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Added: Sep 06, 2018
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Prisoner Of Love - Season 1 - Episode 3
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MEANWHILE, THEY HAD ONE more paper to write which would be in the next four days. That gave many of the students the opportunity to go home—to run away from the hardship of the campus, at least, for some days. Tomiwa and Rachael too went to their respective homes to cool off for the short break. They really needed the rest. The period had taken a toll on them. They both planned to return to the campus on Thursday, a day before their final paper.

In no time, Thursday came and both of them returned to school. They were both looking refreshed. Spending three days at home outside the harsh campus environment was seriously beneficial. They decided to meet at a fast food restaurant outside Queen Amina hostel by 6.00 pm. Good enough, Queen Amina Hall was just a few blocks away from his hostel and was Rachael’s hostel.

By 5.30 pm he was already dressed and ready for what was going to be their first date. Somehow, it was as if six o’ clock wasn’t going to come. He fixed his eyes on his small table clock as if his life depended on it. He needed to be sure that its hands were actually moving because it seemed that the time was ticking painfully too slow that evening. ‘Is this not the same clock that runs like Ussain Bolt when one is preparing for examination and needs the whole time in the world to prepare? So what’s wrong with it this evening? Has Ussain Bolt suddenly broken his legs?’ He wondered.

After what seemed like forever, it was 5.55 pm so he strolled down to the venue. By the time he got there, she was already waiting for him with a bottle of Pepsi Cola—her favourite drink—in front of her. When she caught sight of him, she let out her powerful irresistible smile and he smiled back. He made his way to the empty chair directly opposite hers and sat down placing an order for both of them.

“You are looking sweet.” He complimented her and added, “You must have enjoyed your brief stay at home.”

“You can say that again. Oh, home sweet home. You needed to see how mummy pampered me with food.” She responded with a chuckle.

“I don’t need a Prophet Elijah to tell that to me. I’ve got eyes and I can confidently tell you that these lenses of my mine are still sharp. I can see you are looking fresh and pretty as ever.”

“Really?” She rolled her eyes, took a sip of her Pepsi and continued with a smile, “You aren’t looking bad either. You’ve freshened up too.”

“You know I didn’t realise how much I had missed my bed until I got home. Even my pillow rejoiced at seeing me. And lest I forget, Billy, my dog, sent her greetings.”

“Tommmmy! There you go again. You and your funny talks.” She said laughing. “Anyway, how’s Billy doing? Poor dog, she must have really missed you.”

“Yes ooo. She was practically crying when I was leaving this morning. I felt so much pity for her that I almost stayed back.”

As they were enjoying the company of each other, unknown to them, a giant green grasshopper had perched on her left arm just above the elbow. Suddenly a young lady sitting a few tables away from them saw it and screamed pointing to the grasshopper, too petrified to utter a single a word. She was jittering as if she was seeing a ghost. On seeing it, Rachael too screamed then froze holding her breath tightly like someone who had a pistol placed on her temple. What is it with ladies and little insects like cockroaches and grasshoppers that they start melting like ice-cream at seeing one?

Tomiwa leaned forward and said in a low voice, almost a whisper, “Close your eyes.” She obeyed immediately like a child in the face of a cane-totting teacher. Then with one swift movement, he swiped the insect off her arm. She opened her eyes panting heavily holding her chest with both hands as if her heart wanted to jump out.

“Oh, Jeeeez! I never knew you were such a coward.” Tomiwa teased. “I now know how to deal with you whenever you make me angry. All I need are two giant grasshoppers and perhaps one or two cockroaches to keep them company; that’s all.”

“You are not serious, Tommy.” She said with both of them laughing heartily.

The highlight of the evening came when Tomiwa told her that he had something to show her. He then brought out an old folded white-turned-brown paper from his pocket and handed it over to her.

“What is this?” She asked.

“Why not open it and see for yourself?”

When she unfolded it, her eyes shone in amazement. It was Tomiwa’s copy of the song she wrote for the sent-forth party in Yabatech about four years earlier. He had kept it safely and had brought it when he went home. She couldn’t believe her eyes.

“Wow! Where on earth did you dig this out?” She enquired.

“Well, let’s just say I’m good at keeping valuable stuff. I guess this proves me right when I said we did a song together back then.”

