Posts from the “From The Binder” Category

Tunde & Anaya: Part 23

Posted on 01/05/2013

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Bleary-eyed, the young couple sat opposite each other on their small dining table. By three o’clock in the morning, they both stirred awake to a silent house and Silas still hadn’t called or come by the house with any updates. Tunde remained in bed a little longer than Anaya did, staring up at the ceiling until it was his turn to take a shower.

Anaya sighed heavily, feeling like a heel for keeping her husband in the dark. Thankfully he didn’t try to coax her into say a word since she didn’t think she could take it any longer. She was practically busting at the seams as his forlorn expression prodded her with guilt.

Now propping his chin on his hand, Tunde stared at the phone in the middle of the table. “Still nothing?” His black eyes lifted to hers.

Anaya shook her head, worry twisting her insides. What if Silas couldn’t take the news and did something rash? Her heart skipped a beat and she bit her bottom lip.

“My dear wife…” Tunde began in a low voice. “Stop gnawing at your mouth like that. It’ll make me want you to tell me everything and this time I won’t listen to your excuses.”

She blew out a breath of resignation. “Ask me.”

Tunde frowned, lifting his head. He eyed her skeptically. “Why now?”

“Your brother is taking too long.”

A wry smile twitched at his mouth and he heaved a sigh. “Yeah… I wonder what happened.” He raised a hand when Anaya opened hers to speak. “Don’t. You’re right. I’d rather hear it from him at this point.”

Anaya bit her bottom lip, hating the weariness in his voice. She’d made him like this. “Tunde…”

The doorbell rang and Anaya’s head jerked in the direction of the living room. It didn’t take Tunde but a split second to jump from his chair and stride quickly across the room to open the door. Anaya stood to her feet as a stiff, brooding and weary-looking Silas trudged into the room, looking very much like a defeated soldier after losing a long battle.

“What happened?” Tunde asked, closing the door behind his brother.

Silas barely gave Anaya a nod of greeting as he moved to the nearest couch and plopped into it. He groaned and covered his face.

The silence in the room was so thick, Anaya could barely breathe in it. She squeezed her fingers together and remained where she was, watching Tunde watch Silas. The poor man looked so conflicted, not knowing what to do or say. And it was all her fault.

“She said it’s over,” Silas finally spoke, his voice as cold as ice. Anaya shivered as he released a shuddering breath. “… It’s over.”

With his face covered, Tunde couldn’t comprehend anything and he glared down at his brother. Still he didn’t utter a sound and just stood there, waiting for Silas to look at him.

Anaya bit the inside of her cheek. How could this happen? They were supposed to be happy. All four of them. She remembered how joyful it’d been when she sat across the table with Tunde, Silas and Felicia with Josephine. They’d all been so happy that day. Why had things changed to this?

Tunde finally moved over to sit beside his brother, nudging Silas’ knee. “What did she say?” he asked in a patient, even tone.

A strangled sound from Silas sent shivers down Anaya’s spine. Was Silas crying? She jerked her eyes back to Tunde whose brows were furrowed so deep.

“S-she said…” He paused, gathering a breath. “She said she won’t marry me. That I deser—that blasted woman!” Silas fiercely whispered an expletive. “I can’t believe this.”

“What did she say, Silas?” Tunde asked firmly.

“For God’s sake, Tunde, let me gather myself alright?!” Silas screamed in his brother’s face. Then groaning, he covered his eyes. “Why don’t you ask her what the woman said, anyway? Felicia said she talked to her.”

Anaya stiffened as Tunde pulled his gaze over Silas’ head to hers. She swallowed hard at the imploring look on her husband’s face and took a deep breath before speaking. “Felicia can’t have children.” She paused when Tunde’s eyes widened visibly. “She doesn’t think it’s fair that—“

“Is it fair that she’s just throwing me away without asking me?” Silas interjected in a cold tone. He lowered his hand and threw a glare over his shoulder at her. “And you knew this and couldn’t tell me before I went over there to make a fool out of myself?”

“Lower your voice when you talk to my wife, Silas,” Tunde said firmly, still staring at Anaya. “This is the news you couldn’t tell me?”

Anaya pressed her fingers together, keeping her gaze on Tunde, fearing what he was thinking. No doubt he was disappointed as Silas was and probably very angry with her. She nodded wordlessly.

