With luck, I found a little room with a shared kitchen and toilet at Ikoyi. It appeared to be quarters for staff of a government parastatal and the staff was renting out his room. I hated to share toilets but I had to endure it. The other occupants were men so I had to be extra careful. They were good men though but I didn’t leave anything to chance. I locked my door and reinforced it at night. This was my first paid rental and I was paying. I felt empowered somewhat.
In two months, we had a book deal. Stephanie had changed the title of the book from ‘Sarah’s Escapades’ to ‘Five Things You Must Do Before Marriage’. I was sceptical about the title but people were curious. She also did a lot of work, tweaked the book and added a new angle. Her name came first on the title to increase market value. We also had a movie deal.
Stephanie made a lot of money from this book but so did I. It definitely made sense to leverage on her popularity as a successful Actress. The movie was also a success. I was worried that I would have to spend a lot to look great in front of the TV during the launching and premier but Stephanie helped me out there. She showed me the ropes and how to make money from my creative work.
I had to move houses but I needed to also have money to generate more. I told Stephanie that I wanted to buy a property so that I could have some sense of security as well as increase my assets however renting on the island was going to be too much for me. Stephanie let me move to her Lekki place and I was still serving her while I devoted time to my writing. I also started investing my time in learning the art of public speaking because I realized that it was a necessity in the world I delved into.
In six months, I was able to buy a property at Idado town, which was after Lekki phase 1. I still couldn’t believe my luck. The owner of the house was deceased and the children were based abroad. They just wanted to sell off desperately because it was tying them down. The price was a giveaway considering the cost of estate in that area. I was able to make a down payment. Almost all my resources went towards it. Almost everything I had made from the movie deal and sales went into it. Stephanie loaned me some money to get by. I still had to cough up the rest of the money before I could get the house papers from the children who were very accommodating. The rest of the money I made, I used to buy Treasury bills. My banker was very helpful in advising.
My mother started calling me again. She would ask how I was doing and how I was getting by. I didn’t give her too much information about the jobs I had done or what I was doing at the moment. I didn’t want any distractions. She told me to come home. I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to though. I was already on a path that I really wanted to be.
I took the time to visit home one day. It was a strange experience. My family treated me as if we had no squabbles. I soon realized that they had all missed me and had no clue where I was. Fadeke did not give them any information or indication that she housed me. My Dad spoke to me as he normally did but I could still see the sadness in his eyes. I wondered if I would ever make him happy again.
Stephanie asked me to update my story as I moved on because she had a sixth sense that it would be the best ever and she didn’t want me to miss any details.
“Sade, there is no romance in this your story Again. We have to stir things up.” Stephanie said.
I laughed. “I need money and not romance.”
I had no inkling that she was up to something. By the end of the day, I saw Charles after a long time.
We hugged and talked about everything.
“So, have you heard from Tito since that day?” Charles asked.
“Not at all. That day was the last time I saw him.” I looked past him, sadness filled my heart for a moment.
“Actually, I see him often. He’s a very busy man. All he does is work, work, and work. ”
I smiled. I wasn’t sure that I want to hear about Tito.
“Anyway, it was good to see you again.” Charles said. I saw him often after that.
One day, I came home to meet Charles and Tito in the living room.
“Tito. Charles.” I whispered. I was shocked. Tito stood up and he appeared slightly uncomfortable.
“Hello Sade. Wow. This is a shock. What are you doing here? Charles didn’t say anything to me about seeing you. ”
“Charley, wehdone sah.” I performed a fake salute.
Charles excused himself. Tito and I stared at each other. He smiled and shook his head.
“In all my life, I never thought I would ever see you again talk less of being in the same room again.”
I smiled. My emotions were in disarray. I tried to recall the content of all the emotional Intelligence books I had read and tried to apply it but I was just shocked.
“Well, since you are here now. Let me just say what has been on my mind for a while now.” Tito said to me moving close to where I sat.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I can’t have this conversation with you.” I tried to get up but he held me down.
“Just give me a few minutes, that’s all.” he took a deep breath. “I am sorry, Sade. I am sorry about how things went down. I’m sorry that I had a woman in my room on the night of our wedding. It was unacceptable and I have held myself accountable to better standards since then. The truth is that I did not sleep with her. I was dead drunk and I passed out. She was the waitress that assisted me to my room and I thought that she would leave but she didn’t. I am also sorry about the times in the past when I truly cheated on you. I slept around a couple of times but I had stopped before the wedding. But obviously I didn’t deserve your trust so I can see why you walked away on our wedding day.”
I tried to respond but I was too overcome with anger, sadness, regret and many other emotions I couldn’t even understand. Finally I spoke to him.
“Apology accepted. Perhaps If I had confronted you well ahead of time, I would not have embarrassed our families. That’s a mistake I’m still paying for.”
“I was told they threw you out of the house. I was worried but I couldn’t call you. I didn’t feel I had the right to you after that incident. At first, I was angry but when I sat myself down, I saw how I contributed to destroying that day.” Tito looked apologetic.
“Yes, I had to leave the house but we are now back on speaking terms. All things work unto good… ”
“… for those who trust in the lord.” Tito finished my statement and we both smiled.
I found out that he was a youth pastor in his church. It was hilarious thinking of the old Tito as a pastor. Pastor Tito Masha was not ringing a bell at all.
