Read chapter 28 here.
“Mum, would you care to explain to me why…?”
She stopped herself when she realized her mother wasn’t alone.
“Baaba Baiden…exact copy of your mother. How are you doing?”
“I’m doing well, Auntie May.”
“Good to know. Your mother was just telling me about your attack on the road. Hope you’re better now.”
“Yes, please. You’re welcome. Will be in my room.” She gave her mother a glance and added, “Good afternoon, mum.”
“Good afternoon, my dear. You’re welcome.”
Alexa walked away.
She slammed the door behind her and immediately regretted it. She didn’t want to come across as a spoilt temperamental brat to Aunt May but what the hell, right? She started pacing the room. She didn’t want the fury in her chest to quench. She couldn’t believe her parents were capable of tricking her like that. She kicked her bed and groaned.
She threw herself on the bed and covered her face with a pillow. She screamed into it several times. The exhaustion put her to sleep.
She woke up twenty minutes later when her door opened and closed. She was quite disoriented as she sat up, wondering why her mother was in her room.
“So I guess you have some questions to ask me?”
“What?” Alexa asked, rubbing her temples.
“Paul called. He said he came clean about the car gift.”
“Aha!” Alexa exclaimed as she got off the bed, remembering what she was all worked up about.
“First of all, we are going to have this conversation with your father present as he came up with it.”
“Please mum…this super plan has your name all over it. Only you can think of such deceit like this.”
“Maybe…but your father okayed it and proposed it to Paul. I must say I’m quite disappointed in Paul for revealing the truth this early. I thought he’d hold it out a little longer.”
“Well, his conscience got the better part of him because he really wants us to work and he feels the car factor was going to be a problem since it forms a major part of why I’m seeing him.”
“I see…then you must really like him. I admire him then.”
“But why would you and dad do this?”
“Wait for your father to get home and then we’ll talk about this, okay?” Alice said and left the room.
Alexa paced her room a couple of times and left her room.
“Where are you going?” Alice called out when she saw Alexa heading towards the front door.
“Out,” Alexa replied as she picked up her car key and walked out.
Louie’s door opened just as Alexa raised her hand to knock.
“Hey…for a moment, I thought you weren’t going to come.”
“I wasn’t…but since I’ve to wait for my dad to come home, I figured I must let off steam elsewhere,” she replied as she entered. He closed the door. She turned and they hugged.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“What are you having?” she asked, pointing to the glass on the table.
“Ugh…the one time I wished you could offer me the devil’s drink,” she groaned, plopping herself on the sofa.
“Okay…what’s going on?” he asked as he sat beside her.
“My parents did the most unbelievable thing, Louie. I don’t know if I’m to be disgusted by it or impressed.”
“What did they do? Plan your wedding with Paul?”
“They lied to me about the car.”
“Which one, the one Paul got you?”
“It was never a gift from Paul. My parents got it and had Paul tell me it was from him so I would consider him as a suitor.”
“For real? Paul’s a fraud?” Louie asked excitedly.
“My parents are the frauds, Louie. Why would they deceive me like that?”
“They must have been very desperate to resort to that. It’s not like you’re nearing your thirties for them to be this anxious.”
“I know, right? Unfortunately, the vim I was going to attack them has cooled down a bit since my dad isn’t home yet and mum refuses to address it until he arrives so here I am.”
“Great. I have the perfect meal to forget your woes,” he said, getting up.
He returned holding a plate of chicken and put it down. Alexa picked one piece and bit into it.
“Yep. Going for the rice.”
When he got back, Alexa was on the second piece of chicken. She sniffed.
“By the time we’re done, I’d have produced a cup full of tears,” she said, wiping her face.
“Take it easy then.”
He sat and they began eating.
“So does that mean you and Paul are done?”
“I don’t know…I guess…”
“So if there was no car, you would never have considered him?”
“Maybe, maybe not. He’s a great guy, no doubt but if he’s able to lie to my face for this long, who says he’s not going to do it again? It sets a bad antecedent.”
“Indeed. A relationship can’t survive outside trust.”
“Were we in a relationship? Gosh, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“You know…even in the cycle of your typical male player, there’s a time he gets tired of the vanity we call fun and just desires to settle down with that one person whose presence gives you peace. For some guys, they settle down with whoever is available for the taking at that point in time. For others, they do some soul searching,” Louie said.
“What are you getting at?”