Tunde sighed heavily. “Could you give me and Silas a minute?”

She didn’t even waste a second, retreating down the hallway to their bedroom. Tears filled her eyes and she held herself up until she was safely behind the door before releasing the tears. Stifling her sobs against the hand over her mouth, Anaya pressed against the wall, already hearing the muffled yet audible noises on the other side of the door. She should’ve just let them talk privately, allowed Tunde and Silas to grieve and mull over the news and come up with a plan, but she couldn’t stop herself from pulling the door slightly open to catch the rest of the conversation between the two brothers.

“How could she just do that?” Silas seethed, his voice thick from holding back his tears. “How could she just make that type of decision without consulting me?”

“It’s her body, Silas…” Tunde mumbled quietly. “We don’t know all the facts.”

“All I know is that the woman said she doesn’t want me anymore. That I deserve someone whole. What the heck does that even mean, for Christ’s sake?”

Anaya bit the inside of her cheek, picturing the resigned look on Felicia’s drawn face when she said those words to her at lunch. Even though she’d tried to encourage the woman that Silas wanted only her, Felicia was adamant on letting the man go.

Rolling her eyes as a niggling sensation pushed her toward the bathroom to relieve herself, Anaya thought back to Felicia. Both were equally strong-willed, meaning this situation couldn’t be solved easily just because Silas was being stubborn about proposing. Still, she was on Silas’ side this time, Anaya decided as she tiptoed back to her station by the door.

“I mean so what if she can’t have children?” Silas continued, his voice strengthening with indignation. “Will I die if she can’t give me a son? Will she?”

Anaya’s lips lifted in a wry smile at her brother-in-law’s words. Maybe he didn’t plan on giving up on Felicia.

“She has a point though…”

Anaya stiffened at her husband’s mellow voice.

“She’s just thinking about your future,” Tunde continued. “Thinking about the kids you’ll have… or might not have if you stay with her.”

Anaya’s smile faded instantly, a cold sensation settling on her back.

“So what do you want me to do?” Silas mumbled.

Tunde sighed. “You have to consider what is best for your future. And for hers.”

Anaya’s brow furrowed.

“I am thinking about hers,” Silas protested weakly.

“Think harder. Is being without her the end of your world?” Tunde sighed. “You know I love Felicia, I see her as a younger sister… but you have to do what you have to do. For you.”

Silas heaved a sigh. “I see what you’re saying.”

Anaya shook her head, disbelieving her husband’s words. It didn’t sound at all like the caring, understanding, dependable man she’d married and loved with her entire heart. Why was he convincing Silas to leave Felicia instead of fighting to keep her?

She reached for the doorknob, ready to set both men straight when Silas released a shaky laugh. “You’re right. I do have some thinking to do. I think you’re right.”

Anaya propelled herself forward, her protest ready to spill from her mouth as she stepped into the parlor.

Both brothers looked up at her and Silas managed a penitent smile. “Anaya, I’m sorry for what I said earlier… I shouldn’t have blamed you for that.”

Anaya shook her head, the protest hanging off her tongue at his weary expression.

“Just don’t lose your mind like that next time,” Tunde said half-jokingly, smacking his brother on his back.

Silas laughed good-naturedly as the two stood to their feet. He then clasped his brother’s hand and pulled Tunde into a brief hug. “Love you Bro. Thanks for the advice.”

Anaya held back a scowl at her husband’s serene expression, wanting desperately to stop Silas from leaving with misguided council. “Silas…”

Her brother-in-law peered at her from Tunde’s shoulder. “Hmm?”

“Don’t regret your decision…” Anaya managed to say, knowing the real words wouldn’t form coherently.

Silas gave her a gentle but weary smile. “I won’t. Thanks Sis.”

Anaya watched as Tunde led Silas to the door and immediately as he closed it behind Silas, her brow fell into a scowl. She waited for him to slowly turn around before shaking her head. “How could you do that?”

Tunde frowned at her. “What now? Shouldn’t I be the one to say that to you?” He shook his head. “How could you keep something that serious from me?”

Anaya rolled her eyes and spun on her heels, too disgusted to look at him. She started for the room.

“Woman—“” Tunde growled as he stormed into the room after her. He grabbed her hand to stop her and scowled when she jerked her hand from his grasp. “Stop doing that!”

