It was Sunday morning, but not attending Sunday service was one habit Phina was sure she may not be able to break. It wasn’t because she didn’t regard herself as a Christian. She just didn’t have the stomach for all the hypocrites she would worship inside the church with.
The last time she attended a church service was 2 years back, during her one year compulsory service to the nation. She had come late and the usher, who happened to be her platoon coordinator, had tried to embarrass her; directing her to go to the children’s Sunday school class and making up a law that latecomers wouldn’t be let into the main church.
Phina knew where her beef was coming from. The platoon coordinator’s boyfriend was a big-time Casanova who ran after anything on skirt. Unfortunately, she was one of the women he ran after and that made her an automatic enemy to the platoon coordinator; even though she never said yes to her boyfriend.
Refusing to be treated shabbily because of a lost boyfriend, Phina forced her way into service that day, and it almost caused a commotion. Seeing that Phina didn’t care if the entire congregation had eyes on them, she let her be. At the end of the church service, an elder called her aside and reprimanded her for bad behaviour. Of course, the platoon coordinator turned usher, had told lies on her.
What was more disgusting was the fact that she later discovered both the elder and the coordinator were having a fling. She saw them at a hotel where she’d gone to spend time with her then boyfriend, and she didn’t missed the opportunity to laugh in their faces and call them hypocrites. She threatened to report them in church, even though she knew she wasn’t going to do such. She just had to make them feel stupid for treating her badly.
She never went back to that church or any other church for that matter. She prayed at home; in her closet. That was enough for her.
So this particular Sunday didn’t seem like it was going to be any different. She woke up early, had her bath and dressed up like she was going for service, before kneeling beside her bed and conducting her own, home service.
Part of her prayer point during the home services was that God removes Jerry from her world. It was bad enough that her thoughts occasionally rested on him. But to suddenly start thinking more about him and even go as far as dreaming about him all through the night meant something was not right, or, was it because she thought about him most part of the evening before?
For crying out loud, she is tough. She is the girl guys get scared to approach because they don’t know what to expect. In every relationship she ever had, the guys fall over themselves for her. But she had never been in love with any of them; hence sex never happened.
Why then was this trying to be different? Jerry had made it clear during their earlier discussions that he found himself falling in love with her cousin. The guy was attractive; with the beard and all. He had what it takes to make women run mad over him. But where a family is concerned, she only goes for what’s right. Dating a guy who confessed to being in love with her cousin obviously didn’t seem like something she wanted to be caught doing.
So she had always bounced him away. And he had left her. But the evening before, she got a text message from him. It read:
Hi beautiful. I know you may be busy. But I really need to see you. We need to talk, and it’s not about Faith or Grace. It’s about your safety. And it’s the one thing most important thing to me right now.
Phina read the message for the third time before responding thus:
Why is my safety suddenly so important. Are you just looking for a reason to come over?
I admit you’re very beautiful and attractive. But the world doesn’t revolve around you, ok. My sister has made allegations that you broke her arm and left her with bruises after your fight on Thursday. My parents plan to involve the police. In as much as I’m trying to stop them, I need your cooperation. Now will you be home or not?
Phina sighed and looked at the mobile phone for a few seconds, before replying with,
I’ll be home.
As much as Phina appreciated that he was looking out for her, she definitely didn’t seem to understand why he was trying to defend her from his family? As for Isabella, she was such a lying witch. How did a few slaps cause a broken arm and severe bruises?
It was possible Jerry understood that his sister was lying, hence he was doing everything to defend her. In as much as she appreciated his maturity, she knew she had to be careful with him around. And so yes, he was part of her prayer point. She needed him off her back and her mind.
2 hours later, she was done praying. Phina rushed into the kitchen to prepare brunch; yam and vegetable stew with plenty of smoked catfish. She was eating the delicacy in her sitting room when her phone rang. She looked at the caller ID. It was Jerry. She took a deep breath with pouty lips, before picking the call.
“I’m at the door,” his voice came from over the speaker.
“At least you should have called me before you started coming,” she accused.
“Well, I’m already here. Will you open up or not?” he seemed unperturbed by her words.
I’ll be there briefly,” she sighed, cut the call and walked over to open the door.
“Hello beautiful,” Jerry smiled, walking in.
“I hope this can be fast, as I really do want to take some alone time today,” she said after him, totally ignoring his compliments.
“Well, that depends on how soon they get here,” he dropped heavily on the long couch. His eyes fell on her plate of yam and vegetables. “Hope I didn’t disturb brunch?”