“Just a little education for the girl who wants to love like a boy. It’s up to you if you want to give up this game and settle down with whoever is available at the moment which I am by the way or if you want to deliberately search for your soul mate which you will find sitting next to you as well.”
Alexa chuckled. “Note taken.”
Her phone beeped. Message from her mum.
“Dad’s home. Got to go. Thanks for dinner, love,” she said and kissed Louie’s cheek. He held her face with one hand, making her lips pout. He kissed her. She chuckled.
“You see, if you have had that drink I was looking for when I entered, you wouldn’t have to steal a kiss. It would have been a time of bad decisions.”
“I see…I’ll keep that in mind for next time. Let me know when you get home, yeah?”
“Honey, first of all, let me clear the air about one thing. It was your mum’s idea to begin with…” Mr. Baiden started. Alice gasped at her husband.
“Ah Kweku…but why?”
Alexa rolled her eyes and shook her head at the blame game about to unfold.
“Ah but am I lying? Anyway, I thought it was tricky but you know your mother can be very convincing so I said okay.”
“But why did you? Is it because you think I’m materialistic?”
“No, not that. Well…you refused to speak to any of the previous guys we brought your way so we thought to change the tactics somewhat and it worked!”
“Proving what exactly? It’s not like I’m going to marry him or anything.”
“Let’s not rush to conclusions, okay? If I may be honest, I’m glad Paul told you the truth. I always kept wondering when and how you’d find out the truth and how damaging the consequences would be. This means he’s a man of integrity and wants to work things out with you on a clean slate,” Alexa’s father said.
“A coward, if you ask me,” Alice muttered. Her husband gave her a stern look.
“Do you realize how terrible this is? How do you expect me to trust anything you tell me? This is tantamount to selling me off to the highest bidder at an auction.”
“Come on Baaba, don’t be dramatic. I agree, we could have handled this a bit less extremely but you must admit you’ve enjoyed your times out with Paul. Aren’t you glad you got to know him?”
“That’s not the point, mum. You betrayed my trust.”
“And you haven’t countless times? Do you hear me whimpering around about how disappointing you’ve been sometime past?” Alice retorted. “We are sorry for our actions but let’s not drag this. We are a family and we’re bound to hurt one another’s feelings but we let go and move on.”
Alexa opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. This woman was an expert at turning the tables. She got up to leave.
“Paul mentioned some girl approaching you two claiming that you were having an affair with her brother. Is that true?”
“An affair? Meaning what, you’re sleeping with him?” her father asked in an alarmed tone. Alexa turned to face them.
“Is my girl sleeping around? Oh why? Your mother was a virgin when I married her.”
“And were you one when you married her as well?”
“That’s not the…”
Alexa rolled her eyes and began walking away.
“Baaba, I’m still talking…”
“Let her go,” Alice said. “Give her time to tend to her betrayed trust,” she added with sarcasm.
Alexa fell on her bed and cried into her pillow.
Some days later, Alexa was watching a movie trailer on YouTube when she received a Facebook notification about friend birthdays. She intended to swipe it away but instead tapped on it.
“Oh it’s Theo’s birthday?”
She opened his profile page and he had posted a photo with a comment: Grateful for being plus one year older today. She smiled as she stared at Theo’s cute smiling face. She gasped when she realized she had liked the photo without thinking about it. She tried un-liking it but instead double-tapped it, liking it again. She groaned. Had Facebook already notified him that she had liked the photo or does it wait for a few seconds before doing so? She sighed. It was too late now. She typed ‘Happy birthday, T’ in the comment section and exited the app. Her phone beeped almost immediately. Theo had liked her comment. Another beep with his reply: Thanks love.
Somehow that melted his heart. What could she do to make his birthday special?
The phone on Theo’s desk rang. He picked it up. He murmured ‘okay’ and put it down. He got up and went to the front desk. He returned holding a box of cupcakes.
“What’s that, Theo?” IB asked as he sat.
Theo ignored him as he opened the box and picked up a note. IB quickly snatched it from him.
“Hey, give it back!”
“Happy birthday to the best customer and passenger in Accra…Enjoy your day, T. XO from Lex,” IB read.
“Aww…” Asante said, mimicking affection. IB put the note on the box. Theo took it and looked at it.
“Look at his face. He can’t help but smile!” IB teased.
“Are you going to share the love with us or are you going to enjoy it all alone?” Asante asked.
Theo opened the box and took one cupcake.
“You can help yourself,” he said and bit into it.
