Finding Love

Finding Love

Chapter One

“Victoria,” her mother, Beatrice called out again. “Victoria!”Victoria felt someone tapping her to wake up.

“Mum,” She moaned, opening her eyes. “What is it?” She rubbed her eyes. “Are you alright?”

Beatrice sighed. “I want to talk to you.”

“Talk,” Victoria asked. She looked at the wall clock, 2:30 am. “Mum, it’s the middle of the night, is everything OK?” She slowly sat up on her bed.

“Are you fully awake?” Her face was stern.

“Yes.” She rubbed her eyes again.

“Now, I want to ask you some series of questions and I want you to be totally honest with me, ok.” She looked straight into her eyes.

“Questions! Alright, I’m listening.” It was her turn to sigh. She couldn’t believe this was happening at this time of the night.

Her mother straightened. “Is there anything you are keeping away from me, anything at all that I should know about?” She asked.

“What!” Victoria moaned. “What do you mean?” She had an idea what her mother was getting at, but was tired of hearing about it.

“Victoria, I am your mother, I love you and care about you.” her voice was broken. “See, my heart is heavy because of you, I can’t sleep and I am not happy, all these are because of you.” She said looking straight into her eyes, feeling stricken.

Victoria took her face away. She couldn’t believe her mother was making her problem all about her.

“You are not getting any younger, in few months now, you will be clocking 36 years old.” Her mother continued. “You have everything any young woman needs in life. You are a beautiful and remarkable young woman; you have a good attitude every man would want in a wife…” She smiled softly.

“Your beauty is flawless…., but despite all of these good qualities in you, I don’t understand why you haven’t found someone?” She paused for a moment seeing the hurt on her daughter’s face. She knew her words were piercing through her, although her intentions were not to make her feel bad about her situation but she had to speak her heart to her.

“I would never do anything to hurt your feeling my dear; everything I am saying is for your own good.” She gently said to her.

“Your immediate younger sister is married already with two kids, let’s say for the sake of arguments that she got married whilst still in the University at a very young age but look at Rachael, your little sister, she also got married last year and you my daughter, you don’t have any man in the picture, what is happening?” Her mother said with a lump of tears “Please tell me?” She whimpered.

“Mum…” Victoria started to say then paused to stare at her mother. She felt her pain but she had no idea what to say or how to start; the tears bunching in her eyes broke her heart.

“Mum, please don’t cry, please….”

“You are the reason for my tears, you are Victoria….” She said in tears. “I need you to tell me the truth…”

“There’s nothing wrong with me Mum but I promise you, things will change for me, everything would be fine…” Victoria tried to comfort her mother.

“I know everything would be fine,” Her Mum said looking up at her. “I know it,” She said again. “See, Albert called me today” Beatrice searched her daughters face.

“What! Why?” She snapped.

“He said he would be coming home in few days time, he’s coming back to you,” She said, excited. “He promised to make things right and start the necessary arrangement for both of you.” She said.

“Mum-

“No, wait my dear, things would be fine. This is all you have always wanted; for him to come back home, back to settle in Nigeria and that’s what he’s doing. He’s already set up some interviews for jobs here in Lagos.” She said.

“Mum, you know there’s nothing more between myself and Albert,” Victoria said fuming. “I don’t have anything with him and it’s a waste of time if he is coming home for me.” She said infuriated.

“But things would be OK now.” Beatrice pleaded.

“No! She shouted in angry, “He cheated on me mum, series of affairs, lying, deception, numerous of call from his so called friends and fiancée to tell me to stay away.” She said angrily.

“My dear, I know and he explained to me. Sweetheart, Albert is a good man and his intentions towards you are good. You have to forgive him, let’s go of the past for a better future together,” She said to her. “Every relationship has its own ups and downs and we must be willing to forgive the other party.”

“There’s no future between us Mum, not now, not ever,” She said bluntly. “Please Mum, forget about Albert, please.” She begged. “God will bring my own husband soon, only be patient.” She said.

Furious and angry, she stood up from the bed and look at her daughter with the most disgusting look.

“Patience! What patience. Can’t you see it, can’t you hear what others are saying about you, me.” She moved away angrily. “I don’t care what you do Victoria, reconcile with him!” She raged at her daughter, walked out and slammed the door.

Victoria was shock at her mother’s behaviour; she felt her heart jumped as she slammed the door.

“Oh God! She said as she felt the tears rolling.

