I might have to shoot all readers after this because I can’t believe I’m actually admitting to this, but falling asleep with Luke’s arms around me was the best sleep I ever had. Well, except those days mum used to sing to me whenever I was scared of thunderstorms and the dark.
When I woke up, Luke was still very much asleep. I couldn’t blame him, seeing as he was very tired the previous day, and I was up early; because I was an early riser. I took a few seconds to just sit there and admire his face and awesome outlines. He sucked on his lower lip as he slept, making me giggle quietly.
My terrible morning breath got me scrambling off the bed in a jiffy, before I killed or put someone in coma with the intensity of my breath. I grabbed my clothes for the day; black shorts, a sleeveless crop top, and a flimsy beach kimono. Made my way into the bathroom, switched on the lights, and stared at myself in the mirror. Ugh! I did not look good in the morning.
I finished the hygiene business, dressed up, and walked back into the room, but Luke was still very much asleep. I decided I’ll go find Aunty Teju, and see if I would be able to squeeze in some alone time with her before everyone woke up from sleep. I guess we were all tired from the trip and hustle-bustle of the previous day.
I shut the door behind me with as much softness as I could muster, so as not to wake the sleeping fake fiancé. The hallway was silent, but well lit. Even though it was bright, I still looked over my shoulders a couple of times, praying to God that a serial killer would not jump out of the alcoves and saw me to death, right before I could win Tonia. Okay, I should probably lay off horror movies for a while.
I found myself in the kitchen, because I needed a cup of coffee, if I wanted to survive the host of activities I was sure Aunty Teju had planned for the day. Unfortunately, the kitchen was not as deserted as I thought. Standing by an open refrigerator, with a patient Samoyed puppy sitting on the floor at his feet, was Femi.
I was not sure he heard me come in, because his head was buried in the refrigerator, while all I could see were his butt and legs. I knew it was Femi even though I could not see his face. Yes, I knew what Femi’s butt looked like, sue me!
“Jerry boy!” I stretched out my hands towards the best dog I knew.
Startled by my voice in the silent room, Femi banged his head on something within the refrigerator. All I heard was ‘ow!’
Not one to disappoint, Jerry raced towards me with his tail wagging with happiness. I knelt on the floor to be closer to his level. He walked around me and back to my face with a speed I could not keep up with. Raising himself on two paws, he placed the fore-paws on my hands and almost successfully gave me dog kisses. I laughed at his boundless energy before picking him up, and cradling him in my arms like a human baby.
Femi was already standing straight, feet apart, watching me spoil his dog with all the love I specially reserved for dogs. He raised an eyebrow, perusing my outfit; probably trying to come up with a rational explanation about how I actually looked like a girl.
“Good morning.” I finally broke the awkward silence. After the previous night on the patio, I did not know what was going through his head about me anymore.
He nodded, not smiling. “Morning.”
“Where’s my good?” I asked him with a big grin, but his face was still impassive.
He simply shrugged while still staring at me with an expressionless face.
“Why are you up early?” I asked him.
“Jerry needed to go out for a walk and ease himself. After the walk, I was no longer drowsy, so I showered and came here.”
With the angle of the light on his face, Femi looked like an ethereal angel, and I was lost in thoughts, thinking about his face for a few seconds.
He snapped his fingers. “Donnie!”
I shook my head. “Sorry, what?”
He shook his head too. “I said, why are you up early too? I thought you would still be in bed since your cramps came and all that…”
I narrowed my eyes immediately. “Did you plant a camera in my room?”
“Of course not.” He snorted. “I ran into Aunty Teju on her morning jog when I was walking J. She thought I should know that prince Charming came to ask for a massage oil for you last night.”
His expression was so tight, it made me wince internally, but I was also pretty annoyed. “Is Aunty Teju going to report to the whole resort that I’m on my period?”
He shrugged, but I could see the traces of a smile around his lips, even though he was trying so hard to hold it back.
I sighed and bent down to drop the wriggling puppy in my arms. “I didn’t know you brought Jerry with you. Where was he yesterday?”
He picked up a chilled bottle of water from the countertop before responding. “He was uncomfortable after staying cooped up in the car for so long. So, I left him with one of the friendly porters immediately we left the car.”
“What about Dieko? Wasn’t she available to pet-sit him for you?”
He took a swig of water. “Nah. She’s down with the flu.”
“Oh.” Was all I could say in response.
We continued staring at everywhere in the room, except each other. Femi and I were never this awkward before, and it pains me to realize it’s because I have been so oblivious to his feelings for me. When I could not take it any longer, I sighed, and decided to continue on my journey to search for alone time with Aunty Teju.
“Donnie wait.” He called out.
I paused, and took my sweet time in turning around. “Yes?”
“For which part? Likening me to a video game, snapping at me even when I’ve done nothing wrong, or is it for walking out on me at the patio last night?” I was on a roll.
