How are you? Hope you are having a great weekend?
After the Storm was written by Osarugue Adeyemi. The rest of the story is up on her blog : http://osaradeyemi.blogspot.com
“Delivery for you Yemi” Tola said coming into the room the next day.
“What delivery?” Yemi asked sitting up in bed and tearing her eyes away from the London fashion show airing on the TV. The designs were awesome. Sewing and designing was something she enjoyed and she found shows like these so inspiring. She hit the record button on the remote and looked at the parcel in Tola’s hands with raised brows “But I didn’t order anything”
“Well it’s definitely got your name on it” Tola said handing the large parcel over to her “Open it, let’s see what’s inside”
Yemi opened the parcel wondering what it contained and as she undid the tape and wrapping, her eyes widened in disbelief.
“Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed as she saw the Mulberry bag she had admired at the Shop with Akeem.
“Wow! No guessing where that came from” Tola said taking the bag from her and admiring it.
“There is a card attached” She read out the words ‘For my little girl, from your old man’. What on earth are you guys talking about?”
“Remember I said he calls me a little girl!” She cupped her cheeks with both hands. She was still so dazed by the gift “This guy is so sweet! Do you think I should accept it?”
“No don’t” Tola said sarcastically “Or you can accept it and give it to me”
“But I hope he wouldn’t think I took him to the Shop to make him buy it for me!”
“What are you on about?” Tola asked in an exasperated tone “Did you beg or ask him for it?”
“Definitely not!” Yemi replied indignantly “You know I’d never do that”
“So gracefully text him a nice ‘thank you’ and kindly tell him you have a cousin that also loves Mulberry bags”
“Go tell that to your Andy or is it Mike? Not even sure anymore, I’ve lost count”
“Whatever!” Tola retorted “Going to ditch him right away anyway. He’s never thought of buying me a Mulberry bag. Andy just keeps taking me from MacDonalds to KFC, then occasionally throws in some Chinese in the evenings, what am I going to get from that?”
“Calories!” Yemi laughed “But C’mon,it’s not about the value of the gift or the outings but the thought behind it”
“Same thing, girl” Tola replied unrepentantly “The thought behind it should make a guy give one valuable gifts”
“You’re impossible!” Yemi laughed bringing out her phone “I need to text my thanks to my Prince Charming as you call him”
“Don’t forget the bit about your so very nice cousin that also loves Mulberry Bags”
“No deal!” Yemi replied as she text Akeem. She would have preferred to call him but knew he was going to be busy all day. He was coming to take her out in the evening so she would see him later in the day.
This time around when Akeem came to pick Yemi up, her Uncle and Aunt were in the house and Yemi introduced him to them. She could see that they were very impressed with his manners and she felt very proud of him as she watched him interact easily and confidently with them.
She continued to see Akeem and found herself liking him a little bit more everyday. They agreed to meet at his apartment two days before she was to return back to Nigeria. He wanted to come over to pick her up from Kent but she declined, moreover Tola was going out in the same direction, so she had company on the way.
Tola dropped off at London Bridge station and Yemi went onto Canary Wharf. She smiled as she spotted Akeem as she went through the barriers at the station.
“You look very pretty” He hugged her then drew back a little to look at her “Very summery or is it springy?”
She giggled “Thanks” The weather forecast was good, so she felt safe enough to wear a knee length blue denim skirt and orange tank top. Tola had tonged her hair for her that morning and it hung in ringlets around her face
They got to his car and she did up her seatbelt “Is your apartment far from here?”
“About fifteen minutes” Akeem replied reversing out of the Car park.
“Time seems to have gone so fast” She mused as he drove along “I can’t believe I ‘m going back home in two days”
“It has, hasn’t it?”
He seemed to be in a quiet mood, only replying when she spoke. They got to the block of apartments where he was staying and took the lifts up to the third floor where his apartment was.
“Mmmm…nice place, very cool decor” She said as she moved slowly round the room “Love it! You must have had some help with it though” she said turning towards him.
He smiled “I wish I could lay claim to doing it up, but yes you are right, it was done by an interior decorator”
“Really nice. Whoa, Look at that view!” She marveled as she stood by the French windows. “I could spend hours here!”