“Stop doing what?” she shot back at him, matching his stormy glare with hers.

Tunde blinked, taken aback by the fury in her chocolate-brown eyes. She’d never looked so furious like this before. His mind started to spin, rewinding through the day for any sign of his misgivings. “What’s going on?”

“How could you tell your brother something like that, knowing full well he listens to everything you say?” Anaya gritted her teeth at him.

“I had every right to tell him that, considering I know him very well.”

Anaya narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re ruining his life.”

“Excuse me?!” Tunde sputtered, rearing back at her blunt accusation.

“You’re ruining both their lives by doing this. By advising him that way!” Her eyes flashed with indignation.

Tunde held up both hands. “Ruining their lives by telling the truth? By giving good counsel?”

Her lips parted in astonishment. “You call that good counsel?” She folded her arms across her chest. “Telling him to forget about the woman he loves because of his future as a father is good counsel?”

Her words hit him like a freight train, literally knocking the wind out of him. He was speechless.

“Have you ever thought what Felicia was thinking when she made her decision?” Anaya railed on, fury strengthening her resolve. “She loves Silas so much and the thought of being without him is killing her. I could see it in her eyes when she came to see me. And you gave no cares when you made such a foolish, no, selfish comment—“

“Wow.”

Anaya halted at the simple word and finally noticed the look on Tunde’s face. Hurt. Disappointment. All because of her. Immediately, she realized she’d said too much and thought too quickly.

“So that’s why you’re raging and snorting like a bull…”

Her brow furrowed but she clamped her retorts down, knowing full well she’d made a huge mistake.

“Is that what you think of me, Ana?” His voice was soft, hesitant. Hurt. His hooded eyes scanned her face openly as if searching for the answer rather than hear it from her mouth, as though he couldn’t trust her.

She opened her mouth to protest his way of thinking. “I…”

“Let me clear things up before you think you married some selfish monster.” He frowned, “My dear wife, I simply told my brother to rethink his decision to let Felicia go. I didn’t encourage him to leave her.” A ghost of a smile crossed his lips. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re the one with the hearing problem.”

Anaya felt the air push out of her lungs and her shoulders sagged, defeated and relieved all at the same time. The guilt snuck in quickly, settling on her shoulders as she realized the error of her thoughts. “Tunde—“

“Let me finish…”

Anaya clamped her tongue down and kept an attentive stare on his rigid face.

“Either you didn’t hear everything or you need to check your ears, my love,” Tunde mumbled. “I told Silas to think of her view, to consider her side before he took offense to her decision. She was thinking of his future and it’s only fair that he thinks of hers.”

She wanted to hug him, to apologize and reassure him that she didn’t think him a monster. How could she think this caring, dependable and understanding man could be anything less than what he was? Tears filled her eyes.

“Silas’ joy is Felicia and same for her. They won’t live without each other for long, so there’s no use for them to try and live apart like this. Besides, they can adopt or try that fertility treatment deal, or…” he paused, searching for the word.

“Surrogate…“

“Right, have a surrogate mother carry their child, if they have to.” He frowned. “There are many options and it’s not the end of the world if they can’t have children.”

“Tunde, I’m sorry.” The tears spilled down her cheeks.

He eyed her warily. “I’m sure you are.” He then reached over and pinched the tip of her nose. “Silly girl.”

Anaya choked a sob and shifted into his arms. “Forgive me.”

“No.”

She inhaled sharply and peered up at him, her heart skipping a few beats when he flashed that devastating smile at her. How could she have doubted this man and how could she make it up to him?

“There’s nothing to forgive,” he amended, gathering her up in his arms. “Though I won’t let you off if you do that again…”

Anaya tamped down a relieved sigh, pressing her ear against his beating heart. “I promise I won’t.” The guilt fell off her shoulders immediately as his arms enveloped her into his warmth.

“I think you owe me something else though, dear wife…” Tunde said in a low voice and swooped down to lift Anaya in his arms.

She bit her bottom lip to hold back a laugh, her heart slamming against her ribs when his gaze lowered to her mouth.

“Told you to stop that,” he said, already moving to the bed. “You’re just racking up your debt, aren’t you?”

Anaya merely grinned and buried her face against his shoulder.