He looked sad, and I suddenly felt guilty for mouthing off. “Everything.”
I sighed, my annoyance deflating. “Femi, what is it? Why are you so different? Do you really have feelings for me or are you just pissed that Luke might become closer to me than you are?”
He motioned for me to come closer and I did. “Look Donnie, it has not been easy for me. You don’t know how difficult it has been, keeping my feelings for you away because I was scared it might jeopardize our friendship. Trust me Dee, it’s been hard.”
“Wow Femi.” To say I was stunned was an understatement. “Why?”
“Why what?” He looked confused.
“Why do you like me that way? Have you seen me? I’m stubborn, opinionated, not girly, and I usually beat you at COD.”
He laughed at the last part, his eyes crinkling at the edges. “True, you are all those things. But you’re also smart, beautiful, loyal, caring, an animal lover, determined, prudent, and just plain amazing. How could any man not fall for that beautiful smile that never fails to brighten up my day?”
Wait! How did I go from being ‘single to stupor’, to being coveted by two handsome and eligible bachelors? Must be a fairytale.
Femi continued. “But I understand that you like Luke. He’s handsome, he’s rich, and he’s everything a woman could ask for. I was just so jealous. I am still jealous, but I just want you to know that even if you pick him, I really hope we can still be friends. Because I would rather have you as a friend than not have you at all.”
My eyes were tearing up. Come on, who was cutting the onions? “Come on Femi. You know I don’t do sappy. Don’t make me cry this beautiful morning.”
“It’s my favorite pastime.” He winked.
“Just so you know.” I raised a finger for him. “I liked Luke even before I knew he was a rich man.”
“I know that.”
“Besides, you are the son of a rich man. Oil money people. Only heaven knows why you chose to suffer and start from scrap. Imagine paying rent in your own father’s house. Could never be me.” Femi’s principles were admirable, but to me, they were just plain unrealistic.
He only sighed. “See ehn, Alhaji’s benevolence to his children comes with prizes I’m not sure I’m going to be ever ready to pay.”
I forgot to mention that Femi was born to an oil magnate; Alhaji Fashanu, but his mother left and took him with her when Alhaji married a second wife. She converted to Christianity, remarried and raised Jubril, now called Femi, as a Christian, though she allowed him visit his Father every holidays.
“Like wanting you to marry Chief Bankole’s daughter. Come on, she’s a catch.”
“I’m allergic to fishing.” He quipped.
I rolled my eyes instead. “You are such a drama king.”
His face suddenly became serious. “On a more serious note Dee, please, all I ask is that you give me a chance when this whole charade is over.”
“Hmmm.” I was overwhelmed by the loving expression I’d always mistook for friendly devotion. “Just give me time to think about it please. Can’t believe I’ve got feelings for two men.”
He smiled. “Does that mean you also have feelings for me?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but a loud voice beat me to it. “Oh, you two are here. Good morning eyin omo yii.”
We both turned simultaneously, to face Aunty Teju, who was standing at the kitchen entrance.
“Good morning Aunty.” I moved towards her to give her a hug.
“Good morning sweetheart.” She released me from the hug and gave me a once over. “How do you feel this morning?”
I smiled at her. “I’m fine aunty. It was just menstrual cramps, not a death sentence. No need to be so worried.”
She swatted me playfully. “Of course I’ll be worried. Is that not my job as a mother? Besides, I am not hounding you this morning only because I know that hunky fiancé of yours must have taken care of you.”
I nodded. “Thank you for the massage ointment. It worked wonders.”
“Mothers know best.” She faced Femi. “I’m glad I found you here. Come and make your fantastic pancakes for us, while Donatella and I make her famous bagel and cheese sandwich.”
I looked at her in surprise. “What? You think I didn’t know you were the ones making those dishes Tonia used to pass of as hers?”
“Well, I know my daughter, and I know there’s a limit to what she can make.” She concluded.
I did not know Aunty Teju was aware that her daughter was capable of deception. With the way my Dad placed Tonia on a pedestal, I just felt everyone thought she was perfect. Aunty Teju rummaged through a drawer, brought out three aprons, and tossed one each, at Femi and I.
Aunty Teju and I burst into laughter when we saw the pink frilly apron Femi held in his hands. He looked mortified, and it was hilarious.
“I’m not wearing this.” He shook his head. “Hell to the no.”
“Fine, swap with Donnie.” Aunty Teju conceded.
I held my apron back. “What? No! I’m not going to be caught dead in pink.”
Aunty Teju sighed, rolling her eyes at our childishness before stretching her white apron towards Femi. “Fine just take mine.”
“Thank you Aunty.” Femi smirked.
We spent the rest of the morning throwing bants and laughing, before the whole herd woke up, and came down for breakfast.
I know, I Know. Late update. I’m really sorry. I had to take some personal time away from typing, just to get some things in order. Thank you for sticking with me nonetheless.
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