*WHO WINS THE GIRL?*
For the fourth day in a row, he saw her on the bus.
He was so shy to talk to her, as he’s always been all his life. But at the close of work, he summoned courage and sat on her seat😁.
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She came into the bus, looked at him with a questioning look on her face, he noticed it and adjusted for her. You know that’s my sitting position, don’t you? She asked and with a smile, he replied I felt like sitting here today🙂.
He was still short of words, he didn’t know the angle to come in from and all of a sudden he recalled that she’s always with at least two bags and so he asked her “this one you’re always carrying two bags, are you doing delivery at your office?” She replied no almost in laughter, but she had to keep her cool as a junior staff on the bus.
At this point, he manned up and said my name is HENRY, and you are? Benita, she replied with a stern look on her face which could mean that she knew that was coming, but she wasn’t interested.
He wanted to ask for her number, but he remembered the chyking lessons Paul gave him a long time ago, don’t ask her for her number on a first meeting.
Days passed, and they were at least in talking terms, discussing the night and the comedies that took place at home when going to work in the morning, and the activities that took place in the office at the close of work. In fact, they even became seatmates in the bus and fair to say, it was usually reserved for them.
Henry worked with the maintenance department at the company, while Benita was in food and administration unit. Benita had become so fond of Henry that she now fed him with part of what she got from the office, as she was entitled to it. Henry, on the other hand, could barely afford the expensive food being sold at the office, as a meal was about 20℅ of his monthly salary.
Benny today there was no meat in my soup, he said jokingly as they headed home and she replied: “once in a while, expect disappointment”.
He pondered on that statement all through the journey home, knowing fully well that he experiences disappointment regularly whenever he tries out someone new.
Everything was going according to plan with Benita, three months and counting, they’ve been good friends but Benita was so skeptical about Henry.
Her skepticism came about when Henry got her number from a memo forwarded to his office. He couldn’t ask her for her number, he just couldn’t.
It looked like a suicide mission but all the same, the mission was accomplished. And emergency job came about towards the end of the second quarter of the year, and Henry who was part of the emergency team was to be away for one week.
At the close of work that fateful Friday, he told her with a rather sad look on his face: I won’t be around next week because of the emergency that just came up.
She felt bad, but she concealed her real expression with a fake smile and said to him, I’ll miss you. His heart swelled. He could barely believe those words coming out from her mouth were directed towards him, but he kept his cool😏 and replied: “I’ll miss you too”.
Benita was a very caring person, and she was extremely restless with Henry’s absence during the week, she liked him but she just wanted to be sure of what is happening, and what would happen.
Henry, on the other hand, was also caring, and caring to a fault. They weren’t allowed to make calls in the field, and they barely had time for calls as they worked from 6 am till 6 pm.
Benita was worried as she hadn’t gotten any message from Henry after 5 days, and suddenly a text came in, it was Henry. Benita exhaled in relief as she read the contents of the message. Her worries were over as he assured her that they were fine over there.
Benita was in a three years old relationship that was filled with love and happiness, but at the moment things weren’t going smoothly. Her boyfriend Dennis was an unemployed broke nigga who could barely afford to borrow airtime.
He had just finished school and was waiting to be called for service. At home his parents saw him as a liability, as all their other children were out of the house, either married or working or both.
Dennis was the last of 7 children and was from a polygamous home. His father took a second wife 4 years after his first wife Gave him two female children, and couldn’t conceive for some time due to complications.
The second wife of his father bore 4 children, all male making Dennis the 5th and last son of his father. He was so loved and cherished by his mother until she died on the day of his matriculation.
Life looked to be hard on Dennis that he barely went to school with money which was not his school fees. His father cared less about him, as his second wife would always sound in his ear “you had four sons before that boy, make them your priority”.
Dennis’s sister’s on the other hand, were married with children and hardly they looked over their shoulders to check on Dennis. He looked alone in this world until he met Benita, who was always there for him no matter the issue on the ground.
The emergency job was over, and Henry came back very happy. He was paid double of his monthly wages for a week’s job, with rations to add to it.
He couldn’t be happier with that, coupled with the fact that his plans towards Benita seemed to be working accordingly. As he jumped the bus on Monday morning, she had already sighted him with a smile.
Welcome back, they didn’t allow me to hear the word on this bus. Where’s your husband? they were always asking. He smiled at her and they talked till they got to the office.
Benita’s frustration and anger towards her boyfriend were getting intense, and it was affecting her work. What’s the problem Benita? Her supervisor asked.
Samson was the admin superintendent in Benita’s unit, who was to give weekly reports on her performance. Nothing, she replied.
The next plate you break will affect your weekly report, Samson said and left. Benita was now her self, she hardly noticed the damage she had done, she broke the Deputy Director’s plate, that alone was like a capital offense.
On their way back home, she barely spoke to Henry. What’s up the problem, he asked? Within a split second, she replied “Nothing”.
Deep down, she was hurt emotionally and psychologically, and she felt the need to talk to someone but at the same time, she chose to be withdrawn.
She kept thinking about the words that gushed out of the mouth of Dennis over the phone, threatened to end the relationship if she doesn’t visit him in a week’s time.