“That was one of the attractions of this place for me” He turned her round to face him “But today you ‘re not going to spend hours gazing out of the window, I need your full attention on me”
Yemi smiled mischievously “But you have my full attention always, even when I ‘m gazing out the window”
Akeem looked down at her smiling face for a moment, then tweaked her nose lightly “Going to miss you”
“Me too” Yemi confessed. He still had five days left in England to complete his work “But at least we’ll talk every day” She shook her head slightly “It still seems amazing though that I’ve known you for just nine days!”
“I’ve known you forever” Akeem replied softly, cupping her cheek with his palm “I’ve just been waiting for you to show up”
“And we had to meet outside our home country” Yemi replied, feeling the now familiar fluttering within her at the look in his eyes. She had decided to ‘go with the flow’ as Tola advised. She had no choice anyway. The guy had completely taken over her heart “But then, we may never have run into each other back home”
“You never can tell, I may just have bumped into you on the street”
“What street? We live miles apart”
Akeem moved a little closer. His gaze getting more intense as he held her eyes “Maybe our hearts would have pulled us together somehow” He said a little huskily.
She forced her eyes away from his. The air was getting too charged up. She hoped coming to his apartment was not a bad idea
“Have you eaten?” She asked lightly, moving away a little. They needed to defuse the tension.
“No, I was waiting for you before I order some food in”
“You don’t have to do that. I brought some food with me, that’s what’s in the other bag” she said pointing to the second bag on the table.
“You shouldn’t have bothered” Akeem replied as he watched her bring out the food “I ‘m sure you had to wake up early to prepare that”
“No bother at all. I love cooking” Yemi replied “That’s the kitchen, right?” She asked pointing towards the open doorway.
“Yes, let me show you where the plates are”
Yemi chattered as they ate. Akeem listened to her, smiling occasionally at what she said but he was still rather quiet and looked somewhat distracted.
“Where’s your mind, Akeem?” She asked after a while, a little puzzled by his attitude.
A guilty expression came over his face “I am sorry, just running some things through my mind”
“What things?” Yemi asked, puzzled by the look on his face.
“Would you like to live here?” He asked a little abruptly.
The look on his face told he wasn’t joking “In England?”
“Yes, in England”
“I haven’t thought about that” Yemi replied slowly “Like I’ve told you, we lived here for a while and had a good time but I like Nigeria”
“So, I take that as a ‘no’?”
“It will take a lot for me to do that” Yemi replied.”Would you like to live here?”
“I can’t because of my work, but I wouldn’t mind my family living here”
“So your family would only see you occasionally? Not cool”
“There are other advantages though, the educational system, for instance, would be better for kids”
“I had a good education in Nigeria and I didn’t even have to go schools half as expensive as the ones you went to” She replied “But hey, what’s all this relocation business? You sound like you don’t like Nigeria!”
“Not at all, like I said, I was just thinking of some possibilities”
They did the washing up together after they finished their meal. He was still rather quiet and she caught him looking at her when he thought she could not see him. He got out a bottle of wine and they went back to the sitting room together.
“Very nice” Yemi said taking a sip of the wine as she sat on the sofa beside him. “You are rounding up your meetings now, aren’t you?” She asked “Are you satisfied with the outcomes?”
“They’ve actually exceeded my expectations” Akeem replied “I was able to tie up some stubborn deals that have been lingering for some time” He cradled her a bit closer “It must be you. Your presence in my life has helped me function better”
She smiled, pleased at what he had said “That’s so sweet”
“I mean it” Akeem replied, trailing a finger along her cheek “And so you have to remain with me so I can continue to do well in business”
“I’ll think about it” She replied teasingly.
“I’ll simply carry you off if you keep me waiting too long”
Yemi smiled mischievously “I won’t mind being kidnapped by you. You’d find me a very willing captive”
He cupped her cheek with his palm “Don’t go back on Monday” He said looking into her eyes “Stay back until I’m done”
“But my ticket is for Monday”
“I can easily change that, and also upgrade it so we can fly back together”
She looked at him a little indignantly “Upgrade? how do you know what kind of ticket I have?”