There was only one left by the time everyone in the office had taken theirs. He put the last one on his desk and took the box to the canteen. He called Alexa.
“Hi birthday boy.”
“Hi Lexa, received the cupcakes and the note. Really sweet. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. So any plans after work today?”
“Not really. I’ll go home where I’m sure my mum and sister will have a cake ready and I get my dad to toast to my happiness with champagne.”
“Nice. No time out with the boys…breaking bottles?”
“Nah…not really a boys’ boy.”
“I see…alright. May I be your humble driver one more time and send you home to spend the rest of your birthday hours with your family?”
“You know I can never decline such an offer. Yes, you may, Alexa.”
“Great. See you soon then.”
“Thank you, Lexa.”
“Enjoy your day, birthday boy.”
Theo sat down on his seat with a smile on his face.
“A date with Uber girl, perhaps?” IB asked.
He shook his head and continued working.
Theo ran down the stairs hours later with elation. He approached Alexa’s car and gently knocked on the door. She looked up from her phone and unlocked the doors. He opened it and sat inside.
They hugged with Theo placing a kiss on her cheek.
“How has your day been?” he asked as he strapped on his seat belt.
“Quite hectic. Was pretty much on my boss’ radar all day,” Alexa said, getting onto the road.
“Such days always seem longer than normal.”
“Right? At least I had this evening with you to look forward to…to deflect the stress.”
“Awww…was someone thinking of me today?” he teased.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long while.”
She pulled over in front of a restaurant.
“Meeting up with someone here?” Theo asked.
“Nah…I figured since you are not doing anything extra on this special day, the least I could do is take you to dinner.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yep. Come on,” Alexa said and got out of the car. Theo got out and she locked the doors.
She smiled when she saw that Theo was still in shock. She offered him her hand. He took it and she led him inside.
“I must say, I’m lost for words, Alexa. No one has done this for me before.”
“I’m glad to be the first.”
“Yeah…you’re a lot of firsts for me.”
Alexa stretched her lips into a thin smile as she remembered their intimate encounter.
“Why are you doing all this for me? First the cupcakes and now, dinner?”
“Because you are a good person, Theo. And since such genuine people are getting very scarce, I do my best to show how grateful I am to know them. You have some sort of innocence that humbles me and I wish you never lose it,” Alexa said.
“And I’m sorry for the stunt my sister pulled. I feared that would be the end of us.”
“Yeah, that was pretty messed up. But that in a way, revealed something significant. So in the end, it’s all good.”
“Really? So you’re not mad at my sister any longer?”
“Oh I’m not going to be smiling at your evil sister anytime soon, that’s for sure.”
When they were done with dinner, Alexa raised her glass.
“Shall we toast?”
“With juice?” Theo asked as he raised his glass.
“Yeah…I thought of ordering wine but decided against it since I’d driving myself home. So to another year of new beginnings, solid relationships and dreams come true. Cheers.”
“Cheers.” Their glasses clinked.
“Where’s the waiter? Won’t he bring the bill?” Theo asked, looking around.
“Don’t worry; I’ve already settled it.”
“What? When? Ah…when you supposedly went to the washroom.”
Alexa smiled triumphantly.
“I’d have loved to at least split the bill with you.”
“I know but today is your birthday and I want to give you a treat. So leave it be.”
“Alright. I’ll keep that in mind for your birthday…which is when exactly?”
“Haha…all the best. Let’s go.”
When they stepped out of the restaurant, Theo asked, “One more favor for the birthday boy?”
“May I drive? So at least you can rest for a while for your drive back home.”
“Sure. Very thoughtful of you.”
She gave him the car key and he unlocked the doors. He opened the door for her to sit down. He closed it and he got in.
“Thank you for making my birthday memorable,” Theo said when he pulled over in front of his parents’ house.
He leaned forward and kissed her. He murmured ‘I love you’ and kissed her forehead. He held her face.
“Please be mine.” He kissed her again when she said nothing.
“Thank you for today.” She nodded. He opened his door and got out. He came around and opened hers. He helped her out of the door.
“Want to come in and help cut my birthday cake?”
“Nah…I’ve to rush home.”
“Okay.” He took his backpack from the back seat. They hugged for a while till Alexa pulled away.
“Happy birthday, Theo. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight and thank you.”
She got into the car and drove off.
“You’ll be mine…whatever it takes,” Theo promised himself.
Read chapter 30 here.