She was touched. She clung to the paper like someone who just found a priceless artefact that had been buried for ages; it was a memorable souvenir. They both sang out the song together and this brought out the sweet memories of that period—the nostalgia was great.

The rest of the evening was marked with talks, whispers, smiles, and laughter. They really enjoyed spending the evening together; it wasn’t one either of them would forget in a hurry. It was already quarter to eight and they both got up to go back to their hostels to prepare for their paper the next day.

Eventually, the examinations ended. The end of the session party came and went in grand style. Tomiwa and Rachael were soon back at work. They started communicating more and more engaging in live chats using the chat engine called Communicator installed on every system in the bank. They chatted during the day and made phone calls during the nights. They simply couldn’t have enough of each other.

Tomiwa who was also an artist and loved writing was very good at playing with words. He was an expert at constructing texts that could make even princesses go gaga. He could actually paint pictures with words and she was enjoying every bit of it.

With time, the chats started turning from plain to romantic. Phone calls started getting longer and gradually crept to odd hours and eventually all night calls. They were increasingly becoming fond of each other. It was one of those mid-night calls that lead to a discussion that almost caused the first upset in the yet-to-be-born relationship. That night he tactfully asked her if she had anybody in her life and he was pleased to know that there was none. He then asked about her genotype. Immediately the question was asked, she grew cold; her countenance dropped and sorrow filled her heart.

She knew that Tomiwa must have been an ‘AS’ at best for him to be concerned about genotypes. A person with ‘AA’ genotype wouldn’t bother his head about that. She knew that might be the end of the beginning—the end of a relationship that had rarely begun! Tomiwa was her dream guy and she couldn’t bear the pain of seeing him slip off.

“I don’t feel like talking about it now.” was her response.

Tomiwa got the message instantly. A cold shiver ran down his spine menacingly that he almost froze. The same fear and sorrow that overtook Rachael were consuming him also. They ended that night’s call without much enthusiasm unlike nights before. Neither of them could sleep that night. They were each rolling from one side of the bed to the other. Time made the torture more miserable when it chose to drag itself sluggishly along making the next morning seemed forever in coming.

The next morning, they met on Communicator and began chatting as usual. They discussed the issue of the genotype extensively. Their fears were confirmed as it turned out that both of them had ‘AS’ genotype, putting them at risk of bearing children with sickle cell anaemia if they married each other. At long last, they succeeded in rationalizing the matter to the point that they concluded that love was all that mattered, and love was strong enough to surmount any obstacles no matter how tough—love could bear all things.

Things soon returned to normal and the daily routine of chatting and mid-night calls continued with a renewed momentum. They were gradually becoming lovebirds yet none said anything to the other. Then one chilling night in March, there was a heavy downpour doling out massive doses of lightning and bolts of thunder. The cool breeze that followed was pleasant and refreshing. The weather was one of those that could awaken the romantic prowess in anyone. Tomiwa and Rachael were having their mid-night call as usual and were undisturbed by the raging downpour of the night. Tomiwa felt that there couldn’t be a better time to ask her out. It was time to take the bold step and the weather was just right for it. The way he did it was simple but spectacular. He remembered a scene in Big Daddy, a movie he saw years back and decided to adopt the approach. He started by telling a story:

“Story, story.”

“Story.” She replied without having any hints of what he was up to.

“Once upon a time.” He continued.

“Time, time.”

“So many, many years ago, there once lived a male rabbit in the animal kingdom. Meanwhile, the colony of the rabbits was the most developed and civilized in all of the animal kingdom at that time. They had a sophisticated and organised system. They had schools, markets, and firms …”

“Ah! Tommy! When did rabbits start going to school and building markets?” Rachael interrupted laughing. She was enjoying the story all the same.

“Oh, why did you interrupt my story?”

“Sorry. Oya continue, I’m listening.”