“Actually, you did,” she strolled back to her seat and continued eating, like there was no one in the sitting room with her. But of course, her conscience wouldn’t let her be. She looked up to see he had diverted his gaze to the posters on her wall.
“Care for some?” She asked.
He chuckled slightly. “You let guilty conscience get the best of you?” He teased.
She returned to her food. “Don’t worry. It is my fault. I forgot I didn’t cook more than what I’m eating,” she put a piece of yam and vegetables in her mouth. Her eyes never left his. Her expression told him he could go to blazes and she wouldn’t care.
The silence that followed was almost deafening for both of them. She tried not to look at him, but whenever she did, his handsome features, well-shaved beards and cute dimples made her heart skip a beat.
Phina finished her food, took her plates to the kitchen and was washing up when she heard a rough and loud knock on the door.
Curious as to who that could be, she left the dishes and was heading to the sitting room when Jerry’s broad figure blocked the doorway.
“I know you hate my guts. But at least, can you trust me for just a few minutes?”
“Someone is at my door. Can you at least let me open the door first.”
“It’s already open. Please just cooperate,” he grabbed her firmly, pulled her to himself as his lips descended on hers.
It came both as a shock and surprise to her. A small voice in her head screamed for her to take back her self-esteem and self-control. But there she was, savouring his lips and wrapping her hands around his neck. She couldn’t deny that she had thought of this moment; she had wished for it.
For the first time in a while, she totally out Faith out of her mind. Faith had her choice. But she chose a man. Here she was, choosing a kiss, even though she already knew she would scream at him afterwards. There was just no way she’d let him know she was truly into him.
Unfortunately, this kiss was only a kind of set up. She remembered that when her door flew open and two men in uniform walked in.
Jerry was the first to unlock his lips from hers. And for a brief moment, she was disappointed and felt ashamed of herself for wanting him like that. But she didn’t miss the heated passion in his eyes. He looked like he would prefer to continue. But there were more pressing matters to attend to, like, why are policemen badging into her home?
“Please don’t say anything. Let me handle this,” he pleaded.
“Jeremiah?” They heard a female voice ask. Jerry turned to look at her. He feigned surprise.
“Mom? What are you doing here? And why…?” He looked at the gun-wielding uniformed officers. Isabella stood beside her mother.
“So you’re dating this lowlife?” that was Isabella.
“The person you call lowlife is my girlfriend. Watch your tongue, Bella. By the way, why are you guys badging into my girlfriend’s house like you’re here to catch a thief? What’s happening?”
“Yes, what’s happening?” Phina finally found her voice. She moved to stand beside Jerry and locked her fingers in his. It was all she could do to act as his girlfriend, after the passion they just shared.
“Don’t play innocent with me, you idiot! Look what you did to me!” Isabella pointed at her bandaged hand and plastered face.
“You and I know that’s not true. And Faith is my witness, as well as all the other students who were present!”
“You liar! Officers, arrest her!”
“Not in my presence,” Jerry frowned, “Mom, are you going to listen to Isabella, or are you going to hear me out? Besides, I went to the school and got a full CCTV recording of what transpired. If you like, I can play it for you on my laptop. I’m not just with it now.”
“Talk to me,” he mother said. She obviously looked confused about the whole thing, “I want to hear you out.”
“Ma, this is my girlfriend. Phina. I’ve been wanting to bring her home to introduce to you. Now I know this may sound stupid, but I do not believe she hurt Isabella like this. Phina has told me exactly what happened. And I believe her.”
“Oh, so your sister is the one lying, right?” Isabella fired at him, “When you men come across women, you lose your senses. And for the record, haven’t I seen Faith living in the same house with you? Oh! So you’re dating Faith, and you’re also fucking her cousin. Hmmm… that looks like a solid payback for me.”
“Is this true, Jerry?” his mother looked heartbroken. She was sure she had trained her son to be a better man.
“No Mom,” Faith stays in my BQ because she needed a space of her own. I don’t date her. I don’t sleep with her. Even Phina is aware. Phina is the only one in my life. And I intend to have her for keeps.
A light smile curved his mother’s lips. “so finally you’ve found a woman to settle down with. I thought you’d never agree to get married,” she patted his cheeks fondly, then turned to Phina. “My dear, just know that you’re always welcome in our home. I’m sorry about all of these. I promise we’ll fix whatever is broken.”
“It’s ok Ma. It’s not like it was your fault. I….”
“This is nonsense!” Isabella yelled, “Mummy, I didn’t come here to be humiliated like this. And you, I will get you,” she pointed at Phina with eyes blazing with hatred, “I will teach you a lesson you’ll never forget. Nobody will stop me!”
