Would she spend the rest of her life with him? …by Tisha
Iphey looked up briefly in shock to see Chinedu waiting on her answer, half in anticipation, the other half as vulnerable as a child. His eyes glittered like lightning but held Iphey‟s gaze and waited for her to do something, anything to show that this was what she wanted too. Iphey gazed into Chinedu‟s eyes for a second or so and then she fluttered her own eyes shut to hide her confusion. Nothing had prepared her for this. Being with him was everything she had ever dreamed of; in the short time they had been together, she had come to depend on him so much. She had tried to hold back many times in case it was not that serious and things did not work out, but Chinedu had a lust for life that was contagious and what he wanted he got. He did all he did with passion, a quality sometimes alien to her except where work and family were concerned.
When they went out together, he was always the center of attention wherever they ended up. His full throaty laughter made her heart soar and then made her smile every time. She had tried to maintain her routine so that he could be a part of her life and not take over her world but many times she would find herself listening for the sound of his car, the distinct slapping sound of his Joe Bloggs shoes and the jingle of his keys. He invaded her space slowly and consequently her life. She could not deny how his eyes lit up and her heart jumped in her chest every time he turned up at her doorsteps and she looked forward to his warm embrace, she could hug him forever. Why could she not spend the rest of her life with him?
She weighed her options. It was true they had only been seriously dating for three months but their first date had been in November last year, six months ago. From that day, he had been making inroads into her emotions, her mind and her family. The fact was that if every thing worked out as planned, she would be gloriously happy and content but if not, she would never ever forget him. She would be torn and having her heart broken would be an understatement.
She would forever miss his presence like a part of her; her soul most likely would be fragmented, forever lost to her. Her family, friends and her work would suffer because she would be unable to ignore the loss.
She glanced up at him and wondered if she was willing to risk her life with him like that. Who was she fooling? It had long been out of her hands, only the decision she would make was in her hands. Her lashes flirted with the silken texture of her face and her eyes widened with complete openness, not caring who could see the naked emotions on her face. She saw the possibilities for all the good that could come and she saw the dangers flash before her eyes and she knew this was the moment she had been waiting for all her life.
“Babe?” he called. “Please don’t keep me waiting too long.”
She looked into Chinedu‟s eyes, hers solemn and quiet, stretched her hand across the table and grasped his own. She looked into his eyes steady and sure, his features beautiful. They could be hard edges one moment and then suddenly soft and compassionate. She looked at his build, he was well toned all over with not a layer of fat, all pure muscle or at least that is what all the ladies say. He carried his brown slacks and neutral colored shirt like a work of art; he wore his hair short and simple brown leather strapped Calvin Klein watch.
She searched his face, her mind wandering, praying to see the future, to see if he would hurt her, how much he would hurt her. What gave her the courage to go ahead was this: he was a man of integrity with strength of character and a heart full of courage, she looked at him from the corners of her eyes the way only a woman could watch, and she knew that this was the only man for her, a man comparable to her; they fit like a perfect waltz in all things. She turned limpid pools of her brown colored eyes at him and knew exactly what her answer would be. Yet when she spoke, her voice little more than a whisper.
Chinedu met her soft gaze then but his face was hard, as if ready for battle prepared for whatever came, even a negative answer.
“What did you say?” he asked in a strong voice.
“Nedu,” her voice lifted an octave higher, “I love you and I‟ll marry you,” she ended smiling.
She saw relief in his eyes and barely glimpsed his lips descend towards hers, she did not wait for him to land but met him halfway as their tongues dueled and clashed with the force of the attraction they felt one for another, absolutely unimaginable.
She was a bit taken aback and gasped as she felt like he consume her whole, she was vibrating from head to foot at the power behind the kiss they shared and could feel the desire pumping through her veins, she felt Chinedu deepen the kiss again and she made a move quickly as she placed her hand on his chest to stop him.
“Nedu…” she groaned in half surrender “We are in a restaurant…”
She tried to glance around but her gaze was caught in his. He kissed her a little slower, nibbling here and there and then he withdrew, removed a black object from his pocket then knelt in front of her, opened the box gingerly to reveal a simple silver band, nothing setting it apart, except for the fact that he was the one giving it to her.
“This is my mother‟s…” he smiled “I have been carrying it around for the last few weeks hoping for a perfect time to give it to you.” He smiled simply “This is not an engagement ring, I didn’t know I would propose today. But it is a gift to show you that you’re the only one for me. As it is, I don‟t think there will be a better time than this,” his voice was a whisper by this time.