Henry knew about Dennis, he witnessed how strong their love was, but he wasn’t discouraged. He believed his friendship with Benita was heading somewhere, no matter who or what was in the way.
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That night he called her, they spoke for 2 hours, a hard felt conversation between the both of them. She opened up to him, told him all that happened and how helpless she was.
He gave her hope, that everything will be alright. But something amazing happened, Benita switched gears. Do you love me? She asked Henry. He was dumbfounded, speechless, and perplexed.
That question came like a bolt from the blue😳, and Henry was totally not ready for that. After much pondering, Yes, he answered.
The discussion took another dimension, another direction Henry was glad at what just transpired, but he was still surprised at the way the question came.
Benita, on the other hand, wanted to ease herself of the relationship burden. She didn’t want to break up, she needed a break.
At the same time, she didn’t want to be lonely so Henry was more like an alternative for her. Henry was now preparing to shoot his shot, as the road just got cleared. Days passed weeks passed, months passed, and the friendship waxed stronger and better.
Henry woke up late, the time was 8am. He doesn’t have a record of going to work late, but this day might just be different. He checked his phone, 1st of December. He was shocked😲.
It was a surprise to him. His phone beeped twice, he just received his salary for November. To make him happier, it was Saturday😄.
Henry was extremely happy, he didn’t wake up late for work, cos there’s no work. Then his phone rang again, it was Benita. He was so happy that his mouth spilled the words “My Love”.
Benita replied in a harsh tone, which love? and then hissed. For a second, Henry was the saddest man on earth but he managed to conceal how the reply felt from Benita.
She on the other hand, noticed an unusual silence from Henry which could be attributed to her initial reply. “Don’t mind me, am just joking?” she said to ease tension. Henry loosened up and spoke with her, but for the second time, she kept him in awe.
The season of love was here again, Christmas. Everyone sharing gifts, love and happiness. Benita just reconciled with Dennis, but she cared less about her over-protective boyfriend, who could barely afford airtime to call her for a minute.
Henry on the other hand, had plans towards Benita for the festive season which was like a special Christmas to him. Their work didn’t permit them traveling, as they both ended up alone in their respective homes. Henry couldn’t be happier, he could go to her house, he could invite her over😁.
Benita trusted Henry so much, as much as she trusted Dennis. Dennis knew Henry, and had in mind that Henry was a threat to his relationship.
But Benita cared less about Dennis thoughts on Henry, cos she had experienced a balanced friendship with him, compared to her one-sided relationship with Dennis.
Fast forward 24th of December, gifts were shared in the company, in various departments. Benita barely received gifts in her unit, as almost everyone has gone on vacation.
Henry, on the other hand, was voted the most hardworking junior staff in his department, and this paved doors to bountiful blessings in the office.
He even had to hire a cab to take his gifts home. And here, he had something else in mind – to go with Benita. He talked to her about the different ways of going home that day, and reluctantly she agreed with no weird thoughts or motives in mind.
She followed him to his house, and he shared his gifts with her in such a way that it looked like it was meant for both of them.
She went to his kitchen, prepared food, they ate and drank. While discussing after the meal, Henry came too close to Benita, and she knew what was on his mind.
It would be cheating, she said to him. I have a boyfriend she added. Henry was bent on getting down with her, his urge was strong, Benita, on the other hand, was showing her fragility here.
She didn’t want it to happen, she didn’t know how to resist Henry, and finally, he had his way. In a mild manner, she had her bath, and he took her home.
When Henry got back home, knowing full well the situation at hand, he called her. You took advantage of my weakness, now you’ve got what you wanted. Benita hung up.
Henry wasn’t surprised, but he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted more than pleasure from Benita. He loved her, but he felt he had taken a wrong step in his approach but then the outcome can’t be reversed.
Christmas day appeared before they could realize what was happening, they only had one option in mind, but the past behind.
Henry took her on a date, they ate drank and had fun together. Henry also had something in mind, to repeat the saga that happened less than 24 hours ago, Benita with a heavy heart told him no.
A mild argument made the pair leave for their various homes in sad faces. Realizing he had done wrong, Henry called Benita, and listened as she confronted him.
That is the only thing you want from me, ma sure in a few day’s time I’ll become past tense to you. These words came out fast from the mouth of Benita.
I didn’t build a friendship for 9 months just for sex. This calm reply from Henry melted the heart of Benita, and she kept her cool.
Dennis became more worrisome than ever about the closeness Henry has with his date. He tries as much as possible to call and make sure he’s not with him.
His jealousy made Henry send a message across to him, “hold your girl well or someone will take her from you”. These words sank in the mind of Dennis, as he felt Henry referred to himself and was looking like the one to take his girl from him.
Dennis schooled and resided in Uyo, and unknown to all three parties, Benita was about to be transferred the following year with two destinations on the table – Uyo, and Asaba.
The weekend came fast, and the atmosphere looked quiet and less lively. Henry invited Benita over, but she repeatedly rejected his invitation. 3 p.m.