She wanted to shout or even scream but her mouth were shut as she flooded in tears. She wanted to ask God to speak now or she would walk out but her mouth couldn’t utter those words. She expected her mother of all people to understand her plight. She had made up her mind long ago never to have anything to do with Albert again. It did took her several months to get over the heart break and pain of the break up, all she wants now is to move on with her life and no mention of his name to her.

They had dated for almost eight years; two years into their relationship, Albert travelled to the United Kingdom to study for his masters. A few weeks later, he stopped calling, changed his number and ceased every communication with her. Victoria was so scared during these times as she had no means of contacting him; his whole family also resided in the United Kingdom so there was no one she could go to. She had been afraid for several weeks thinking something bad had happened to him.

After few months, he suddenly showed up in Nigeria, apologized for his behaviour and had no solid excuse for his actions. After so much pleading, they continued their relationship but still had been one argument to another, fights and silent treatments. He came home once or twice in a year and during these times, he fought with Victoria who had refused to sleep with him and this enraged him the more. He argued that he loved her and she was already his wife in his own eyes; he saw no reason why she wouldn’t sleep with him if indeed she loved him.

After so much fight and pressure, during his last visit home, Victoria gave in to him, to satisfy his urges and express her love for him. After these incidents, they still continued their series of fight and argument. After almost six years of this struggle and unhealthy relationship, she came to an absolute resolution to leave the relationship but part of her still held unto him; he flew back home just to beg her and promised to make things right by her. But the last straw came when she began to receive series of emails and text message from a lady who claimed to be Albert’s fiancée and wanted her to stay away from her man. She confronted Albert who lied about it but later came clean that she was an ex-girlfriend and the incident happened when both of them were not in terms. Countless of incidents like that gave her no choice but to end the relationship, she called off every tie between them, changed her phone numbers and anyway he could contact her. That was six months ago, she realised the relationship was not healthy and she had to sort out her life and stop living in the illusion of them getting married.

This decision has proven difficult for her but this time, she had the strength of God to help her through, she had grounded herself in the word of God and believes with all of her heart that the plans of God for her life are not an evil or unhealthy relationship but a good future. Victoria drifted off into sleep with this thought.

Chapter Two

Victoria left home very early in the morning to avoid another episode with her Mum, especially now that her father who had always been a shoulder to cry on had travelled on a business trip. She tried to take her mind off the whole scene by loading her brain with so much work at the office since her confident and friend, Olumide has not been to work all day. it’s so funny to have a guy as your best friend but her relationship with Olumide has grown stronger all the years, they both have been through all the battles of life, both fought hard to be where they are today. Years ago, both attended the University of Lagos in Nigeria; Olumide had been the one who introduced her to Albert, his friend and he has been her confider ever since then; each time she has an episode of quarrel and fights with Albert, he was the one she always runs crying too. Both Albert and Olumide had both travelled together for their master’s study in the United Kingdom; although Albert had settled there, never to make Nigeria his home again but Olumide had returned three years later with an eight months old baby to account for.

She had marvelled at this discovery when he told her all that happened back in the United Kingdom; He said that he had a fling with a lady for one night and a few months later, she came telling him she was pregnant for him, all his effort to avoid her was fruitless, eventually since she moved in with him till she delivered his baby and there was no doubt that child was his as she is a total replica of him. Few weeks after the lady delivered his baby, she one day left the house to go buy some baby food and never to return; only for him to find a note she had left saying she wanted a life free of any stress of a child and she was sorry to leave their baby in his care but trust that he would take care of her. That was a shock to his life, after so much effort to care for the baby on his own, also joggling with work, he decided to come back home. He took very his father’s business and has remained good friend with Victoria.

This was four years ago and since then, he has remained strong and a good father to Ayomikun. Olumide has worked hard to bring his father’s business to a high standard which has now become one of the best food organisations in the state; he later begged Victoria to come and head his account department. Since then, they had both work hard in building his company and remained best of friends.

