Dapo’s left hand found Kobeth’s right hand and they stood side by side, waiting for this revelation.
I remembered, again, seeing Jed’s surname on the greeting card the Susan woman had sent. I got a sinking feeling that I wasn’t going to like whatever the revelation was. Maybe Joel sensed my unease too because he asked if I was feeling okay. I shook my head and held my bag tighter.
The moment the door opened and I saw the outline of his frame, I started shaking all over.
Kezia was he first to see him as she was directly facing the door. She gasped and took one look at me before shouting at him, “Get out of here this instant! Go away!!!”
He came in and lay prostrate on the floor, in the midst of us all, his head facing my direction. Kobeth and Pastor Duduyemi were the only ones not understanding what was going on. Dapo was trying to explain to them as much as she could.
I stood up with my bag and walked out. Jed attempted to hold on to my legs but I stomped hard on his hands and left. Stepping out of the emergency unit, I quickly out some distance between myself and the building. Soon, I broke into a run, not knowing where I was going to.
“Imma! Immaculate!!! Wait!”
I recognised Joel’s voice and heard him running to catch up with me. Even though it felt good to have him around, he also reminded me that this issue was going to keep coming up. Jed had scarred me.
No one deserves to be raped. No one deserves to be raped by the person who claims to love them. And now, I was to accept him as my best friend’s brother???
Joel caught up with me, forcing me to stop running, pleading with me to calm down and breathe. “Listen, listen to me, you are safe, okay? You are alright. Just breathe. I won’t let anyone hurt you again, I promise.” He was holding me at my wrists, looking into my eyes.
“We were supposed to deal with him… To get back at him. That’s not happening again… Dapo and her family have been like family to me. How am I supposed to just… Accept him?” I stammered with my tears blurring my vision of him.
“No, Imma, no one is asking you to accept him… Yet. That may be a long journey from now. What we need from you, what Dapo needs, is that you be there for her. She needs you, don’t make her have to choose between you and her family. And… I need you too, I’ve always needed you. Now that you’re this close, I don’t want to let go.”
It was weird hearing the exact words I wanted to hear but not knowing what response to give. I was looking at a guy who had waited that long for me.
No, I can’t be stupid again. Once beaten, twice shy. Twice beaten, third time… Just put a bullet in my head already.
“No… Joel… I can’t. I’ve been dealt too many blows in the name of love…”
“… And you can’t trust anyone, right?” Joel completed my sentence and smiled.
He leaned in and kissed my forehead, “You are right. It is too soon to ask you to put your heart out there already. Just know, I’d be here, whenever you’re ready, okay?”
“Okay. Thanks, Joel.” I hugged him briefly and stepped away to face the direction I had run from.
Joel did the same as he asked, “Ready to go back? There’s no rush, you know.”
“Joel…”, I stopped him with my hand on his shoulder, “… If you know everything, down to the last detail, will you still stay?”
In that moment before he replied, his face lit up by the sun, it seems we were alone in space and time and his reply never left my mind.
“Imma, I already know every detail and I’ve chosen to stay. Now, you choose me and don’t let go. I’d love to be your last attempt at love, till death do us part.”
* Pastor and Pastor (Mrs) Duduyemi’s marital issues regarding Susan Famisola.
* Jed/Lade and Imma’s forgiveness/ability to accept him.
* Kezia; what happens to her after everything?
* Do Kobeth and Dapo get to be more than just friends?
* Pastor (Mrs) Duduyemi’s recovery.
*Imma’s psychological recovery from the trauma.
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