Most times in life, we are scared to confront issues. Confrontation worries us. Not realising our refusal to confront does not in any way negate the issue itself.
Eva quietly unlocked the door and walked into the house. The lights and the TV were still on. She cautiously removed her shoes to make no noise before locking the door and tiptoeing to the couch to look for the TV remote. Kosi lay sleeping on the couch. She checked the time on her phone and realised that it was well past 11:00 pm.
‘He waited up for me.’ Eva thought to herself.
She picked up the TV remote which had fallen on the floor and switched off the TV.
‘Wuu…? huh…?’ Kosi groaned, stirring.
‘It’s just me. Your neck will cramp up if you keep sleeping on the couch.’
‘Yeah. Yeah. Argh.’ He answered, massaging his neck as he stood up from the couch. ‘Were you able to finish everything at work?’ He continued.
‘Uhmm… yeah I did.’
Still sleepy, Kosi shuffled his feet all the way to bed.
‘Come join me in bed babe.’ He said after he noticed she wasn’t there.
‘I’m coming, let me go shower and change.’
Too tired to protest and too sleepy to sit up, Kosi dozed off. Eva walked directly to the bathroom, switched on the sink tap and poured water on her face. She looked at her reflection, recalling the conversation she had with Ebuka…
‘No! Hell no! I can’t do that! I can’t be that person. It’ll kill Kosi.’
‘And which person is that?’
‘I… a… you know. I can’t cheat on my husband. I never have and I never will!’
Eva turned to walk away but Ebuka grabbed her arm.
‘I’m not asking you to cheat on your husband. I’m asking you to spend a week with me. We haven’t seen in years and I’m leaving for Spain in a few weeks. Think of it as a vacation you never knew you needed.’ Ebuka added when he noticed her hesitation. ‘Any country of your choice. I just want to be reacquainted with my childhood crush. The girl who plagued my dreams throughout secondary school and I’ll be out of your life for good.’
He let her go. His eyes soft and almost pleading. Eva felt torn.
‘I don’t want a repeat of what happened in my office.’
‘And there won’t be. I promise to be on my best behaviour.’ Ebuka said, placing his right palm against his chest.
‘What about work? What will I tell my boss?’
‘Leave your boss to me. I’ll tell him I need you to travel with me for the case. There are some things that can’t be done over the phone.’
Eva shook her head slightly.
‘You have it all figured out don’t you?’
Ebuka smiled, but for some reason, it seemed more sad than happy but he quickly masked it.
‘Not always. But I’ve come to realise that it’s important to be three steps ahead when playing Chess. I’ll need your answer by the end of tomorrow.’ He added.
‘I’m not a man that wastes time. I don’t intend to start now. Tomorrow.’
Thirty minutes later, Eva had showered and was ready for bed. She glanced at Kosi and noticed that he was fast asleep on his back. Tip toeing in order not to wake him, she slid into bed and under the covers.
Kosi stirred, his brows furrowing as if he were having a bad dream. Eva gently caressed his cheek, softly. His expression gentled and his breathing evened out as he continued sleeping.
Eva on the other hand, couldn’t sleep. Her mind sped in different directions. Her eyes remained glued to the ceiling well into the night before exhaustion took over.
‘Sooo? How did it go? Did you both talk it out?’
Without looking up, Kosi already knew who just walked into his office.
‘You know what you did was highly unnecessary.’
Hope walked to his desk.
‘Unnecessary? Me? No.’ She mocked. Her hand was on her chest and she tried desperately to look angry but failed. They both laughed.
‘I appreciate your help but seriously though, don’t do that. Ever.’
All signs of humour seemed to have been suffocated. Looking at Kosi now, Hope knew he was dead serious.
‘Yeah yeah. I got you.’ She replied sitting opposite him. Trying to lighten the mood. ‘I take it you both have settled things.’
‘You could say that.’
‘Why?’ She asked when he refused to say more.
‘Let me put it this way. It’s still too early to tell. It’s barely a day since everything happened and even though Eva told me nothing is going on, I still have this feeling in my gut.’
Hope nodded in understanding.
‘So you’re being cautious.’
‘What happens if your gut is right?’
There was a short pause. It was almost as if time paused for him. He desperately wanted everything to be alright. For things to go back to the way it was. But… what if…
‘I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.’ He said at last bending his head, his hands massaging his temples.
Hope closed her eyes, inhaled deeply and exhaled again.
‘For your sake, I hope to God your gut is wrong.’