Posts tagged “BINDER

Tunde & Anaya: Part 21

Posted on 29/04/2013

southerncharms3

As expected, Josephine Halliday was a crying mess when her first son and daughter-in-law came by the house

after she’d just returned from Nigeria on a short visit. She couldn’t even catch a breath as she bumbled throughout her congratulations, eyes flickering from Tunde to Anaya and back again. She could barely sit still, wanting to embrace them both. At last, she was to be a grandmother!

Composing herself for just a moment before the tears started up again, Josephine thanked Anaya for being a part of the family. Then her smile faded quickly as she switched modes without missing a beat. Tightening her lips then, she sternly instructed Tunde to give Anaya whatever she wanted, even if it meant him driving miles to get it. “And you’ll do it without complaining because she’s carrying your child. The first of many.” Her lips trembled and she lifted a hand to her mouth to hold back the tears.

Tunde gathered a teary-eyed Anaya in his arms and smiled good-naturedly. “Yes Mother…” He paused to kiss Anaya’s forehead. “I’ll do my best to take care of her.”

“Oh my dear.” Josephine released a haggard breath to regain her composure. “You’ve made me such a happy mother. I’m very proud of you both.” Her eyes caressed the quiet woman beside her son and stood from her chair, moving over to Anaya. “Darling, thank you…”

Anaya bit back a sob as Josephine bent to wipe the stray tears that slid down her face. She was more than relieved that they’d gone to his mother first instead of hers, knowing this encouragement would be a staff to lean on when breaking the news to Hadiza. No doubt her mother would not be too happy. Her heart clenched as Josephine pulled her from the chair to embrace her tightly. If only her mother could be this proud of her and excited to be a grandmother.

Thankfully Aman and Leeza made up in pleased surprise what Hadiza didn’t as she sat coldly in her chair, glaring at her folded hands on her lap. Anaya reluctantly pulled her eyes to her father whose eyes were already glistening with tears. She felt a pang of guilt for momentarily ignoring his joy just to see a smile on her mother’s face and stood to embrace her father.

“You’ve made me a happy man,” Aman whispered in her ear and patted her back. Then he lifted his eyes to Tunde. “Thank you.”

Leeza clapped Tunde on the back with great gusto. “I knew it! I definitely called that one, right Sister?”

Tunde raised an inquisitive brow at his sister-in-law. “You called things into existence?”

“No silly!” Leeza giggled as Tunde nudged her playfully. “I just had a good feeling she was already pregnant.” She ducked under his arm to embrace her sister. “I’m gonna be an aunt.” She kissed Anaya’s cheek.

Anaya smiled and hugged her sister back, her eyes lifting to Tunde’s proud expression. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Hadiza slowly rise from the couch and retreat back to her room. Swallowing the feeling of rejection once again, she made herself dwell in the love and acceptance of those surrounding her. Telling herself that this was enough, Anaya settled in her sister’s arms.

“You beat me again, Brother,” Silas said in half-pout, leaning back against the couch.

“Naturally,” Tunde said proudly, still buzzed from the news. He was going to be a father. Creating a miracle of a life with the love of his life couldn’t compare to any other feeling. Ever.

Silas snorted, folding his arms. “Well, I think it’s time for me to catch up.”

Tunde raised a brow before smirking. “You bought the ring.”

“Hmm,” Silas smirked back. “I can’t have you stealing my thunder all the time.”

Tunde grinned wider. “When will you do it?” He could already imagine the surprised look on Felicia’s face.

“Maybe tomorrow night. I’d do it right away but she has an exam today.” Silas heaved a sigh. “I get the feeling she’s avoiding me these days.” He frowned. “In fact, I know she is.”

Tunde’s smile waned. “You two had another fight?”

Silas shook his head. “At least I don’t think so… I just miss that woman like crazy. I’ve gotten tired of saying goodbye to her.” He eyed his brother furtively. “To be honest, I want that look you have.”

His older brother blinked at his begrudging tone. “What look?”

“That I’m a satisfied man, blessed man look.” Silas laughed softly. “Frankly, it’s annoying.”

Tunde’s grin returned fully. “I am a blessed man.”

“Yeah well, let’s hope I’ll be one soon.”