He smiled “My apologies. I meant I ‘ll upgrade mine to your’s”
She giggled “That’s better”
“So is that a yes?”
“But what will I tell my parents? Besides, my cousin is getting married on Saturday”
He just kept looking at her. She lowered her gaze. He was making her feel guilty. She was very tempted to do what he was asking but her parents would want to know the reason for her staying back. They were also aware she had spent all her money and would wonder how she was going to change her ticket. There would be too many questions and she didn’t want them to know about Akeem just yet.
“We’ll talk every day and I’ll see you as soon as you come in on Sunday” She said, looking up at him a little pleadingly.
“Is that okay?”
“Do I have a choice?” Akeem replied “But things will change very soon. The professor’s consent will not be needed when I want to spend time with my girl”
“Looking forward to that as well” Yemi smiled; happy again that he was more relaxed “Now where were we in this movie?”
He laughed “What movie? Have you watched any part of it at all?”
“That’s always the problem when we are together. We just get so wrapped up in each other”
“That’s how it should be”
She turned round to look at him “Will it always be so?”
“Always” He leaned forward towards her, tipped her chin up gently and kissed her slowly “Always” He repeated, kissing her again.
His kiss was everything she had imagined. Sweet, tender and awakening all sorts of foreign emotions within her.
She drew back a long moment afterwards and tried to catch her breadth. “Hey! my dad said I should not kiss any man except my prince” She said a little shakily, trying to still her racing heart.
“And am I your prince?” He asked huskily, his face inching closer to her’s again.
“Mmmm…….” She pretended to think hard “I may need another kiss to convince me” She jumped up as he lunged at her “Oh no! I am convinced; you are definitely the one, my northern prince!”
“I don’t mind convincing you” Akeem replied softly. His gaze moved to her lips again and her heart skipped at the look in his eyes.
“I ‘m fully convinced” Yemi replied, keeping her distance. “Absolutely no doubt in my mind at all”
“Pity….just when I was looking forward to helping you make up your mind” He patted the seat beside him “Come back and sit down”
She smiled at him but made no move to return back beside him
“Don’t worry, little girl, you’re quite safe” He looked a little amused at the hesitant look on her face “Honestly”
She gingerly sat down beside him again and he laughed softly as he placed his arm around her and drew her close to his side
“How old are you again? Twenty one or fifteen?”
She giggled “Almost fifteen”
“Yeah…seems like that”
They continued chatting and at different times tried to watch the movie but somehow there was always something to talk about and they could not really concentrate on the movie for any length of time. Yemi did not know that it was possible to feel so much at peace with someone or to feel so complete just by being with him. She wasn’t going to worry about who he was or how much more experienced he appeared to be, So long as she had the assurance that he loved her, she was okay.
Her elder brother, Ayo picked her up from the airport when she arrived Nigeria two days later.
He hugged her before taking the baggage cart from her.”Hope you had a good time?”
“The best ever” Yemi smiled happily as they made their way out of the departure hall.
The heat enveloped her immediately they stepped out of the airport. Yeah, she was back home, the land of perpetual summer!
Ayo saw her face and grinned “Don’t worry, you ‘ll soon get used to it again”
“Hope so, right now, I feel like I’m roasting”
She was glad when they got into the car and sighed with relief when Ayo switched on the air conditioner. Little beads of perspiration were already forming on her forehead, and to think she had only been away for a month!
“Derin said she will pop in tomorrow to see you” He said referring to his wife.
“That will be cool, I ‘ve missed everyone” Yemi said, stifling a yawn with her palm. She looked out at the familiar road networks. Hot weather or not, it was good to be back on her own tuft. She yawned again and Ayo glanced at her
“You must be really tired”
“I am” She leaned her head back against the seat. “I had to get up really early this morming to catch my flight”
“You’ll feel better after a nap. I have a surgery later this afternoon so I ‘m just going to drop you off and head back to the hospital”
She smiled at him gratefully; she knew how busy he was. Her parents were attending a conference where her dad was one of the speakers and Ayo had told them he would pick her up from the airport.
He helped take her things in when they arrived at the house and then left almost immediately. She made a call to Tola’s parents. Tola was attending a job interview and would not be home until later in the day.