Her passion-darkened eyes had filled with surprise he talked and now as slipped the ring he held in his hands to her already outstretched hand and unto her finger inch by inch, a strange calm came over her. Then the enormity of responsibility the ring on her finger placed on Iphey‟s shoulders hit almost immediately. She had entrusted her heart, soul and mind to him with seven words, to the one man who had a chance at breaking her heart and she, though her logic tried to point her in another direction, refused to pick another, how difficult was it anyway?
“Nedu…” she whispered in fear and awe, “your mother’s?”
“Yes and I want you to have it. You will be the mother of my children and mine too.” His smile spread joy over her heart and she wrapped her fingers over the simple ring.
“I love you Nedu, thank you for this.”
“I love you too.” He punctuated this with a kiss.
Her phone began to ring almost immediately.
“I should have switched this off …” she muttered apologetically as she glanced down at her Nokia BlackBerry “…Oh, it‟s James my sister‟s husband and I need to take it.”
“Go on,” Chinedu waved her ahead. “I’ll go settle the bill.”
Iphey smiled at him and admired his backside as he walked away. And then she focused on the phone and what James was saying.
“You want to see me? Can I come with Ngozi? No? OK, where? Alright, I’ll soon be there.”
She hung up just as Chinedu returned. “I have to go home now. James wants us to meet.”
“No problem, I’ll take you there if you want?”
Iphey was grateful for all his help so far in locating James but now she felt she should do this on her own. She had to speak sense to James to return to his family and best if he wasn’t defensive already that she came with someone.
“No thanks,” Iphey finally replied. “If you can just take me home?”
Iphey will be Kidnapped! …by His DarLyn
Did all that really happen, Chinedu thought as he drove away from Iphey’s place, who would have thought I could get so lucky today, all thanks to Iphey herself though. He loved her with all his heart and right at this moment, considered himself the luckiest man alive. That woman is really the best for me, he grinned to himself as he drove. The strains of Celine Dion’s have you ever been in love filled the car as he switched on the radio, could not have imagined a better suited song for the moment, cupid is really up to something.
He started thinking, where can I take her to for a real proposal? It was great that she had accepted his mother’s ring in a small eatery but he wanted to do more for her. She deserved the best of him and more. Just as this thought was playing in his head he heard his phone ring. He ignored it till he got to his street, then he quickly pulled over to pick the call thinking it might be Iphey. It turned out to be an unknown number, but since he had parked the car he picked it anyway.
“Hello,” he said into the phone as he set up his brakes.
“My guy where you dey?”
It was Habib at the other end. “Oh Habib, this dude you no go kill me o. This is not the number
you talk say I fit reach you on now?”
“Nedu wait, just listen to me. Where are you? Are you sitting down?”
“Habib you are scaring me now, what is it?”
“Iphey is in danger,” Habib said, “I know you’ve said I should leave you out of this one but…”
“Dude forget that, tell me what is happening, what’s wrong? I just dropped her at her place now I’m even not yet home,” he had subconsciously headed home based on the plans he was trying to make for another evening with Iphey.
“You remember the contact person I told you about sometime ago,” Habib asked.
“One James person,” Chinedu interjected.
“Yes him,” Habib confirmed. “So it turns out he was at Iphey’s place some months ago…”
Chinedu swore under his breath, “to do what, does Iphey know him?” All these Chinedu asked all at once. His mind was already joining the dots together but he did not want to see it. This was the woman who owned his heart dammit!
“Damn, damn, damn!”
“Calm down,” that was all Habib could get into the conversation as Chinedu was on an overdrive worked up about danger to Iphey.
“I swear Habib, if anything happens to Iphey I will kill that guy, who is he by the way?”
“Will you just hear me out,” Habib shouted. “My James is the same as her brother-in-law,” Chinedu heard faintly as he put on his ear piece.
“Iphey’s brother-in-law is the same as your informant?” he asked Habib to be sure.
“Yes he is. I only found out the other day when he mentioned his family for the first time. His wife is Ngozi and he is scared for them. Things are beginning to get ugly.”
“Hey dude, back up one second please, so you are telling me that this James fellow you have been working with is Iphey’s brother-in-law so why are you just finding out now?”
At this point, Chinedu finished plugging in his hands-free set and did a U-turn to head back to Iphey’s place. She was not going to be out of his sight from now on. If her life was in danger then he would protect her, with his own life if need be.