After waiting for Olumide to call her for lunch, Victoria decided to go with or without him, as she slowly ate her chicken pie, she ponders on the fight she had with her mother. She wondered if she should forgive Albert, makeup and probably marry him so she could leave this life of spinsterhood. After all, all her friends are reminder of her solitary not to talk of her sisters, cousins and neighbours who she grew up with. One of the things she regretted in her relationship with Albert was the fact that she had slept with him; she had always said to herself and held unto to was the fact that, she would never sleep with any one who is not her husband but since she had given in to Albert years ago, she had unconsciously held unto him in spite of all his behaviour towards her; but after a while when she had renewed her relationship with the Lord, she understood that although she could not get her virginity back again, she was renewed by the blood of Jesus. She had prayed to break any yoke or covenant keeping her with Albert; that was the starting point of her deliverance from him and since that day, she had held unto the Lord for direction for her life. She knew God’s plan was not Albert for her life, even though her body sometimes wants him to be, her heart was far away from hat notion.

She had to fight herself constantly from the urge of forgiving him to come back but six months down the line, she felt she is totally free from him but now that he’s coming back home and her own mother is totally in support of it brought the fear of uncertainty to her.

“There you are.” Victoria heard Olumide’s voice behind her.

“Oh! Where have you been boss?” she asked smiling.

“Well, taking care of business.” He said sitting down.

“What happened?” She asked.

“Ayomikun had a bit of fever yesterday so I took her to the clinic this morning.” He said

“Oh, is she feeling better now?” She asked concerned.

“Yes, was given some medication so I have asked Blessing to call me if there’s any change.” He answered.

“I pray she feel much better cos I have lots planned for her sleepover this weekend.” She said.

“I’m sure she will; she wouldn’t miss any chance of a sleepover.” He said smiling.

“So what have I missed?” He asked.

“Well, nothing much except my mum woke me up around 2:30 am this morning to talk about Albert. Can you imagine that?” She said looking gloomy.

“Hmm…” He said

“She begged or rather insist that I make up with Albert as he is coming back home for me.” She said irritated.

“Oh!” Olumide said.

“What do you mean oh?” She asked looking suspiciously at him.

“Well…” He tried to say

“Well, what? What do you know?” She asked.

“Albert called to tell me he would be coming home and asked if he could stay at my place.” he answered, avoiding her intense gaze him.

“What! When? She gasped.

“Last week.” He said under his breath.

“And you didn’t tell me.” She said furiously.

“I couldn’t, I’m sorry.” He said

“I thought you had my back.” She said back furiously.

“I’m sorry Vicky.” he said

“You never tell me things about him.” She said angrily

“I’m sorry.” he replied again watching her go on and on in anger

“That was how you never told me anything he does when you were both in the United Kingdom.” She said in anger

“I’m sorry again and again about that.” He replied in a calm tone.

“You never tell me about the way he lived his life, his cheating and lies…..” She continued.

“I’m sorry Vicky.” He said smiling at her as he watched her in frustration.

“Why are you smiling?” She asked

“You know I always smile when you are angry.” He said still smiling.

“But I really need you tell me things you know, I don’t want to be surprised by my mother or anyone else.” She said in a much calm tone.

“You know I have my reservation towards Albert, I don’t want to come in between you two.” He said

“Reservation! You introduced us!” She said back

“Yes and that was a mistake I haven’t forgiven myself of.” He answered.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Victoria said. “You had a good intention then and you didn’t know what he was going to do.” She said back.

“Yea…, so what are you going to do now?” Olumide asked.

“Nothing, you know very much I am through with Albert, it’s my mum I am bothered about.” She said.

“Okay, God will give you the wisdom to deal with it.” He said taking some of her chips on the table.

“So, what did you tell him?” She asked curiously.

“Who?” He asked

“Albert, about your place.” She said

“I said OK.” he answered lowering his head

“You did what?” She snapped.

“I couldn’t say no, I had no excuse.” He said

“So much for having my back.” She said.

“I’m sorry Vicky.” he said.

“OK, I am NOW tired of hearing ‘I’m sorry’, my lunch is over.” She said standing up

“But I just got here,” Olumide said after her.

“You are the boss; you can come into your office any time you like.” She replied walking away while Olumide stood up to run after her.

Chapter Three

Victoria had deliberately taken much work at the office to get home late. She knows her mother has a strong routine of going to bed before 9:00 so getting home late was good for her.

As she quietly tiptoed into the sitting room, she felt a presence there.

“I can see you took it pretty hard on yourself.” She heard her father voice in the dark.

Switching on the light.

“Oh, Dad!” She said gong to hug him.

“I’m so glad to see you, how was your trip?” She asked.

“Fine.” he answered.

“So, you have taken to the night.”

“I’m sorry Dad, just had loads of paper work to do at the office.” She said

“Sweetheart, don’t be offended by you mother.” He said raising an eyebrow

“Oh, she told you.” She sighs.