Tomiwa continued, “The male rabbit happened to be attractive in form and actually wore a pair of glasses. He was working with a money-lending firm and had a crimson coloured bicycle. In those days, bicycles were the most popular form of transportation in the rabbit colony. One day he met a very beautiful female rabbit who worked in another branch of the same money-lending firm and attended the same professional class with him. They became friends, very good friends at that …” He paused and asked Rachael, “I told you that the rabbits were very sophisticated, right?” Rachael said, “Yes” and Tomiwa continue with his story…

“The rabbits were able to develop a device from dried leaves and bamboo trees that they could use to communicate with each other. So, both the male and female rabbits were always talking at work during the day and at home at nights…”

“Hmmm … Is that so?” Commented Rachael who at this point had known that the rabbit story was referring to the two of them but had still not understood where the story was heading. So, she continued to listen attentively as Tomiwa went on…

“Then one night there was a heavy rainfall accompanied by lightning and thunderbolts while they were both talking and the male rabbit suddenly paused and asked in a low voice, ‘Female rabbit, would you make me the happiest rabbit in the universe? Would you spend the rest of your life with me? What say you, female rabbit?’” Tomiwa said this part of the story with much flare and feelings that gave life to the entire story.

Rachael was shocked. Tomiwa had just asked her out with a rabbit story! She was shocked not because she wasn’t prepared for this but because the unconventional way he did it caught her completely off guard. She was very happy that the much awaited moment had come at last. But she hid her excitement and decided to play along with the rabbit story. She said …

“And the female rabbit asked the male rabbit, ‘What are your intentions, male rabbit? You need someone to call your girlfriend?’”

Tomiwa replied, “No, female rabbit. I ask not for a casual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship but a relationship with commitment and the goal of marriage. I want you as my wife.”

With that, Rachael decided to bring it back to the real world outside the rabbit story.

“Tomiwa, you know what? You can be a mystery at times” And not wanting to sound easy-to-get she continued, “Well, I’m sure you weren’t expecting an instant answer. You know I will have to think and pray over it first.”

“Okay. I was expecting you to say that. So, how long will that take?”

“Hmmm … just give me a week. Today is Friday, right? Okay, let’s make it next week Saturday but this time it’s not going to be over the phone or in an ancient rabbit story. It has to be face-to-face, you and me, Tomiwa and Rachael.”

“That’s fine by me. So, where and what time will it be?” Tomiwa asked.

“Hmmm … Unilag, Lagoon Front by 11.00 am. Will that be okay by you?”

“Perfect!” He said and added jokingly, “I can survive one more week. After all, I didn’t die all this while.”

They both laughed and wished each other good night. There was nothing else to be said. There couldn’t have been a better way of ending that spectacular night!

A week thereafter, Saturday came knocking. That was the same Saturday that he had stayed longer than usual in front of the mirror. It was the Saturday he drove all the way to Unilag and found a parking space under the huge almond tree at the Lagoon Front. It was the same day that the sight of her beauty sent him to the memory lane and he reminisced about the day they first met …

* * *

He was still wallowing in this thought when she got to the car. It was her greeting that startled him back to the present!

“Oh … y … you … are here. Good morning.” He said having established himself in the present. “Come inside, please.” He added pressing the ‘unlock’ button to unlock the doors.

“Sorry that I’m a bit late … Have you been waiting for long?” She apologized.

“Hmmm … Not quite long. You’re welcome.” And with a wink, he continued, “Wow! I must say that you are looking quite gorgeous! Are you sure an angel is not missing in heaven or something?”

“Mm-Hmmm? Thank you anyway.” She replied with a bright smile. She entered and sat down on the passenger seat next to him. She brought out a hankie and dabbed her face to absorb the tiny beads of sweat that had formed on her face. After she settled down, Tomiwa brought out the packs of ice-cream, drinks, Jollof rice and chicken he bought from a Chicken Republic outlet on his way. There was no way he could have left the ice-cream and Pepsi out of the menu because he knew she really loved them.

They decided to stay in the car. The sun was already high up in the sky and outside the car was really hot. Even the garden by the lagoon would have been hot too. Hence, the car was just alright for them. Since the air conditioner was on, it was cool in the car and they could listen to soft music as they discussed. They treated themselves to the ice-cream, tasty meal, and chilled drinks as they discussed general things. After enjoying the food and drinks, the time came for the big talk!

Immediately she began to talk, the atmosphere in the car changed; everywhere became tensed. The tension and uneasiness that surrounded her got Tomiwa worried. His heart began pounding like a locomotive train. It seemed that things wouldn’t go his way after all. Her tension-filled eyes were just too scary for him. Someone with a good news wouldn’t wear such a frightening look—that kind of look only echoed bad news!

“Tommy…” She began slowly without any enthusiasm, “I have thought deeply about your request and prayerfully too. After much careful consideration…” Then she paused and looked at him with heavy eyes, “My answer to your request is …”

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