Anaya’s tummy tingled as if a thousand butterflies fluttered their wings against her stomach lining. Shaking her head in wonder, she stepped out of her car and pulled her bag over her shoulder. To think that in a few months, it would be evident that a baby grew in her. Placing her free hand over her stomach, Anaya allowed herself to smile. In between feeling terrible that she could not share this joy with Hadiza and pure elation whenever Tunde placed a kiss on her abdomen, Anaya had to admit she was a bit terrified. What if she couldn’t be a good mother? What if she got too busy and forgot to take care of both her husband and her child?

Shaking away the unsettling thoughts, Anaya closed the door of her car and started toward the building. Until she noticed a familiar figure standing at the bottom of the stairs with her arms folded across her chest and her head bent, her hair and white coat moving with the wind. Felicia.

Tucking back a smile, Anaya quickened her steps to meet her friend. “It’s too early for lunch,” she said, approaching the older woman.

Felicia glanced up and Anaya’s steps halted as she noticed the woman’s gloomy expression. “Can we talk?”

Anxious, Anaya nodded and followed Felicia to their regular lunch spot.

“I can’t marry Silas.”

Anaya’s eyes widened and she gaped at her sullen friend. “What are you saying?” She felt her heart beating hard. Did Silas and Tunde know about this?

Felicia lowered her eyes to the cup of coffee in front of her. “I just can’t.”

“I don’t understand. You’ve been asking him to ask you…” Anaya’s brow furrowed, recalling how excited Tunde was when he came home last night, announcing proudly that Silas would be proposing soon. Had Silas done it already and Felicia had declined his request? “You don’t love him…?”

Felicia’s eyes shot back up to Anaya’s face and she shook her head. “It’s not that I don’t love him. I love him with all of my heart. That’s why I can’t marry him.” Her lips trembled and Anaya gaped at her friend. She’d never seen Felicia cry, the ever-composed socialite that she was. Now the girl looked on the verge of tears.

“I don’t understand,” Anaya admitted in a soft voice. “Why can’t you marry him?”

Felicia bit her bottom lip to stop from crying. She lowered her eyes to the table once more. “I can’t give him what he wants… I can’t make Josephine happy like you and Tunde have.”

Anaya’s heart clenched painfully, dreading Felicia’s next words.

“I can’t have children.” She squeezed her eyes shut at her strained words. “I can’t make Silas a father or Josephine a grandmother.” Admitting this aloud, Felicia finally lost control of her tears and succumbed under it, sobbing aloud.

Ignoring the curious looks around them, Anaya gazed down at her friend, feeling completely helpless to comfort her. “Oh, Felicia…”

Leaning back in the crook of Tunde’s arms later that night, Anaya was a bundle of bunched nerves. Her entire body was stiff and she kept peeking a look at Tunde’s face as he smiled at the black and white television screen. He was watching a silent movie and on most days, she would be enjoying the antics of the Three Stooges… but not tonight. Felicia’s desolate expression and stilted words kept replaying like a broken record in her head. She heaved a sigh. What could she do?

Tunde peeked at her from the corner of his eye. “What’s the matter?”

Anaya blinked, stiffening in his arms. “Hmm?”

He pulled his eyes from the screen to her face. “You’ve sighed for the fourth time in thirty minutes… Is something wrong?”

Anaya bit her bottom lip. Felicia had begged her not to tell Tunde, at least until she’d spoken with Silas. Still, the words were caught in her throat, threatening to spill out.

“Cat caught your tongue?” His eyes moved from her mouth, to her eyes and back to her mouth. Then his lips twitched and mischief glinted in his gaze. “Want me to remedy that?”

Anaya gasped, her cheeks warming under his probing eyes. She wriggled in his arms as he swooped in. Then the bell rang and rang incessantly as if the person on the other side was antsy to get in. She nudged Tunde when he nipped at her bottom lip, unmoved by the interruption and when he looked up at her, she wordlessly pointed to the door.

His brows lifted for a brief second and then he grinned, leaning down to plant a fleeting peck on her mouth before shifting from the couch. “That was fast though.” His grin stirred the guilt in her heart.

She blinked up at her, pushing to her feet. “Who is it?”