“I’m a changed man but you can laugh since you know my history.” he said.
“So, are you married now?” I asked him.
“Oh no. Not married. It’s not in my plans for now. Or let me just say I have not found a reason for it in a while.” he responded looking at my fingers.
“Nah, not married either. Right now, I’m trying to sort out my living accommodation. Stephanie has been a blessing to me. She’s putting me up here for a while.”
Months later, we were still in touch but I didn’t tell my family this.
My family and I had a different kind of relationship than we had previously. My brother was relieved that I was allowed back into the family fold, and I was able to also help him handle some little financial responsibilities that he allowed. My sisters knew that I was making some progress in life because the movie and book was very successful. As a result, they were a bit cool towards me. Sope mentioned that they were probably being that way because of my new fame and they did not want it to appear that things were getting back to normal because of my success. I was not even popular; a couple of television and social media interviews as well as some print media interviews do not really make me a celebrity even if I get fame for a few months.
My mother was kind to me; always asking if I had enough food stuff but we still had not really got back to the place we were but we spoke all the time and she hugged closely every time I was leaving. My Dad was not speaking to me still. In fact, he made himself scarce any time I informed them that I would be visiting.
Tito and I became friends again. It was so easy. The edge of secrecy around him was gone. He was as open as a book. I started to see him like someone I had never met. It was interesting to be around him again and I began to heal gradually. All the hurt I felt disappeared before long and I was longing for him to ask for my hand again but he didn’t. I got frustrated. One day, I challenged him.
“So, now that we’ve resolved our past issues and we are unto a good path, what are your intentions? Is this a restitution mission? If it is, you have completed your task.”
Tito laughed. “Kai, this woman, you will not kill me. Yes, my initial mission was for restitution sake but there was a reason I fell in love with you before. I never stopped really. In fact, I feel more in love with you than I’ve ever been. It’s as if I loved a princess but now I’m looking at a queen that I love and respect and would do anything for.” he said with so much emotion.
I was blown away by his frankness.
“Wow. All this and you kept it inside till I prompted. ”
He looked into my eyes. “Hey babe, I was just being careful. I needed you to completely trust me this time. I don’t want us to be carried away by emotions; we’ve always had that going for us. Besides, if I had kept it for a little longer I would have exploded.”
“Hmm, so how’s it going to be?” I asked impatiently.
“Do you trust me? Do you love me? I’m here declaring myself and you are just interrogating me Sha.”
I laughed. “I have never stopped loving you. As for trust, you can have my trust if you want it.”
“That is reassuring and not reassuring at the same time.”
I sighed. “Okay, I have chosen to trust you from today. You have changed. You certainly are not the same person you were and I’m proud of the person you’ve become.”
“Excellent. We are on the same page.”
Tito went down on one knee to my astonishment.
“Marry me?” He brought out a box with a gold ring.
“Sharpaly sharpaly! So you’ve had all this planned before.” I asked in amazement.
“Not exactly. I’ve been carrying that ring around for a while. I bought it on inspiration when I followed my sister to pick her own ring. It just called to me and I bought it and saved it. And when you came back into my life, I knew that God was preparing me for you and he didn’t want me to slack this time because he knew how bad I wanted to be married to you.”
I laughed and gave him my hand. “Most certainly. I have no choice but to marry you.” Tito laughed. It was just a miracle that everything was falling into place.
Stephanie was ecstatic. She wanted me to finish writing the script for my story. She felt that this end was enough. I was happy to write it and she polished the manuscript and added her own angles to it till the story was just perfect.
I told my mother that Tito and I were getting married. She was speechless.
“Hmm. You people will not kill me. Sebi you didn’t suffer enough last time, you want to enter into it again. I don’t know how his family will accept you oh. In fact, this is frightening. Are you sure this is not a vendetta mission? To pay you back? ”
I dispelled her concerns and told her to inform my Dad. My father sent for me immediately.
“Over my dead body. I have not gotten over the shame of the last one.”
“We have worked things out.” I told him
“See, let me tell you. I’ve been so depressed. Why? Because I brought all this on your head. It’s my reward for how I’ve treated your mother. I’m sure it’s not news that I cheated on her severally during our marriage. In fact, I bullied her into thinking that it was normal. You know our age difference, I was able to ride her. Now it has come to bite me. This is God punishing me.” he paused for a minute.
“Imagine the shock when you said you couldn’t go through with the wedding. All my sins came to me at once. I couldn’t ask you not to walk away. I feel bad about everything.”
I was shocked. “Daddy, this was not your fault and God does not operate like that. Once you have been forgiven, you have been forgiven. I was the one that did not speak up when I should have. I know how much I embarrassed and humiliated you and I’m sorry.”
“We have all made our share of mistakes but I don’t want you to make another one.”
“Daddy, this time I’m going in with my eyes wide open.”
Tito and I went to his parent’s house. That was another kettle of fish. His mother was very hostile and his Father practically asked me to leave. This was after Tito had met them personally to declare his intentions. We had to sit and think of how we were going to handle this new situation. Tito suggested that we should just go the the court and get married but I reminded him about the importance of family. If we were going to start over and be happy, we needed to make things right with our families. He agreed.
Stay tuned for the Concluding Part of Changing lanes!