“Habib you can do better than this!” Chinedu pulled into traffic and checked his mirrors. “You usually would have found out everything about anybody you were working with seconds after they join your team!”
“But that is it Nedu, he is not on my team!” Habib tried to defend himself.
“What is happening?” Chinedu demanded, “So he is not also working for EFCC or what.”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. He didn’t have as much information as I thought and I preferred to leave him at the peripherals while concentrating on the bigger fish…”
Chinedu began to mutter, “This cannot be happening, I don’t believe this…”
At this outburst, Habib who was already upset with Chinedu began to shout at him. “Will you just shut up? If you listen to me maybe we can still smoothen things out before it really gets bad.”
That seemed to really shut Chinedu up so Habib went on, “Nedu, this is not like you at all. How can you be panicking like this? Some weeks ago, you were the one who told me not to involve you anymore in this case! What was your reason? You were in love and did not want the distraction…”
“OK, OK… I am sorry, let’s cut to the meat of the matter, shall we?” Chinedu did not regret his earlier action. It had been to protect Iphey that he had begged off Habib’s current mission. How was he to know she would be involved through another person?
“Maybe if you had not been out of the loop, you would already know everything,” Habib muttered. “Anyway, James is in a lot of trouble with the Gang. He ran into hard times financially and made the error of gambling with the Gang in hope that he would be able to settle the gambling debt already incurred. In the process, he went into business with T-shark, you remember the guy we found burnt to death some years ago.”
Chinedu nodded as he recalled the events of about three years ago.
“Well it turns out that T-shark also had loads of gambling debt which he claimed his partner would pay off, the partner being James. Apparently T-shark double crossed both James and the Gang and made the Gang believe James had more of their money than he actually did. So the Gang has been after him since then. He abandoned his family after T-shark’s death and went hiding so they don’t get caught in the web…”
“OK OK OK, Habib so how does this concern Iphey now?”
“Chill my guy,” Habib said, “If you remember some months ago, Aisha kept going on about Iphey’s car not being good, well she took a cab and it turned out to be the our James was driving, his way to make a living of some sort. And Iphey recognized him. He went to see her in a bid to allay her fears and keep her from looking for him or telling Ngozi. Wrong move…it seems he was being tailed. Now they’ve got pictures of Iphey at her house, office, and in the car at various places. They have been sending threats to James that if he does not provide their money by the end of this month he won’t see Iphey again.”
“Oh my God!”
“Indeed…” Habib agreed. “The plan is to kidnap Iphey. I think they know Ngozi too but for some reason think Iphey is his current girlfriend and knows where the money since she works in a bank and all. So she is in great danger at the moment…”
Chinedu could not bear what he was hearing, “Look Habib, I’m heading back to Iphey’s place. What type of danger is she in? I know she is about to meet her brother-in-law James this evening…”
“I know and that is why I called. You have to keep her away from him!” Habib shouted. “We are planning a safe house for all of James‟ family. I’m guessing that is what he wants to tell Iphey. I told him we would do the job but amateur that he is, he had to do it himself. And it’s likely that they will be following him and will take the opportunity to take Iphey!”
“No way! I won’t allow that.” Chinedu’s mind whirled. He sorted through his memory for the right people to involve in this, he would do anything to keep Iphey safe from harm.
“Listen Nedu, as of now I need you to take Iphey away to where ever you are sure she will be safe. If anything happens to her Aisha will kill me…”
“I will kill you first,” Chinedu interjected, “why didn’t you tell me all this before?”
“Well, you said to leave you out, remember?” Habib reminded. “But seriously, I didn’t know the two James were the same until this evening. My James had told me his family was in danger and we were making plans. I put some officers to follow him and they came back today with the information that allowed me to put two and two together. You like that girl don’t you?”
“No my guy that one was before. Now I know that I really love Iphey and I have proposed…”
“Yes, I was planning another date for the whole shebang with friends before you called me. I should be in her place in a few minutes. Iphey knows my background but she thinks it’s all in the past. How do I make her understand how well I still know the Gang and how deadly they are?” Chinedu asked.
“No o,” Habib shouted, “you can’t tell her the whole story yet. You know this case is not over. You could let her more deeply into what you do now and that you help us, that will help her understand the danger. Depending on the turn of things, then we’ll let her into the rest. Iphey is a really level headed girl. Just help her understand. I suggest you get her out of her place as fast as possible.”
“Ok Habib call me in 30 minutes. I think that gives me enough time to get Iphey out of her place…”
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