“It’s Silas,” he said and reached over to straighten the collar of her tunic. He winked at her. “The guy couldn’t wait to propose. I can’t wait to hear what Felicia said…”

Her heart fell to her stomach and she gaped at her husband. “Wait, what?”

Tunde nodded, unfazed by her expression. “Silas said he’d stop by to give the details. He proposed tonight.”

“Oh God…” her eyes flew to the door, hearing the doorbell buzz over and over.

He frowned at the alarm on her face and tilted his head to study her. “What?”

Anaya swallowed hard and turned back to Tunde. “Open the door first, Tunde…” She squeezed her fingers together, biting her bottom lip.

Reluctant to leave her even for a minute, Tunde trudged slowly to open the door. The look on Silas’ face made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. “Silas…”

Silas evaded his eyes as he pushed past Tunde into the house.

Anaya gulped at the stormy look on her brother-in-law’s face and already knew Felicia had told him. She bit the inside of her cheeks and stayed in the background, watching everything unfold between the two brothers. If anything, Tunde could at least calm Silas down.

“What’s going on?” Tunde asked, still standing by the door and watched Silas pace in front of the television.

Silas shook his head. “This doesn’t make sense…” he mumbled and Anaya swallowed hard. “This doesn’t make any sense!” He bunched his fists and threw a glare in Tunde’s direction. “She denied my proposal.”

Tunde blinked. “What?”

“She said she can’t marry me, Tunde!” Silas shot back, scowling.

<<Part 20 || Part 22>>

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Tunde & Anaya: Part 20

Posted on 27/04/2013

sunset

She couldn’t keep her eyes off him, watching him like a protective hen as he strode back to her carrying two cups of coffee. Anaya lifted to her feet to meet him and her gaze searched his gaunt face, her heart squeezing painfully as she took in his weary eyes underneath that smile.

Waiting until he pulled up another chair to place beside her, Anaya slowly lowered herself to her seat. She cupped the cup in her hands and lifted her eyes to meet his staring curiously at her. She blinked, caught off guard by his open stare. “What?”

Aman smirked good-naturedly. “I just thought of you as a little girl…”

She gave him a wistful smile. “How come?”

He chuckled. “When you were young, you never let your eyes leave me… as if scared that I would leave you alone.”

Anaya lowered her eyes to the swirling mist rising from her cup.

“You’re a good daughter, Ana…” he said softly, provoking the tears that she held at bay. He clucked his tongue when she sniffed noisily. “I hope you didn’t come here to cry. Is it your Tunde?”

She flung her eyes back to him, shaking her head. “He’s good to me,” she said vehemently.

His lips curled in a wary smile. “Good. So why are you here to see me if not to report your husband?” He lifted his cup to his mouth, peeking at her.

“Papa…” She swallowed hard. “Why is Mama still like that?” Why won’t she forgive me?

Aman’s brow furrowed, eyes searching her face. Then he lowered the cup to rest on his thigh. “It’s more than just you, Ana… You must never think this is your fault. Don’t ever let your husband think that.”

Anaya bit her bottom lip that trembled visibly. She didn’t need to tell Tunde anything. He was annoyingly observant and picked up on every thought and mood of hers. She lowered her gaze guiltily.

“That’s not good, Ana,” her father berated her gently. “In the wake of everything else he’s going through, you have to stand with him in this.”

A cold dreadful feeling fell on her shoulders as she lifted her eyes back to him. “What?”

At the chagrined look on her father’s face, Anaya felt the chill down her spine. When he didn’t respond the second time she asked and merely wordlessly lifted the cup to his lips, Anaya was already dreading the worst. “Papa…”

He heaved a sigh. “Ask him when you get home… Surely you didn’t come here to interrogate me.” His brow furrowed begrudgingly. “I don’t see the daughter I gave away for months and she comes only to demand answers from me.”

Anaya blinked at her father’s pouting mouth and shook her head, deciding to push back her concerns with Tunde for later. She placed the cup of coffee on the floor and leaned forward to embrace her father.

Aman chuckled, reaching with his free hand to pat his daughter’s back. “I’ve missed you, my dove.”

