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    Valentine
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    HER BABY’S SECRET
    SERIE NINETEEN
    Story by: Authoress Ademide
    Arike’s POV

    I walked out of my room and made my way to the garage where I could find Daniel. He was alone but the on phone with his back against me. I stopped to not attract his attention,hoping to find out the reason why he wasn’t going home to his family.

    “We already talked about this..” he said. “I am not coming home this Christmas…I have a lot to do at the foaster home.”
    I couldn’t hear what the other person was saying because the phone wasn’t on speaker. But Daniel was lying to whoever he was conversing with.
    “Mom can you just forget about the black woman? It is not about her.”
    Black woman? Who? I haven’t seen him with any black woman and I am not sure Daniel has been seeing any woman. We are a bit closer enough for him to tell me about it if he has one in his life.
    “This is none of your business. Whether it is a black woman or not..I am not going to do what you are asking. I have to get going now.” He concluded.

    I should get going too. But it was too late. My eyes met his when I looked up. Geez when did he make the turn?!
    His mouth dropped slightly. I waved with a half smile on my face. I hope he won’t think I was eavesdropping on his call.
    “I will talk to you later.” And with that he ended the call.
    “I..I..wasn’t -”
    “Eavesdropping..I know.” he completed my intended word.
    I shook my head. “I just came here to ask -”
    He cut me off again. “Yeah..I wanted to ask if you still want to go to the mall to buy gift for Bright so I could drive you.”
    “Oh…” I itched my ear. “That would be in the evening when she comes back from school. And you don’t need to drive us…I can manage.”
    “I’m coming with you. I promised to get Bright the new Barbie collection.” He smiled.
    “Daniel that won’t be necessary.”
    “Why?” He asked.
    “It’s-”
    “I am offering to buy it as a Christmas gift.”
    “Oh okay..you can drive us if she still wants to go.” I agreed.
    Daniel lips curled up with a smile. “I just need to drive this to the auto shop for repair.” He wiped the white luxurious bus used in transporting children to school.
    “I heard you want to be Santa this Christmas.” I toyed with my fingers.
    Daniel laugher. “Right.”
    “But you’ve never missed thanksgiving with your family.” I reminded him. But no response came from him.
    “Daniel?” I called him.
    He looked at me. “I’m listening…”
    “Why?”
    He shrugged. “I just want to celebrate Christmas with the children.”
    He got into the bus and tried to change the topic. “This bus really needs cleaning. I’ll definitely drive it to car wash after fixing it at the auto shop.”
    I stood at the door side of the bus with my arms crossed in front of my chest.
    “Daniel,do you want to tell me about it?” I asked.
    “What? About what?” He stoped wiping the wheel and looked at me.
    “You can talk to me.” I shrugged. “This whole thing about not going home.” I settled down next to the driver seat.
    Daniel sighed. “I don’t want to bother you,Arike.” He said.
    “Okay…but I am asking you to tell me.”
    “Okay…I’m getting married.” He blurted out.
    I gasped in shock and at the same time it was as if my heart stopped beating for a second. Why? I remember the last time I heard that word. Dayo. I managed to revive myself. I shouldn’t be thinking about him.
    “How long have you been planning? No wait..something is not right…no..I think I am confused.” Daniel gave me a confused look as I blabbed.
    “Breathe in..breathe out.” I did as he instructed.
    “Don’t get things mixed up.” He added
    I nodded my head in response. “My mom picked a bride for me. She wants me to come back him and get married.”
    “Now I get it..you don’t want to get married?”
    “Lucy is not the lady I want to settle down with. Like..I don’t see us becoming husband and wife even though we are friends. My mom is just trying to play the role of a matchmaker because she wants a grandchild.” He explained.
    “So Lucy? What’s wrong with her? I mean since you are friends why can’t you marry her?” I asked.
    “We grew up together because her mom is my mom best friend. And we are just friends nothing more…though my mom thinks I have slept with her.”
    “What?!”
    “I didn’t…my mom just saw us in bed. Not my fault..I was asleep when Lucy came to my room and just slept beside me hugging me like we meant something. I tried explaining to her that nothing happened but she wouldn’t believe me.” He rolled his eyes.
    “Let’s see…I think Lucy likes you more than being friends.”
    He looked at me. “You’re right.”
    “So in a nutshell…you don’t want to go home for Christmas to avoid getting married to Lucy.”
    “You got it”. He nodded. “And I don’t know what to do,I can’t hide away from my family forever.”
    “Why don’t you just talk things out with Lucy?” I adviced him.