“If anything ever happens to her, Isabella, you’ll have me to deal with,” her mother warned, turning around to face her daughter. “I was right when I said you’re taking advantage of the privileges you enjoy to become a pain in a lot of people’s necks. Tell me, what exactly did you go to that school to do?”
“I already told you…”
“She went to visit her boyfriend,” Jerry smiled, “I investigated. The guy is from a humble background. His father is a tailor in town. Perhaps, you would love it if I said you went to visit your lowlife boyfriend; since you prefer to call people below you, just that.”
Her mother looked at her with raised brows. “You went to see a man. Not that you went to conduct an interview.”
“I don’t even believe I’m standing here to hear this!” A frustrated Isabella turned and matched out of the house.”
Jerry smiled. His mother shook her head And turned back to Phina.
“I am so sorry about all these, my dear. I love my children, and I’ve always thought them to do the right thing. I don’t know why Isabella keeps being hateful.”
“I understand ma. Perhaps she has her own reasons for that,” Phina tried to sound reasonable. On a normal day, she had a thousand and one things to say about Isabella.
“My dear, I look forward to seeing you in the house. I’ve tried everything to get my son to settle down, but he wouldn’t listen. If you’re the lady who can make him do that, then I’m very happy to have you ” the elderly woman took her hands. A huge smile plastered her lips, “I hope Jeremiah brings you over for lunch or dinner sometime soon. Then we can talk more.”
Phina grinned. “I’d love to,” when she truly wanted to say, hey, we’re not really dating.
The two women hugged and afterwards, Jerry’s mom ushered out the policemen and left with them.
Jerry smiled and sank back on the couch. Phina moved to lock her doors before turning to face him. “You knew they were coming, and so you unlocked my door before staging a romance scene?”
“Unlocking it was the best way to prevent them from barging in and breaking something. Besides,” he grinned, “I wanted them to meet the romance. It sent the message faster.”
Her eyes narrowed to a slit. “Start finding ways to sell your mom you lied. You and I, are not dating.”
“That would make me a liar. And Isabella would have a case.”
“Well, you’re a liar, and your sister is a gigantic lunatic,” she hissed and started on her way back to the kitchen
He chuckled. “Why don’t you just admit. You enjoyed the kiss?” he winked at her.
“I did not enjoy any kiss. Especially not from a smelly lying mouth like yours,” she turned to face him, “And, when are you going to tell me the truth? You’re sleeping with my cousin’s body?”
“Your… cousin’s body? I don’t understand”
“You’re sleeping with your sister in my cousin’s body. Aren’t you ashamed?”
Jerry’s brows shot up. “I didn’t believe what Isabella said about you. But you believe what she said about me? Seriously?”
“There’s no smoke without fire. Yes, I beat Isabella, but not to the extent she’s trying to paint issues. Grace stays in your house. You know she’s Grace, only in my cousin’s bo….”
“Yes. True. She stays in the same house with me. Not even the BQ. And I remember every day, that girl is my sister,” he got to his feet, “I don’t know why you hate me so much. Neither do I understand why despite your hurtful words and disposition towards me, I still find you attractive. So here’s the deal, I will never come back here to disturb you; not even to talk about anything. I’m out of your hairs for good,” he started towards the door and stopped briefly, “And please forget about lunch or dinner at my family home. I’ll be sure to tell mom we broke up,” he unlocked the door and walked out.
Phina took a deep breath. She wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or not. Not like Jerry was a bad guy. He just wanted something more than friendship and she wasn’t sure she wanted to give it; not when he had mentioned that he liked Faith.
Well, even Faith was married to another person and living in his house at the same time. Jerry looked like a cool reasonable guy. There was just no way he was being intimate with his sister.
“Stupid! What was I thinking?” she reprimanded herself while reaching for the Samsung Galaxy phone in her pocket. She went straight to recently dialled numbers and his number appeared first. She dialled. Jerry picked at the 3rd ring and before he could say a word, she spoke.
“I’m sorry. I know I’ve not exactly been nice to you. I just have my own trust issues. But I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel bad. And I know you’re not sleeping with your sister. I was just looking for reasons to chase you out.”
“And you succeeded,” his reply came from over the speaker. She could tell he was smiling. “Apologies accepted, Phina. But hope you don’t mind if I decided to mind my business from now on. And thanks for the kiss.” He cut the call.
Phina blinked at the phone. She couldn’t believe what she just heard. She called to make things right and he just acted all cold and uncaring. Ok. She would do just that also; mind her own business.
There’s a lot more waiting to blow you away in this series. So get the complete ebook on Okadabooks. You’ll be overjoyed you did. *winks*
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