Illusion pt. 3 (novelette)

As  I drive to work, I try to remember anything suspicious about Kefe.

I can’t help it.

I know I should love and trust him and I do.  Truth is, I have never felt more connected to anyone else except Jidenna. I just want to know what’s going on and if he hasn’t told me yet, he probably never will.

*sigh*

The relationship between Kefe and I didn’t start out too well; in fact, it was a contractual one. He tricked me into meeting him for lunch using business as a cover.

I remember thinking that if I weren’t so angry, he could be handsome.

“ I apologize for the subterfuge, but your candidness and emotional distance intrigues me.” He quickly said when he realized I had caught on to his deceit.

I would never have expected that, and for a couple of seconds, I was struck dumb and only said the first thing that came to my head.

“Nothing is intriguing about me Mr. Irikefe; I have trust and daddy issues like almost everyone else.”

“ That’s not true Miss Obi, I heard about your friend Jidenna and would like to discuss how much of an impact his death has on your psyche. My interest is purely academical.”  He said

I was inflamed and embarrassed.

How could he even say this with a straight face?

You would think that would be the end of the conversation, right???

You would be wrong.

Instead of apologizing, he proceeded to tempt me with access to his important contacts on the basis of my cooperation with him. It was an offer I couldn’t reject.

Besides, all I had to do was meet with him no more than twice a week and answer questions. It seemed reasonable. So we signed a contract.

I never thought my love story would be so cliché; I fell in love after a contract. I had expected our meeting to be invasive and they were. But not in the way I was prepared for, not in the way that would have me bolting for the door.

It was like we were connected; we had so much in common. I felt like we had known each other for years.

It took me ten months to realize I was in love with him. Kefe, on the other hand, said he had known since the first day we met. Now that I think about it, I probably loved him way before that. Maybe it was the day he held my hand and drove me to Jidenna’s grave. I didn’t get out of the car.

I couldn’t.

So I took it out on Kefe.

“What is the meaning of this Irikefe, you have no right to interfere” I screamed and shook him but my anger didn’t seem to phase him. He used one of his large beautiful hands to cover both of mine and put the other on my chin so I could look at him.

“Baby,” he said as he held my chin and for some reason, seeing him look at me so adoringly made all the anger float away.

“Uju, I know that you always want to be in control of your emotions and I know you are losing it because its been exactly two years since Jidenna died and you still have never been to his grave.”

I wanted to argue, but he placed a finger on my lips.

“Shhh!!!, listen first. You loved Jidenna, and then you lost him, so what!! Why focus so much on your loss and choose to forget all the happiness that love brought you. What about him, what if he’s lonely???”

I was still thinking about what he had just said when he kissed me and sent me off to Jidenna’s grave. That was the first time I slept over at his place.

But the first time I realized that I loved him was when he proposed to me.

Saying no would have been better, I ran away.

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I got in my car and took off. I went to Jidenna’s grave to think about what Kefe meant to me. That’s when I knew I loved him and that we could be happy, but marriage was something I wasn’t ready to consider.

So I needed to see my mother to understand why.

Let me tell you about my parent’s relationship.

After the first time he left, my father came back in tears begging for forgiveness, and my mother took him back. I couldn’t understand why but I was okay with it because she was.

She was happy, and I didn’t have to clean up after her.

When he left her again, I expected it, it was for a woman he met on a ‘business trip.’

She was sure he would be back because she was his ‘safe haven.’ so instead of focusing on the daughter she had, she waited for him every day.

She waited for him to come back home. He always did until he didn’t.

As soon as I could, I left home and never looked back because I couldn’t watch anymore, so I suppress my guilt by sending her money every month. I took the next flight to Akwa Ibom to see her. She only moved there because it was where they met and even that fact irritated me.

She looked so shocked to see me and older than I remembered, I  felt guilty just thinking about how lonely she must have been, but I went straight to the point.

“Mother, why did you always take daddy back, I could never understand it, you should have known that he never loved you,” I said.

“Darling, I love your father, and it doesn’t matter if he loves me, not because I don’t want to be loved. I really do, but I am grateful for what we shared.

I decided to live my life in such a way that when I love, I love with all of me and when it’s over I remember it.

I’m just sorry baby that what we did, what we became, affected you so much.”

What kind of reply is that, didn’t she care about how it affected me. She gave me no peace, so I returned to Lagos confused. It was Boma that woke me up.

“Kefe is not your father, he is a beautiful man that loves you, a man who you said more than once knows you and understands you completely. Don’t lose him,” she said.

So I went to his place and proposed to him, and we lived happily ever after.

So why do I find myself returning back to base suspicions when I see a video on his computer, it doesn’t prove anything.

I drive into my office building and contemplate more.

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