“Yes, she told me about it and I have asked her to leave you alone. She can’t force you into a relationship with someone you have no interest in.” He said.

“I know Mum is concern but please, tell her to be patient and to keep praying for me.” She said pleading.

“I have told her many times and you have to be patient with whatever she does, ok?” He said.

“Okay, Dad.” She said.

“I’m sure you are tired, go to bed, we will talk more tomorrow dear.” He said.

“Thanks, Dad, good night.” She said standing up

“Good night.” He answered.

Chapter Four

Almost a week later; things have returned to normal in the house, Beatrice had lightened up with her daughter, the unusual happiness she displayed, although Victoria tried to embraced this behaviour but she knows her mother to be rather mischievous sometimes. Today being a Saturday was full of errands; she received a text message from her pastor’s wife to come see her, after then, she has to pick up Ayomikun for another sleep over. Most often when Olumide has to travel for business purposes, she arranges to baby-sit Ayomikun even though he had a nanny, Blessing to look after her but he felt more secure with her staying with Victoria during these time and Victoria has no objection to that, in fact she has grown to love her, even have a smaller bed and set of clothing in her house for her each time she comes to stay.

As she switched off her car engine in front of her pastor’s house; she took a moment to gather her thought before getting out of the car.

“Hello Ma.” She greeted seeing her relaxing in the garden.

“Victoria, hello dear, how nice to have come in such a short notice.” Stella said.

“No problem ma, how are the family?” Victoria asked

“They are doing great, please sit down.” She said.

“Thank you ma.” She replied.

“Alright dear, I think I should go straight to why I called you; I like to talk to you heart to heart, women to women.” She said

“Ok.” She smiled.

“Your mother asked me to speak to you and I’m sure you know why.” She said

Victoria realizing what the talk would be about changed her facial expression.

“Please my dear, I don’t know what the side of your story is, but I do know that your mother is troubled, she’s very sad.” She said.

“I know Ma.” Victoria said quietly. “Ma, I am not happy about everything going on in my life now but I am certain of one thing that the plans of God for my life are good and He will not put me to shame.” She said. “My mother should not try to force someone on me, I know what I want, even though it’s taking so long to achieve but it will all come true.” She said

“Alright,” Stella said. “What about Albert?” She asked.

“Oh Albert!” she sighed. We dated for a very long time, he promised marriage. We did have our issues; he cheated on me countless of time, deceived and lied to me. See ma, I have to move on, I can’t wait for him any longer, you always teach us that a broken relationship is better than a broken marriage. A kind of man like Albert that has taken up to drinking, fornicating and all sorts, I can’t have him as my husband, no Ma.” She said firmly.

“I do understand you dear,” Stella said. “But are you seeing anyone now?”

“Not now ma, but wait and see what the Lord will do.” She said firmly. .

“Alright dear, but please, whatsoever you do, do seek the face of God. I can understand your mother’s urgency and frustration but don’t be discourage, hold unto what you know and don’t compromise your faith for anything.” She said with all seriousness at her.

“I have known you for quite some years now, you are a strong young lady, diligent, hard-working, a woman of prayer and a virtuous one, don’t compromise come what may, OK.” She said smiling at her.

“Thank you Ma, I am so glad you understand.” She said

“My dear, I do understand more that you can imagine; I was once where you are now, I was almost thirty six years of age and had no husband; my boyfriend was not serious about marriage. After so some much begging and talks, he was still not ready. I loved him so much, would do anything, I mean anything to keep him; then, I decided to get pregnant to speed things faster; I wasn’t born again then, just a church goer but desperate, all my friends and their younger sisters were getting married, I was tired of being a bridesmaid or even going to weddings. Eventually, the planned worked. Then I broke the news to my boyfriend that I was pregnant, oh! He was mad, he was so angry; he said I did it deliberately to tie him into this relationship. ‘of course, that was the plan.” She inhaled deeply. “After so much begging and tears; he just took off one day and left town. That was how I became a single mother; things were very difficult, everyone blamed me, the society put a stigma on me, and some even said I was one of those women who is not submissive to their husband, who would rather be a career working woman than a wife under a man’s authority. At some point, I felt hatred toward my own child, an emotion no mother should ever feel but I was angry, confused and battered.

