The American

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CHAPTER 16

Time flies really fast and truly waits for no one. I can’t believe today was my graduation. I am finally done with university. I am so happy that words can’t even describe how I feel. The graduation ceremony finished a few hours ago. I am with my whole family celebrating this incredible achievement of mine. My dad, mom and all my siblings are here with Amina and her son. We are having dinner at a lovely restaurant.

“Now that you are done with university my dear, do you plan to stay back like your brother or come back to Nigeria” My father, Kareem says as he takes a bite of his meal. He has light brown eye, pitch-black hair, is 6 feet tall, a fair skin tone, a muscular build for a man of his age, and a handsome face that all my brothers take after.

My elder brother Abdulhakim stays in New York and works as an Architect. He is the second born in my family while I am the third-born. He and Usman can pull off as twins just that Usman looks a bit older than him. I am the female version of my dad only that I have my mom’s skin tone.

“I will be going back to Nigeria with you guys,” I say remembering the reason I wanted to stay back in the states does not want anything to do with me, so I don’t see any reason to stay back. I also feel a lot better after three months of our breakup. I can’t believe it’s been three months since we broke up, but I have come to understand that in life you don’t always get what you want.

“But you said you were staying the last time we spoke on the phone. Why did you change your mind” My little sister, Ghadah says. She is a mixture of both my parent. She has a Carmel skin tone, with beautiful brown eyes; a heart-shaped face and is 5’7 feet tall.

“Yes, that’s true I can also remember you saying that,” My mom says. My mom, Zara, is my everything. This woman is the reason I am such a great lady today. She has the most beautiful dark skin tone I have ever seen with lovely big brown eyes and is as beautiful as ever.

“Yes, that was because I got a few job offers, but I changed my mind,” I say not going into details with the reason why I did.

“Alright whatever you say, dear,” Kareem says

We finished dinner a few hours ago. I am getting ready for bed in the beautiful guesthouse my family rented for their trip. I am deep into my slumber when I hear my phone ringing. I ignore the call because all I want to do right now is sleep, but the person calls three more times so I decide to find out who this lovely person might be.

“Yes,” I say groaning into the phone without caring to check who is calling

“Am I speaking with Adina?” the person on the line says

“Yes, and how may I help you this wonderful night” I wonder who this person is to be calling me at such an hour.

“We need you to come and pick up the owner of this phone.”

“Why and who are you?” I say and remove the phone from my ear only to have it slip from my hand once I see the caller Id. I can’t believe he still has my number, but more importantly, why is someone asking me to pick him up. Did something happen to him? I hope nothing bad happened to him.

“He is drunk and needs someone to drive him home. He suggested I call you. I am the bartender in the club he is at right now. Please hurry, we need to close the club, and he is the one keeping us here” The person says, and cuts off the line before I can fully process what he said.

Why would Ethan suggest me to pick him up? Does he still think of me after three months of our break up? I know I always think of him from time to time, but I would have never guessed him doing something like this. Ethan has to stop this new drinking habit. It is starting to get a bit too much, and I wouldn’t say I like it.

I quickly step out of bed and change my outfit. I walk downstairs and step into my car to be on my way. I called the bartender back to send the address of the club before I left the house.

I arrive after a few minutes of driving. I have never been to a club before, and this being my first time, I’m not too fond of it. Everywhere smells of different people’s sweat and alcohol, so disgusting. I walk towards the VIP section of the club. The bartender said they were waiting for me there.

“Thank Goodness you are here. He has refused to leave until you get here” A man says once he sees me walking through the doors of the VIP section. I am surprised he recognized me as soon as I walked in, but maybe that’s because my picture is still attached to my contact ID on Ethan’s phone.

“I am so sorry he has caused you such trouble. Please could you help me put him in the car?”

“With pleasure,” The man says and picks Ethan off the couch, but Ethan drops back on the seat

“I told you I aam no-t goin-gggg any—whe-eer-r if I don’t see Adina,” Ethan says totally drunk

“Ethan I am here, we can go now,” I say, moving closer so he can see my face and hear my voice. I wonder why he is doing all of these. Does he miss me the same way I miss him?

“A-DD—DINA,” Ethan says, throwing his arm around me. My whole body reacts to this simple touch as I feel my heart find peace. Even after three months, Ethan can still get a reaction from my body with his touch “Did you miss me because I missed you” Ethan says using his index figure to touch my face as his breath filled with alcohol fans my face. I cringe my face in disgust; I also feel a shiver all over my body due to his fingers touching my face.

My heart skips a beat, hearing him say he missed me. I can’t believe he still feels something for me after all that happened. I guess all hope is not truly lost then.

“That is not relevant right now; we need to leave so they can close,” I say, ignoring his question because I don’t want to open old wounds thinking about him in that way.