“Yemi, there is food in the Kitchen when you are ready” Bose, their house keeper bustled into her room a few minutes later.
“Thanks, Aunt Bose, I’ll just freshen up, then eat later” She was not a blood relative but in Nigeria, every older adult was automatically called Auntie or Uncle.
“Okay. I made your favorite. Fried rice and plantain”
Yemi smiled fondly at her “Thanks, Auntie, you are the best!”
She showered and decided to have a nap. She was already missing Akeem so much. It was amazing how much he had come to mean to her in such a short time. She didn’t want to tell her family about him yet. She hated to admit it but she wanted to see if his feelings for her would still be the same when he got back on familiar territory.
Tola had googled him up while she was still in England and they had read about his business profile, but there had also been other bits about his social life, bits that had worried her. Akeem had been linked with so many beautiful women in the past and even quite recently too. Women far more sophisticated than her, not to talk of their cool careers and wealthy backgrounds. She had again had doubts about their relationship but somehow, those doubts always faded anytime she was with him.
She sighed and rolled over on the bed. She sincerely hoped everything would be okay when he came back. She had fallen too hard for him and didn’t think she could bear it if they broke up.
The next time she opened her eyes was three hours later. She lay for a few minutes just savouring the feel of being back on her own bed again, then turned and picked up her phone from her bedside. She grimaced in dismay when she saw several missed calls from Akeem and a text saying he would call back later.
As she padded into the bathroom to wash her face, she heard her parents voices coming from the direction of the sitting room. She wiped her face and went to join them.
“Welcome back, darling” Her mother beamed as she enveloped her in a hug “Good to have you back, this house has just been too quiet!”
“Good to be back, Mum!” Yemi hugged her back, then went over to hug her Dad “Good to see you again, dad, thanks so much for super hols!”
“You are welcome, dear. I can see you enjoyed yourself”
“Very much so, Dad”
“Go get some food” Her mother urged her “Bose said you have not eaten yet”
“Better still, bring your food out here and come sit with us” Her dad added.
Just then, her phone rang. She could not stop the smile as she saw Akeem’s number. She went into the Kitchen to take the call. He told her he would call her back when he realised that she had only just seen her parents.
She took her food back to the sitting room, suddenly feeling more alive now that she had heard his voice again.
“Your holiday has done wonders for you! It’s a good thing the weather was nice all through” Her mum said, looking at her smiling face fondly “You are practically glowing!”
Yemi smiled at the compliment. “If only you knew, Mum” She thought to herself, “This glow is due to a certain attractive man and not to the English spring weather”.
The next few days were busy ones for her. She had a few things she wanted to look up before Uni resumed the next week. She smiled whenever she thought of Akeem’s teasing comments about lecturer’s kids. He had been right, her academics were very important to her.
She attended her cousin’s wedding the followimg Saturday. She had made the bridesmaids dresses and felt very pleased to see how good they looked in them. Of course she knew her cousin had been trying to cut costs by asking her to make the clothes but that hadn’t dampened her enthusiasm and she had finished the dresses before her trip to England. Designing and sewing was something she enjoyed. It was more of a natural talent but she had done a few courses over the years when her mum noticed her interest in it. One of her Aunts, had a small fashion outlet close by and she went there occasionally during her hols just to help out and hone her skills.
She was often teased by her friends about why she hadn’t taken up fashion designing as a course instead of accounting but to her, that was just a hobby she enjoyed and accounting was serious stuff. Something everyone would expect from the daughter of professor Delano.
She was so excited when Akeem came in on Sunday. They were not going to be able to meet that day as she had to attend her cousin’s wedding thanksgiving service along with the rest of her family but nevertheless it felt good to know he was now just a few miles away.
She resumed school the next day. It felt nice to be back and she and her classmates swapped stories about their holidays and what they had done. Lectures were not serious yet and she had only a couple scheduled for that morning.
“Aren’t you just looking good, girl!” A familiar voice interrupted her thoughts as she hurried out after her last class. Akeem had already called her that he had sent his driver to pick her up.
“Hello Ada” she smiled on seeing her course mate behind her “You are looking good yourself, how was your hols?”