    We exchanged glances. “Lucy wants this marriage,so I don’t think she will ever listen to what I have to say. She’s in love with me.”
    “Hmmmm..what else can you do? She should be able to understand that you don’t love her.” I said.
    “It’s kinda complicated.”
    “Because of the black woman?” I spilled without thinking. Ouch! I shouldn’t have said that to him.
    He laughed. “I thought you weren’t eavesdropping on my call?”
    “I’m sorry..” I laughed.
    Daniel got out of the bus and I followed swiftly.
    “What black woman are you talking about?” He laughed.
    “Come on Daniel, I heard you over the phone. You can’t run forever.”
    “From who? My family or the black woman I love?”
    “Everything..I guess..”
    He sighed and his smile disappeared. “She’s someone..” he paused.
    “Come on…” I smiled.
    “I can’t be with her.” He added.
    “Why? Have you told her how you feel?” I asked.
    “No,she has too much to handle. So I don’t want to be a burden to her.” He replied and went ahead to the next car.
    “Burden? Did you just call love a burden? Come on Daniel! Everyone wants to love.” I countered.
    “I’m not sure she’s ready for that.” He said without looking at me.
    “You should at least tell her how you feel. You might be her lucky man.” I tried to play a relationship advocate.
    He stopped what he was doing. “Okay…if you think it’s right then I will tell her.”
    “That’s good! You must act like a man that you are…”
    “Come on…I’m just scared of getting rejected..that’s all.”
    “At least try..” I smiled.
    “Okay I will give it a try now.”
    “That’s the spirit!” I said.

    Daniel came to stand in front of me. His gaze was so intense that I had to look away. What was that?!
    I tried to move away. “I should get going..” but he stopped me.
    “You just asked me to confess to the woman I love.”
    “Okay..so you want to practice on me?”
    “Can you love me,Arike?” He asked with a serious.
    It took seconds for me to realize that I was the black woman. My eyes widened in shock and surprise as realization hit me straight in the face. This must be a joke!
    “Wha…wh..at..are..you..saying Daniel?” I tried to laugh it off as I stuttered.
    “I want to make a love confession like you adviced.” He shrugged with a serious face. Then I knew he meant it and wasn’t joking.
    I avoided making an eye contact with him. “You are the black woman I love.” He added.
    I moved away from him. “You can’t be serious,Daniel.” I tried to hit his upper arm playfully but I stopped myself. I shouldn’t be joking in times like this one. Daniel was indeed serious.