<<Part 22 || Part 24>>

Tunde & Anaya: Part 22

Posted on 30/04/2013

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Tunde couldn’t believe what he was seeing from his brother’s lips or the frantic flash in his eyes. The furious look wasn’t one he usually saw on his good-natured, goofy brother but here he stood in the middle of the room as if he’d lost his best friend. “Why would she say that?” It didn’t sound like Felicia.

Silas pursed his lips. “I can’t make sense of it, Tunde. I mean, sure I dragged my feet a little but to completely come out and say she won’t marry me—“ he drew in a sharp breath. “I can’t.”

“Slow down,” Tunde said sternly, annoyed that he couldn’t do anything for his brother. Maybe he should be talking with Felicia instead. All of this made little sense to him. After she’d practically begged the man to marry her, she was now refusing the proposal. “What did she actually say?”

Anaya bit her thumbnail, agitated with nerves and frustration. She wanted to tell Tunde, hating the sight of confusion marring his brow.

“Tunde, “ Silas started in an even tone that brought chills up Anaya’s arms. “That was all she said. I took her to her favorite restaurant, allowed her to finish her food and then she said she wanted to talk to me but I had a feeling she was going to ask me why I was taking too long.” Silas paused, glancing once at Anaya before turning back to Tunde. “So I pulled out the box and held it out to her. Told her that I couldn’t live without her, that I wanted only her. Then she started crying!” He frowned. “I thought she was happy and continued, even got down on my knees and the girl just split!”

Tunde and Anaya gaped at him. “She ran away?” Tunde asked, stunned. This didn’t sound like Felicia.

Anaya swallowed a groan. So Felicia hadn’t told Silas after all. “Did you go after her?”

Both brothers turned to her. Silas frowned. “No. I was busy picking up my self-respect from the floor.”

Tunde scowled at his brother. “You let her go home and just came here?”

Silas ignored him, finally taking note of the look on his sister-in-law’s face. “You know something, don’t you? You know why she’s acting like this, don’t you?”

Anaya bit the inside of her cheek, her heart skipping several beats when Tunde returned his gaze to her. She closed her eyes. “Talk to Felicia. I can’t say anything.”

“Even to me?”

The hurt in his voice was unmistakable and Anaya’s eyes snapped open, connecting with her husband’s. She pulled her eyes back to Silas, shuddering under his narrowed glare.

“What did she say to you, Anaya? You have to tell me.”

Anaya shook her head at Silas. “I promised her I would wait for her to tell you.”

“Well obviously she didn’t tell me, so you don’t have to keep that promise,” Silas shot back impatiently. He took a deep breath and released it. “Look, Anaya, I’m at the end of my rope here. This woman just said she doesn’t want me anymore and you’re the only one that can help me figure out why.”

“I can’t…” she whispered desperately, turning her pleading eyes to Tunde. “Please try to understand. Felicia has to be the one to tell Silas. I promised her.”

Tunde shifted his gaze to Silas without missing a beat. “Go back and talk to her. Even if she doesn’t budge, neither should you until you get some answers.”

Silas groaned. “I… It’s because I waited so long, I’m sure that’s why.” He rubbed his face. “What if I can’t convince her?”

“She loves you, Silas,” Anaya couldn’t help but say, wanting to quell some of his fears. “It’s obviously more than just you taking time to propose to her. It’s more important than that.” She swallowed against her dry throat, feeling the weight of the two brothers’ stares directed on her. “Please, just talk to her.”

Tunde didn’t say a word as he followed Silas to the door. He wordlessly patted Silas’ shoulder and watched as his younger brother trudged out of the apartment to his car before he turned around to see Anaya tiptoeing to the room. “Stop right there.”

Anaya’s back stiffened and she halted in her steps.

“Don’t even take another step,” he said sternly, his gaze intent on her back.

She sighed and turned slowly to face him. The penitent look on her face grated his nerves. “Please try to understand…”

He wordlessly pointed to the couch where they’d been snuggled close earlier. “Sit.”

Anaya frowned at him. “If you’re mad, just say. Stop being bossy.”

“I’m more than mad, Anaya. I’m disappointed in you.”

Stunned speechless by his words no doubt, she blinked at him.

Tunde folded his arms across his chest. “Since when do you start keeping secrets from me, your husband?”

Anaya released a shuddering breath and he could feel the cold shiver skitter down his own spine. Still he steeled against the pity that rose up within him. “You lied to me.”

