of the chef’s specials for the day with him.
“How did your meeting go today?” I asked.
“Wonderful. My director bought my ideas, and he’s asked me to set up a team to begin implementing them.” His eyes gleamed with excitement. “He also gave me free vouchers for FaySu Resorts.”
“Whoa! That’s so cool!” FaySu was a really lovely resort, and it was located near one of the biggest theme parks in the country. I had been wanting to take Zara there for a bit but had not managed to find the time.
“It was really nice of him.” Alex leaned forward slightly. “And guess what? I’ve just paid for another room for you at the same resort so we can go together.”
“Lovely!” I was excited. I’d been working really hard, and I could use the break.
“It gets better still. I told Leke about it, and he and his wife have agreed to join us.”
“Better and better still,” I agreed happily. Leke and his wife, Zipporah, were close friends with Alex. They had a five-year-old daughter and lived in the same estate as him. Zara would be excited to have a little playmate, and she would love playing big sister to their daughter.
“Yeah, it will be a good time for all of us to bond. They can also chaperone us,” Alex said, winking at me.
I laughed. We had discussed all the abstinence stuff, and we had kept to it. I’d gone down that route before, and I never intended to do it ever again. God had just been too good to me for me to dishonor Him that way.
Alex told me the weekend we would be going away, and I smiled happily as I mentally began to make plans. I knew I could sort time off at work.
The waiter brought our drinks and starters, and we both dug in.
“Yum,” I told Alex as I savored the taste of the spicy grilled king-size prawns I had ordered. “Navagne always has a way with its food.”
“I agree. I love these scallops. Want to try it?” Alex asked.
He fed me some off his plate. It tasted really good like he had said, and I munched away happily.
“Zara can stay with your parents while we are away, can’t she?” Alex asked.
I looked up and met his eyes. That put paid to the thought that had been playing at the back of my mind that we would all be going together.
“That should be okay,” I agreed, trying to keep my face expressionless, but I wasn’t sure I succeeded. Fayona had always teased me that I could not play poker.
“That’s settled, then,” Alex said, before changing the topic. If he noticed my countenance, he didn’t show it.
I sighed inwardly. Zara’s matter always seemed to loom between us. It was like the elephant in the room. Very obvious, but we pretended it wasn’t there.
But it’s really not that bad, I reasoned with myself as I drove back home later that evening. After all, Alex had accepted the fact that I had a child. Not many men would, at least not in the part of the world I lived in.
I had been upfront with him from the beginning and had told him about Zara on our second date. He had been surprised but had simply responded to the news with a “These things happen” comment.
I had been really glad at his response and had hoped everything would go smoothly, and it had. Well, sort of…Just that Alex paid Zara little or no attention.
It wasn’t that he was unpleasant to her—I wouldn’t stand for that, anyway. It was just the fact that other than saying hello to her and politely enquiring about her school work or something similar, he would normally just ignore her. I had created a play area in my dining room for Zara, and she had many of her toys set up there. Some of my friends who came around often played a bit with her, and my girl would introduce her dolls and toys to them. Alex had only done that once since we’d started dating, and even then, had appeared uncomfortable doing so.
“Maybe he’s not very used to kids,” I had told Fayona on one occasion when she had been around and I had noticed she had observed the stiff way Alex was with Zara. “He’s not got any nieces or nephews yet, so that probably explains it,” I had said somewhat defensively.
“Well, he’s involved with a woman who has a child now,” Fayona had responded drily. “So he’s got to start or at least attempt to start bonding with Zara.”
“I’m sure he will,” I had replied, sounding more confident than I felt. Many men would have taken off once they knew about Zara, but Alex had stayed. Stayed and still wanted to marry me.
“I’m sure he will come round,” I said aloud as I took the turn that would take me towards my house.
Alex was a blessing, my blessing from the Lord, and I knew once he got more used to Zara and saw how sweet she was, he would begin to love her like I did.Wings of Healing (Chapter 3)