Tonye looked at the party crowd. They seemed to be having fun. She wasn’t. This was her first social outing in a while and Tara, her sister had practically dragged her along. She stirred her Chapman and cleared her throat. Tara looked up from her phone.
“Why did you bring me here when you’d rather pay attention to your phone?”she asked.
Tara smiled. “We are not joined at the hip you know. Go out there and mingle with the crowd.” She winked mischievously and added. “Remember, you are single.”
Tonye rolled her eyes and spun to face the bar man, giving him a plastic smile. She resorted to reading the names off the alcoholic drinks displayed on the shelf. Tara tapped her knee.
“I’d be back in a minute.”
“Suit yourself.” She responded, pulling out her phone from her purse. She wasn’t interested in the party and began to scroll through her Instagram feed. Tara returned shortly.
“There is someone I’d like you to meet.” She pulled the reluctant Tonye off the bar stool and half dragged her through the throng of bodies.
“You need to stop hooking me up with people. You always manage to get me the lame ones.” Tara chuckled and pulled her through the hotel lobby, towards an elevator. As they stepped in, Tara turned to her.
“Let me warn you though, this would come as a shock and maybe a surprise. But trust me, I mean well.”
The elevator chimed and they stepped out. Tonye looked confused when Tara pulled out a key card from her purse. They stopped in front of a room and Tonye stood in the hallway, reluctant to go in.
“Come on. Would I put you in danger?”
She walked in and noticed a man standing by the large windows, his back turned to them. She looked at Tara and mouthed.
“What’s going on?”
The man turned and Tonye froze.
* * * *
They had met about a year ago when he rammed into her car. She had collected his card so he’d pay her for the repairs. They got talking at the mechanic’s shop and realised they had quite a number of things in common. One date became two and that was how they began their love affair. Three months into their relationship, she had a run in with another woman who claimed she was pregnant with his child. She was devastated when he couldn’t boldly deny it. She walked away from the relationship and blocked all forms of communication. It’s been five months since then.
* * * *
“Gideon…” she said in a whisper. Anger flashed across her face as she turned to her sister. “How could you?”
Tara pleaded with her eyes. “Tonye, please just hear him out.”
“Tonye…” he began, his voice hoarse. “I’m sorry for all the pain i caused you. You didn’t deserve any of that.”
Tonye crossed her arms across her chest defiantly and ground her teeth in annoyance. He approached her and she scowled, stopping him in his tracks.
“Becky and I had broken up a week before i ran into you. And yes, we had one reckless moment but I promise, it wasn’t intentional.” He stopped, hoping to get a response. He looked at Tara for help. She shrugged.
“Why are you here?” Tonye’s voice croaked as she tried not to show any emotion.
“Becky was never pregnant. She found out about you and made up the pregnancy story as a sort of revenge.”
“Do you think I’m stupid? I saw her months later with a bump.” She looked at Tara. “I’m done with this foolishness.” She turned to leave.
“It was fake. She had been wearing a fake baby bump all the while.”
Tonye’s hand froze on the door knob. She slowly turned and this time, Gideon walked up to her, cupping her face in his hands.
“There was no baby.”
Tonye brushed his hands away. “But you slept with her didn’t you?”
“That was before you and I got serious but I’m sorry. Please, don’t walk away from me.”
Tara coughed. “I think i should leave you two now.” They stepped aside to make room for her. She winked at Gideon before shutting the door behind her
“Tonye, I love you. I’ve been miserable since you left. Please, come back.” He wiped a lone tear off her cheek.
“I’ve been so mad at you.”
“I know. But let’s put that behind us now.” They stood facing each other in silence.
“So, will you be my girlfriend for the second time?”
She chuckled. “You’d have to ram into my car one more time.”
They both laughed and he enveloped her in a tight embrace.