“Oh come on, Tunde!”

“No, you come on.” Tunde’s brow furrowed deeply. “You sat there and listened to me go on forever about Silas’ plan to propose, knowing full well Felicia would not accept it.” He tilted his head to study her. “Why can’t you tell me what’s going on?”

“I just can’t!” Her eyes flashed with pent-up frustration as if she was battling with herself.

He steeled himself from going to her, to hold and comfort her. “Why not?”

Anaya threw her hands in the air. “I can’t, Tunde. I promised Felicia I would let her tell Silas before I told you.” She scowled up at him. “Can’t you just understand and be patient until then?”

Tunde shook his head. “No, I cannot just sit here and twiddle my thumbs until you’re ready. Did you not see my brother’s face today? I couldn’t do anything to help him, to comfort him. If only you—“

“That’s exactly why I couldn’t tell you. Because of Silas. Because you’d want to help him.”

He frowned darkly. “I don’t understand. You don’t want me to help him?” Who was this woman in front of him and where was his loving, considerate wife?

“If I told you before Felicia did, you’d want to tell him and it would be a big mess.”

“Bigger than what it is now?”

“Yes.” Anaya heaved a deep sigh, her eyes searching his. “I know you’re disappointed that I didn’t tell you, that I can’t tell you… But you have to trust me.” With that, she started for the room.

“I don’t understand. Is this a matter of life and death?” His heart skipped a beat, afraid of her answer.

Anaya stalled in her steps.

“Ana.”

She peered over her shoulder at him, her expression grave. “What do you mean?”

He took a deep breath before responding. “Will someone die if you told me?”

Anaya rolled her eyes. “Tunde, stop being dramatic. I’m just asking you to wait a little longer.” She started for the room and he had no choice but to follow.

Tunde watched as she jerked the covers back and climbed into bed without even changing into her nightgown. “Wait for what?” he demanded from the door.

When Anaya didn’t respond, he stormed to his side of the bed and perched beside her. “Ana.”

“Just wait until Silas comes back,” Anaya replied, her jaw tight and her stiff lips barely moving.

“Speak clearly,” Tunde snapped in annoyance.

Anaya rolled her eyes and turned her face fully to him. “I said just. wait. until. Silas. comes. back.” Her face softened when she saw his jaw visibly tighten. “Tunde please just try to be patient. I promise it’s better this way.” She then turned away but not without him seeing the glint of gathering tears in her eyes. This was eating at her as it was him.

For the next hour, the two of them sat in silence, stewing in their own thoughts. Tunde mulled over all that had taken place and the obvious reluctance and downright defensive stance his normally docile wife had taken, refusing to divulge the details for Felicia’s bizarre conduct. He shifted his eyes to Anaya’s tense shoulders beside him and frowned. What on earth could cause both women to act so strangely?

Anaya held back her tears and her breath, feeling Tunde’s warmth behind her. She wanted so much to snuggle against him, to hear his comforting words that everything was alright but how could he when she refused to tell him what was wrong? She inwardly scolded herself, knowing that in a way, she’d betrayed Tunde’s trust. Promising herself that it wouldn’t be long before Silas returned, Anaya closed her eyes and prayed silently.

“I hope it’s not a life and death situation…” Tunde’s soft voice broke through the silence.

Anaya opened her eyes, feeling her husband’s voice pervade her body. “It’s not.”

“Hmm?”

She reluctantly turned around to face him, her eyes feasting on his shrouded features. “It’s something serious but not a life and death situation… They just need to figure things out on their own.”

His eyes scanned her face. “Something that I can’t help them with?”

Anaya nodded wordlessly, knowing how instrumental her husband had been in keeping the two together.

Tunde sighed heavily, pulling his gaze over her head to the propped bedroom door.

Fighting the urge to curve her palm over his cheek, Anaya merely kept her eyes focused on him. No doubt his mind was spinning aimlessly, trying to figure out what could possibly cause this mess. Even if he didn’t like that she couldn’t tell him, Anaya was sure that she was making the right decision.

Within minutes, Tunde pulled a drowsy Anaya into his arms and closed his eyes to sleep. For now, he’d leave Silas and Felicia in God’s hands. He had no other choice.

<<Part 21 || Part 23>>

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