When they got close to her house she asked Chuks to drop her off. “Queen, it is still raining let me drop you at your door step. I can’t watch you walk in the rain. You will get wet and then catch a cold” Laraba made her voice as deep as she could “Look Chuks, I didn’t ask you for a lift, you insisted! Please, stop the car NOW! Chuks slammed on the brakes. She came down quickly and ran to a corner shop opposite her house.
She didn’t want Chuks to know where she lived. He waved Good bye and drove away. It was fun being toasted by this Ibo boy who never gave up. She suddenly felt the need to talk to Hamma. She picked up her phone and called him. His voice was dry again. “Hamma Ya yade?” “Laraba it’s almost prayer time, I’ll call you back”, he said.
Laraba was met with the sound of hissing as she walked into the house. There was some loud talking from the living room. Her Mother was seated beside her Father. Apparently, something had happened. It was clear something or someone upset them. Laraba’s Father best friend just married his daughter off, to a Yoruba man – a Christian for that matter! Her dad said it was bearable, it was Ibo people he would never allow to marry any of his daughters. Her Mother was visibly irritated. Laraba smiled to herself.
The next day, Hamma dropped by Laraba’s office to see her. His driver came to call her out. He didn’t like waiting. She ran out almost immediately to see him. She tried to imagine what kind of husband he would be. She tried to read his face, to see from his eyes whether she could see love there. She couldn’t tell what she could see. He was blank. Far too blank for someone who was to be a husband soon. He had brought her lunch. Seafood Okra with Tuwo Shinkafa. After he had left she gave the food to a colleague. It seemed he had forgotten that she never ate seafood. She was allergic to it.
Chuks stayed away from the canteen for some weeks. He had stopped calling her his Queen. He would sit on the same table with her almost every lunch time say hello and not say a word till he left. She was getting used to seeing him every day. He often left a gift by her plate. Sometimes it was yoghourt, sometimes a fancy notebook, sometimes a top up card, sometimes an uber voucher.
Preparations were on for the wedding. Hamma’s people had come to see her parents. She and her sister had several discussions about choice of fabric and colour for her wedding day. Laraba was excited about the shopping for the wedding but not sure of Hamma’s feelings for her. It would be a great alliance for the 2 families. Their Fathers had bought land together in several locations in Abuja and done a lot of business generally.