Henry is fast asleep, then his phone rings. He picks up, it’s Benita and in an angry voice she says to him “come and open the door for me”. He was surprised but happy as his boredom has just been cured😏.
What can I offer you? he asked someone who had already found her way to his fridge and took a chilled bottle of milk to his room.
He prepared some food and took to the room, which they ate together. Henry then made some seducing moves towards her, turned her on, and had his way again.
When they were done, Henry saw the sad expression on her face and asked her what’s wrong. You know it’s cheating, am cheating on him but you keep taking advantage of my weakness. Henry consoled her, but as gullible and vulnerable as she was, Henry hit her twice again before she went to the house.
On new years eve, they were to report back to work against the new year for documentation. Benita now knew her fate, she was partially happy.
She may be transferred close to Dennis, and far from Henry and at the same time she may be transferred and not be with any of them.
After work, Henry asked her a question. If you were to make a wish now, what would you wish for? She replied I’d wish for this friendship to last for a very long time.
These words gladdened the heart of Henry, as he knew he had a bond with Benita. As the new year arrived, Benita received her letter of transfer, she was transferred to Uyo.
Back to where it all started, she would now be close to Dennis again, there’ll be no reason for him to be worried about her, but then she feels guilty. She feels she has betrayed him, but then she hopes he won’t find out.
Henry knows fully well that there will be a change of attention now, Benita is now close to her boyfriend. She’ll be squatting with him in his lodge in school until she gets a place to stay as his rent hasn’t expired. Henry tries to keep his composure, but it isn’t working out.
Anytime he calls Benita, she’s with Dennis, and he grows suspicious of their friendship. Now Benita is in between the devil and the deep blue sea. She has to act, and she has to act fast.
She calls Henry and he answers, how are you? She asks him, Henry, what is it? You’re making me answer questions about why you’re always calling me. You should know that things would be different from now, so calm down, please.
These words gave Henry a rethink, he has to be smart in acting, not fast. Because if Benita loses Dennis, he loses her as well.
January comes and goes, faster than expected. Benita has gotten an apartment, Dennis has gone back to his family house, this gives Henry a little bit of relief.
As much as he’s not Benita’s boyfriend, he doesn’t bear the thoughts of her being with him. On a Friday, she suddenly calls him and he answers. Henry, what’s up? I’ll be coming Owerri this weekend. Henry answers, you’re welcome.
Call me when you arrive. Benita was traveling at her own detriment, her boyfriend, her parents, weren’t aware of this movement, except Henry who she was going to spend the weekend with.
She arrives at her destination, he picks her up, and they head for his house. Getting to his house, she says to Henry “don’t expect anything from me, you will not get it. Henry wasn’t bothered about this, he knows how to get what he wants😉.
At night while they were asleep, Henry made some moves on Benita, and she strongly resisted him. They almost woke the neighbors up with their resulting argument, but they managed to behave maturely.
In the end, they reconciled and after discussing, Henry smartly maneuvered her resistance and got what he craved for. Benita was furious, she simply slept off.
Their being together made them love each other as they used to, but then it was looking temporary. Benita journeyed back to her place of work on Sunday, saying goodbye to Henry who had no idea he would be seeing her for the last time.
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On her return to Uyo, she saw Dennis standing in front of her apartment, she was shocked. Where would I tell him I am coming from? I didn’t tell him I was traveling, this thought kept going through her head as she drew closer to him.
He came down from the stairs and hugged her. She felt relieved as she was not to worry about the questions to answer.
You didn’t tell me you were coming, she said. I wanted to surprise you, he replied. She opened the door and they went inside.
Carrying a school bag made Dennis less suspicious, but she had to keep the bag without opening it because the sight of clothes coming out of the bag could stir up an argument.
Dennis was sleeping over, she couldn’t scold him for coming without informing her, luckily for her she came back few minutes after he landed at her apartment being the only reason he didn’t question her on her whereabouts.
At night, Benita scolded Henry for making out with her against her will, he wasn’t awake when the message came in which was something to be concerned about.
She called him, no answer so she cleared Tue chat and slept off. Dennis, on the other hand, was suspicious of his girl’s actions that night but kept his cool as he had access to her phone.
At midnight, Benita was fast asleep, Dennis was awake playing games with her phone. Henry woke up, picked up his phone, and saw the missed calls. He called back without the knowledge that the phone was with Dennis who busied the call.
He then went online and saw her message which saddened him. In a bid to clear the air, Henry sent a message containing everything that has happened between them in the last 10 months. These messages were warmly welcomed by Dennis, who left the game he was playing to read heartbreaking messages.
Deception, betrayal, Dennis almost burst into tears with the messages that he just read. He kept his cool and by morning before Benita could wake up, he was off.
Benita woke up to a parting note which read “thank you for everything, the last 4 years with you has been amazing. Goodbye”. She rushed for her phone and didn’t need a prophet to tell her that Henry’s message fell into the wrong hands.
Henry who knew not what was happening called Benita, answered in tears and tongue-lashed him. Knowing what had happened, Henry kept his cool. He was sad he lost the girl, he was sad she lost her boyfriend, but he felt happy for what happened to her, as her action prompted his reaction.