Tunde grinned, glancing up from the newspaper as the door flung open and Anaya stepped inside. He folded the paper and stood to his feet. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes, Mrs. Halliday…” Walking around the couch, he hooked an arm around her waist and pulled her into his arms. The searing look she cut into him caught him off guard and the rest of his teasing words hung off his tongue. He raised a brow at her. “What?”

Anaya remained pliant in his arms, although she gave him a narrowed glare. “Don’t you have something to tell me?”

His eyes moved from her lips back to her eyes. “I’m not sure… Why don’t you give me a clue?” He lowered his head to kiss her mouth and sighed when she leaned back. “Will you stop doing that?” he sighed in exasperation, releasing her quickly. “What did I do now?”

Anaya folded her arms across her chest. “What did you manage to tell my father that you can’t tell me?”

Tunde blinked at her. “You met your father?” he asked dumbly. When she slow-blinked him, Tunde swallowed a groan. “Ana, it’s not that big a deal.”

“What’s not a big deal, Tunde, that you could tell my dad and not me?” She asked pointedly, frowning at him.

“I didn’t want to upset you.”

Anaya scowled up at him. “You promised!” There he was again trying to protect her instead of letting her share the pain with him. Tears gathered at her eyes.

He blinked in surprise at her fierce reaction. “I promised what—baby, why are you crying now?” He rubbed his face in frustration. “What did I promise?”

“You said we’re in this together. So why are you not holding your end of the deal?”

Tunde heaved a sigh. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he leaned against the back of the sofa. “Ana… This is not the same thing,” he answered in a low voice. “Besides, I have to figure out how to tell you—”

“See—”Her eyes went wide like tea saucers.

His protest was caught off as Anaya suddenly barreled into him, shoving past him. He turned around and gaped at her as she made a beeline for the bedroom. Groaning that she was about to begin another cry-fest, Tunde rushed in after her. “Ana, come on…” he started to plead but stopped as she pushed open the bathroom door. A cold surge grabbed hold of his spine and squeezed tight. “Ana?”

Only muffled sounds he could hear and Tunde didn’t know whether they were tears or… he moved to the bathroom and his eyes widened, gaping at his wife’s crouched body over the toilet. His jaw slackened as the cold trickled down his back to his feet, knees buckling under him. As his wife’s slender frame heaved violently, expelling the contents in her stomach, Tunde found that he couldn’t look away. The bitter taste of bile filled his own mouth as she sagged after the heaving spell, gripping the edge of the toilet.

He couldn’t even form a word as she wiped her mouth and lifted her eyes to him. Somehow though, when she flushed the toilet, he found his tongue even as he closed the distance between them and helped her to her feet. “Is this what I think it is?” his eyes searched hers.

Anaya’s face warmed under her husband’s eager gaze, her mind mentally counting off the weeks. Something fluttered in her and she gripped his arms. “I think so…” She grimaced as Tunde let out a triumphant yelp and scooped her off the floor, spinning her around. Not bothering to remind him that twirling her around was not a good idea, Anaya allowed herself to smile. For now, their argument was long forgotten as they rejoiced at the news that met them.

“Wow…” Tunde breathed in the dark of their bedroom, holding Anaya in his arms.

She smiled drowsily, liking the feel of his hands bracing her flat stomach. To think that in a few months, his hands would have something to curve around. Her body tingled at the thought of a life growing in her; a life made by two of them.

“Wow…” he whispered, pulling her against his back.

“Our conversation isn’t over, Tunde,” she warned, placing a hand over his.

“What, my love?”

Anaya rolled her eyes but her smile still remained. She was much too happy to argue with him tonight. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head against his chest. Things would have to change now that they were going to have a baby.

When Tunde nudged at her bare back, Anaya squinted one eye open. “You’ve made me a very happy man.”

She smiled at the tenderness in his voice.

“I’ll do my very best, with God’s help, to take care of you and this family we’ve made… I promise you that, Ana.” He paused to kiss the back of her head. “I love you.”

Her eyes stung under his ardent words and she knew he thought her asleep already. Not wanting to interrupt his privacy, Anaya quietly took in his words in her heart and soon enough, she drifted off to sleep.

<<Part 19 || Part 21>>

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