Then few months later, I met with the Lord; that changed everything, my worth, my self esteem. I was redeemed by the Lord, I wasn’t bothered by any condemnation or accusation from people, I knew who I am now; I cherished my baby and fell in love with him, he was a gift from the Lord. I came to a realization of who I am in Christ, not in the eyes of the world. God made everything new for me, all things became beautiful even through my trials and storms, I had peace, I was confident in the Lord. I embraced this new life with so much joy. Then, two years later, I found the love of my life, a man after God’s own heart and the rest you know.” She finished her story smiling in joy.

“Whoa ma, I never knew all these about you, you are a strong woman.” Victoria said in utter amazement.

“The Lord was there with me, he gave me strength when I needed it.” Stella answered.

“So what happened with your boyfriend, did he ever come back for his child?” Victoria asked wondering.

“My dear, Our God is good,” She said smiling. “Yes he did come back, He is my husband now, your pastor.” She said.

Victoria gasped. “What!” She said surprised.

“Yes, your pastor is the same man, He came back to me a changed man, while he was cruising around the world, he met with the Lord, He was renewed by the Lord, and he made all things new. He came back begging me and when he did, I could see the Lord in Him.” She said smiling while Victoria was still in shock.

“My dear, God works in mysterious way, He is always faithful to His own. Now listen dear, I am not saying you should go ahead with Albert, I am asking you to stay in the presence of God to hear from him, He will direct you in the right path,” She said. “Please and please I will say again, stay in his presence, only Him can direct you. I will put you in my prayers too, OK.” She said to her

“Thank you ma.” She said.

“Now, I pray that the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guide and guard your heart in Jesus name.” Stella prayed.

“Amen.” Victoria replied.

“It is well.” Stella said.

“Thank you ma,” Victoria said standing up. “I appreciate this ma.” She said,

“It’s alright dear.”

Chapter Five

As Victoria drove over to pick up Ayomikun, she couldn’t but think about her conversation with her pastor’s wife. She had always admired the love and commitment between the pastor and his wife. She realized that every one has their own past and what they do with it is what matters. She was glad she spoke with her but still felt confused on some part; could she still hope that something new could happen between herself and Albert. What happens if he comes back changed like the pastor, renewed or saved, would that change her feelings towards him, could that make her forgive him, love and both get married? What if he meant what he told her mother, coming back to settle in Nigeria and making arrangement to marry her, after all, that was all she had always wanted from him. At this point, she felt more and more confused as she thought about her own situation. The sound of her phone brought her back from her thought.

“Hey!” She spoke into the phone.

“Where are you?” She heard Olumide’s voice.

“Hold on one minute; let me put on my ear piece.” She said.

“Ok, are you there?” She asked.

“Yes.” Olumide answered.

“Where are you?” He asked again. “Ayomi has packed all her bags since I told her you were coming.” He said laughing.

“Oh, I’m on my way,” She answered laughing. “Tell her I would be there soon.” She said.

“Alright but I’m on my way to the airport now, my flight to Abuja is in one hour.” He said.

“Alright, call me when you get to Port Harcourt.” she said to him.

“You know I will.” Olumide said hanging up.

******

Olumide inhales deeply. He remembered tell her he regretted introducing Albert to her and he meant it. Since they were both friends back in the University, He had tried to put his feelings towards her quiet for fear of destroying the relationship they had together and fear of Victoria rejecting him; so when Albert showed interest and begged him to introduced Victoria to him, he refused at first but after several pressure, Albert succeeded in forcing himself into her life. He had always regretted that in his life, he envied their relationship right from the start and couldn’t do anything about it. It was so difficult for him especially when they both travelled for their masters and he witnessed how Albert had flirt and slept with so many women; his lies, cheating and deceit but he couldn’t bring himself to tell Victoria.

He had tried to forget his feelings for her and move on with his life; but when he came back with his 8 months old baby,Victoria had been the one who stood by him all through the way.

How he loved her but could not bring himself to tell her. He felt so heart broken and angry each time Victoria comes crying to him about Albert but he has always restrained himself from talking. Almost five good years, they had worked together in his company and in their lives, he pretended to be in a on and off relationship with other women which were all lies. Six months ago when Victoria had announced that she has broken up with Albert for good, he had secretly celebrated but couldn’t bring himself to say anything to her, he had waited all these months to build up his courage but had no idea how to start. How would he profess love to His best friend and his friend’s ex girlfriend who he is still working his way up to get back? He felt perplexed.

*****

© Circlesoflove 2015

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