“So so” Ada replied, admiring her top “How was your holidays? I learnt you went to England”
“Lovely” Yemi replied, glancing down at her wristwatch. She had just a few minutes to walk down to the library where Akeem had told her his driver would be.
“So what goodies did you bring back?”
“Hugs and kisses!”
“Thanks but you can keep those” Ada retorted “I ‘ll to pop into your house later in the week, so have my goodies ready”
Yemi heard her phone vibrate and recognised the two last digits of the number Akeem had given her as his driver’s number.
The guy must have arrived
“Ada, I ‘ve got to dash off now”
“No worries!I’ll let you know what day I am coming to your place” She called out after her as she hurried off.
Yemi called the driver’s number and it was just as she had thought, he was already around.
“Hey Yemi!” She heard her friend’s voice Sesan’s voice and turned around. She had been concentrating hard on getting to Akeem’s driver on time and had not seen him approaching.
“Hi Shez!” She said calling him by his nickname “How ‘ve you been?”
“Good” He replied as he caught up with her “Looking great” He said as he gave her outfit and admiring glance.
She flashed him a smile “Thanks, Shez” She hoped Akeem would think so too. She had taken extra care with her appearance before leading home.
“Finished lectures for today?”
“Yep, I had only a couple of lectures, what about you?”
“I’m done as well. I ‘m off to the Library now”
“Heading in that direction as well, meeting up with someone around there”
“Good, we can walk together then” Sesan replied falling into step with her “We ‘ve not really had time for a proper talk since you returned from the UK. How was your trip?”
“Super!” Yemi smiled “Best holiday I ‘ve had in a while”
“Really? You really did say you had something to tell me when we spoke on the phone. Was that what made your holidays nice?”
“Yes, but we need plenty of time to talk about that bit”
On their way, she told him about what she had done in England, leaving out the meeting Akeem part. She would tell him about that later, she could do with a masculine perspective about Akeem anyway. Sesan and her had always been close, he was her closest friend apart from Tola, who didn’t really count, since they were cousins.
They rounded the corner before the Library and she saw Akeem’s car. It was easy to spot by the description he had given her.
The driver was standing by it and Yemi waved to him, he waved back at her.
Sesan arched his brows as he looked at Akeem’s black BMW jeep and the driver standing beside it.”Is that the person you are meeting up with?”
“Yes” Yemi replied, suddenly feeling a little self conscious “Or rather, he’s the driver of the person I ‘m going to see”
Sesan’s brows went up by another notch “Okay…”
Yemi glanced quickly at Sesan’s face. His voice had disconcerted her but his face was expressionless “Let me leave you then” He said a little quietly “I ‘ll talk to you later”
“Okay, Shez” Yemi called out to him as she hurried towards the car “We ‘ve got lots of stuff to talk about”
He stood at the same spot and gave her a small wave but his face had non of the usual cheeriness she was accustomed to. She wondered what was up with him, anyway she would catch up with him later.
“Hello, you must be Mike” She said to the driver as she got to where he was “I ‘m Yemi, thanks for coming to pick me”
“You’re welcome” He replied opening the door to the back seat for her “Are we ready to go now?”
“Yes, thank you” Yemi said settling into the car.
She brought out the magazine she had bought earlier and looked through it during the journey to Lekki where Akeem lived. There were smatterings of traffic on the road but not quite as bad as she had expected and they arrived at the house about forty minutes later.
The house was picturesque as was typical of houses in Lekki and was surrounded with well manicured lawns but she paid no more than a cursory glance at it as her eyes were immediately caught by the sight of Akeem coming out of the front door.
He hugged her tightly “So good to see you, baby. I ‘ve really missed you”
“Same here” She breathed in his now familiar cologne. It felt so good to be with him again.
He drew back a little and looked at her face critically “I think you ‘ve become even more beautiful since I last saw you”
Yemi giggled. “With all this hot sun on my skin?”
“You look beautiful in any weather” Akeem replied putting his arm around her and leading her inside the house.
“And I thought your apartment in london was nice…..” Yemi said as Akeem took her through the reception into the sitting room. She looked around admiringly at the beautiful interior of the house “It’s not even half as lovely as this”
“Glad you like it. That’s a plus as you’re going to be spending a lot of time here”
“Are you sure about that?” Yemi teased.