    Then I began to think about everything he has done for me and Iteoluwa. To be honest,Daniel always act like he was Iteoluwa’s father. I remember when she was so little,he always help in changing her diaper whenever he was less busy and he also helped in putting her to bed. He has never done that with the other babies. I didn’t see it as anything aside the fact that he was trying to help or that he felt pity for us knowing a bit of my story that I couldn’t be with the father of my child for some reasons unknown to everyone except my parents. I never thought that he had feelings for me though Busayomi always make sure to remind me that she could tell he likes me but I always shut her up or wave it off as one of her usual matchmaking jokes.
    “So..all the gifts..and care..it was because of what you..feel for me.” I stuttered slowly.
    “I don’t really..know. Bright is a good kid and I just love her.” He answered.
    I swallowed hard. “Your mom..”
    “I told her about you.” He nodded.
    “Oh! So she thinks you don’t want to marry Lucy because of the blackwoman – me.” I said to clear up the misunderstanding in my head.
    “That what she thinks. I don’t want to marry Lucy because I don’t love her.”
    “And because you love me too.” I added.
    “She’s just Lucy,my friend. And I am not going back home until she accepts that I don’t want to get married to Lucy.”
    “Daniel?”
    “Arike,I know you don’t have any feelings for me. Yes..you see me as just a worker in your father’s house. And I understand that you are not ready for commitment.”
    I nodded in agreement. “My daughter means the world to me.”
    “I know and I love Bright too.”
    I like Daniel, but not the way he loves me.
    “You’re a nice man,Daniel but I don’t -”
    “It’s alright,just forget about what I said. I am also not ready to be with any woman.” He faked a smile.
    “Okay.” I nodded.
    “So if you will excuse me,I need to clean out the trash in the next bus.”
    “I will go inside.” I turned to walk away. I made my way back to the house still thinking about my discussion with Daniel. I felt bad for him. I am sorry,Daniel.
    I saw Aunty Sade dragging two heavy boxes to the living room so I went to help her.
    “We already picked out the important decorations for the house and Christmas tree.”
    “Okay but do you still need more items because I would be going to the mall in the evening.”
    “I don’t think -” she paused to look at Miranda who just dropped some bags.
    “Please get me scissors.”
    “Okay ma.” She went away.
    “Oh! Light! we need to buy more Christmas light!”
    “Anything else?” I asked as I added Christmas light to the list I made on my phone.
    She sat down on the couch. “Since today is the last day of school,some workers are leaving this week. So I will need you to write the names of those that will be around for Christmas party. I need to get gifts and then prepare for the party.”
    “Okay ma.”
    “You can ask Alexa to help you.” She added
    Alexa was in charge of the foaster records,more or else like a secretary.
    “Busayomi is still not coming around this year!” Aunty Sade asked as she tapped on her phone.
    “She’s not coming.”
    “Iteoluwa would be really disappointed. She didn’t stop talking about Busayomi yesterday.”
    Iteoluwa always looked forward to seeing Busayomi every December.
    “Busayomi is getting married.” I said.
    Aunty Sade adjusted her glasses as she looked up at me. “This is great news! I am so happy for her.”
    Miranda brought the scissors. “Please tell Alexa to come around whenever she’s less busy.”
    “Okay ma’am.” Miranda left.
    “Have they fixed the wedding date?”
    “Not so fast.” I laughed.
    “She shouldn’t delay o.”
    “She’s meeting his family this christmas.”
    “Ehn let’s say early next year.” She said
    “Hmmmmm…I am so happy for her.” She sighed. “Wo wa joko si egbe mi.”
    Come sit beside me. She tapped on the space next to her on the couch. I am sure she knows what it means for Busayomi to be getting married.
    “Busayomi needs you more than ever now.” I nodded in agreement. “And it means you have to travel to Nigeria.”
    “Yes ma, but she wants Iteoluwa to be her little bride.”
    “Oh that’s nice.”
    “But mommy..do you think it’s a good idea to bring iteoluwa to Nigeria?” I asked.
    “Why is it not a good idea? Oh because of Dayo?” She laughed.
    “Yes what if we run into him?” I asked,panic almost rising within me.
    “And so? Is he not the father of your child?” She snorted.
    Why is she acting like she doesn’t know the consequences of Dayo finding out about his child.
    “So you think Iteoluwa will let us rest if she doesn’t see her mom? Or you have forgotten the last time you traveled to Connecticut for a week,you need to see the way your daughter was disturbing every soul here. She doesn’t even remember that we are her grandparents. You have to take her with you.”
    “But mommy -”
    “Wo! Wo mi Omo -” she tapped me.
    Look at me,child.
    “Ki lo de?” We heard uncle Badejo’s voice.
    What’s wrong?
    “Ekaabo.” We greeted him welcome.
    “Alexa asked me to give it to you.” He handed her a file. “Seems like the list of workers that would be traveling this Christmas.”
    “Yes I asked for it.” He replied.
    “Have you reached out to our sponsors?” He asked me.
    “Yes sir,I already called a few. They promised to get to us. And I have sent broadcast to parents too.”
    “That’s good. So what is going on?”
    “Omo yin ti gba ring.” Aunty Sade announced that a child of his is engaged.
    “Ewo ninu won?” He asked which of his child as he looked down at my fingers.
    “Busayomi.” She answered.
    “Oh really? She’s engaged! What’s that her boyfriend name?”
    “Mr Paul.” I reminded him.
    “Oh that’s nice. So have they fixed a date?”
    “Not yet.” Aunty Sade replied
    “So that means she’ll be needing your help with wedding plans.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “You can go back to Nigeria, don’t worry we’ll take care of Iteoluwa.” He said.
    “Ahhh what are you saying? She should go with her child.” Aunty Sade said.
    “And why is that?”
    “Firstly Busayomi wants her to be the little bride and you know how disturbing Iteoluwa can be if she doesn’t see her mother.”
    “Is it wise to take her with me?” I asked him.
    “And you think Busayomi will be happy or Iteoluwa will want to stay here without you? Remember your trip to Connecticut.”
    “I told her o.” Aunty Sade added.
    “I don’t see anything bad in taking her with you except you are thinking about Dayo.”
    “That’s the bone of contention.” Aunty Sade said.
    “You see? You see what I have been saying? I told you it is not good to hide her away from her father. You can’t hide forever,some day she would grow up and demand to know her father. Even if she is too young now,some day she will ask.” He said
    Tears welled up in my eyes. “She already asked me if she would get to see him soon.”
    “Can you see?”
    “But Dayo can’t find out about her.” I responded
    “So you intend to get married to another man and make him her father?”
    “No dad-”
    “Don’t be a selfish mother,Arike!”
    “I am not selfish dad..everything I have ever done is to make my child happy.”
    “If you want that child to be happy then let her meet her father.”
    “Darling,you need to calm down.”
    “I am calm..I am calm.” He nodded.
    “We’ve good without him.”
    “So you want to miss your sister’s wedding?” He asked
    “No dad…I am not -”

    Mom interrupted me. “Let’s not argue. Arike,you have enough tome to think about what you want to do.”
    “What I am sure of is that you can hide Iteoluwa from her father forever. So it’s better you deal with it.” He stood up and went away.
    The tears that had threatened to spill dropped down my face. I hate it whenever he’s angry.
    “You can’t be sure that you’ll see Dayo.” She held my hands. “I will go and talk to your daddy.” She let me go and went ahead to meet her husband.
    What do I do if we see Dayo? No! I won’t let that happen! Dayo can’t find out about Iteoluwa.

    #1447993 Reply
    Åñdrøîd
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    why are you keeping her from her dad

    #1447995 Reply
    @Vera
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    Hmm

    #1448001 Reply
    timson
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    Like your dad has said you can’t hide her forever oo

    #1448002 Reply
    timson
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    And are you saying yes to Daniel?

    #1448009 Reply
    Prosper Yeboah
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    I think ur dad is right,u can’t hide ur daughter from her dad forever,it’s better u deal with ur fears now,remember we face problems n deal with dem than run away from dem,datz cowardice!!!

    #1448011 Reply
    Grace
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    You are not doing well Arike

    #1448016 Reply
    sweet
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    keep on running,u guys we still meet if God wants it

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