“Remember my threat in London?” He growled “My ancestors didn’t waste time those days. They carried off their women and sought parental consent afterwards”
“Somebody help me!” Yemi pretended to be scared “But like I told you then, I’d be such a willing captive that my parents will be thoroughly ashamed of me”
“They will get used to it” Akeem smiled back at her.”Drinks or do I show you round first?”
She linked her arm through his “Let’s go round first”
“So how’s the Prof and his wife?”
“I’ll be take you home this evening, so hopefully I can see them then”
Yemi hesitated. She knew her family and although she had no fears that they would like and accept Akeem. She did not want to just spring him up in their faces like that without any prior notice.
“Let’s do it this way” She said as they climbed the wide spiral staircase, “I will speak to my mum about you and then you can meet them at another time”
He appeared to think about it “All right but I want to register my presence in your family” He pulled her close for a moment
“I get a little scared sometimes at the thought of another guy having any ideas about you”
“It’s hard to imagine you scared” Yemi smiled “But for the record, there is absolutely no competition”
“Those Uni boys had better not come anywhere near my girl!”
Yemi giggled at the possessive look in his eyes “They could not get me interested in the four years I ‘ve been there, so it’s definitely not happening now I that I ‘ve met you”
“Good to hear that but I ‘m still not letting my gaurd down”
“What if a lady gets ideas about you?” She asked “Come to think of it, how am I sure that there are not loads of them hanging around you all the time?”
“To borrow your words” Akeem said looking down at her “No competition”
She looked into his eyes. She loved him and that included trusting everything he told her “Nothing for either of us to worry about then. Now show me the rest of this beautiful house!”
Much later in the evening, he took her back home. She let herslef in with her key. There was no one in the sitting room and she assumed her parents were in their room. She walked to her room quickly with the bags of shopping that Akeem had gotten her from England. All designer labels from shops so exclusive they didn’t have branches at malls like Bluewater.
She was removing her shoes when she heard her Mother’s voice outside.
“Yemi, are you back?” Her mother opened her bedroom room and peered in “I thought I heard someone come in”
“Hello Mum” Yemi smiled as her mother came into the room “Did not want to disturb you, how was your day?”
“Busy but fine” She eyed the bags on the bed “Still not finished unpacking yet?”
“Mmmmm….. just some more stuff from my friend”
Her mother arched her brows curiously “Anyone I know?”
“Not really, Mum” Yemi replied a little self consciously”I met him during my holidays in England”
“Oh, the guy that has been calling you nonstop, eh?”
“Mum! So you ‘ve been watching me!”
“How can I help it?” Her mother asked, smiling as she sat down on Yemi’s bed “My daughter suddenly starts smiling into space without any reason, appears distracted when she is with her family, not to talk of constantly being on the phone twenty four seven!”
“Mum……you are exaggerating!”
“Am I?” Her mum countered smiling at her “So who is this mystery man?”
Yemi smiled as she told her about Akeem. Her mother listened and watched her face as she spoke, only interrupting to ask her a few questions.
“So, mum?” Yemi asked when she was done “What do you think?”
“He sounds like a nice guy and you ‘re obviously in love with him” Her mother replied rather carefully.
“But….you ‘re not sounding too excited for me”
“I ‘m happy my daughter has finally told me about a guy that she likes but…….” She stopped and shrugged.
“But what, mum?”
“He’s a bit older than you, sounds a lot more experienced too” She exhaled slowly “I’ve heard of his family or at least, I know the businesses they own…”
“Mum, Akeem is so simple, you’ll not believe it!”
A slight frown furrowed her mother’s brows “I ‘m just a little concerned about how you would fit into his background”
“Mum, the age bit is simple” Yemi began earnestly, getting ready to tackle the issues her mum had raised. “I’ve always wanted someone older…..”
“Yemi” Her mum cut in gently “You have always been a very responsible girl. We will accept any friend of yours but all I’m asking is for you to be very careful”
That was a relief. She loved her parents and wanted them to accept Akeem “Thanks, mum” She replied giving her a hug.
“So invite him over and let’s meet him”
“Will do, mum”