“No, I am not leaving until you tell me you missed me too,” Ethan says, crossing his arms above his chest and pouts his lips. It makes him look very adorable. How I missed that handsome face of his? But I shouldn’t be thinking of that right now. All I should think about is how I am going to get him home and go back to sleep which I doubt will be possible with the way my emotions are all over the place.

“Fine, I missed you too, Ethan,” I say in a whisper feeling all of my emotions towards him coming back to me. I can’t think of him in that way; I need to focus.

“Now tha-tt-t-t’ better, I w-i--iiill go h-o-o-om-mm-e with you-uuu,” He says and stands up but almost falls. I quickly wrap my arms around his waist to steady him.

“I love it when you hold me close to you Mi amore,” Ethan says, whispering into my ears. I feel my whole body come alive with warmth and happiness by having him call me his love. I feel little tears on the verge of falling with this bit of word he just said to me. How have I missed him calling me that?

I hand him over to the bartender, who helps me put him into my car. I also pay for overnight parking for Ethan’s car before driving to his apartment. The whole ride to his place, I can’t stop thinking about what if there is still hope for Ethan and I. Maybe he does not hate me anymore, and we could finally get back together.

I got to Ethan’s house a few minutes ago. The security guard of the building helped me take him upstairs. I am getting him settled in bed. I gently take off his leather jacket, being extra careful not to make contact with his body. I succeed in doing that even though I had to stop a lot of times before finally taking it off. I make him sit on the bed while I remove his sneakers, but without my knowledge, Ethan grabs my face abruptly and makes me stare into those beautiful grey eyes of his. I feel warmth on my face with his palm on it.

“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid my eyes on mi amore,” Ethan says, staring intensely into my eyes. I quickly pull my face away from his palms. I immediately miss the warmth it brought to my face. I continue removing his shoes and act like he did not say anything touching to me. I know Ethan won’t remember most of the things he said to me tonight and it pains me that this moment won’t last forever. I wipe the tears in my eyes that are threatening to fall and help Ethan get under the covers.

“Good night mi amore,” Ethan says getting comfortable under the covers

“Good night Ethan,” I say in a sad whisper.

I walk towards his closet to keep his sneakers and jacket. On my way out, I notice something is wrong with Ethan. He is sweating all over while his face is in agony. What is wrong with him? Is he having a bad dream?

“Ethan, Ethan, wake up. You are having a nightmare.”

“No, don’t come close to me. Stay away from me, please stay away” Ethan says shaking vigorously

“Ethan I need you to listen to my voice, wake up, wake up, wake up” I shout a little louder

“Nooooooo” Ethan says sitting up abruptly with his heart beating more emphatic than a police siren. Alhamdulillah, he is awake, or so I thought. He is eyes are still tightly shut. Ethan slowly falls back on the bed as his heartbeat also begins to take a slower pace. Ya Allah, I wonder what kind of nightmare he is having that he can’t even hear my voice wake him up. I decide to make a few duas (Supplication) for him to have a peaceful night sleep. I don’t leave even after his chest takes a regular rhythm with rising and falling. I wait a little to make sure he does not have another nightmare before I leave.

I feel a burning pain in the nape of my neck. I must have slept in a bad position last night. I lift my head gently to ease the pain in my neck. My eyes open wide in shock once I realize why my neck hurts. I can’t believe I slept off last night. I can’t imagine Ethan waking up to find me here. I know he called me last night to pick him up, but I doubt while he is sober, he would want anything to do with me. I quietly try to stand up but get stalk when I realize my hand is entangled with his. I don’t remember holding his hand last night; I am surprised to see mine in his. I gently start taking my hand out of his but instead get him to tighten his grip on my hand while he mutters something heart-wrenching.

“Please don’t leave me,” Ethan says in a whisper, but I was able to get it.

I wish you could say those words to me with your eyes open and I won’t go anywhere. I miss you, Ethan, I really do. I try again to remove my hand, and I succeed this time. I quietly walk downstairs, making sure not to make any noise while doing so, but I don’t think I was quiet enough.

“Good morning Adina,” Grace says while I am about to turn the doorknob.

“Good morning, Grace,” I say slowly turning back to face her with embarrassment all over my face for being caught.

“You don’t have to look so embarrassed my dear, I heard you guys come in last night. There is nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I think I should leave before he wakes up.”

“You don’t have to leave, but I know he would throw a tantrum if he sees you when he wakes up.”

“Yeah, he would,” I say turning back to step out, but stops when Grace says something

“I know you must hate him for not believing you, but I want you to know dear. You are the greatest thing that ever happened to that boy, and I am sorry he is too blind to see that” Grace says with sadness.

I am so happy she does not believe I cheated on Ethan. It brings me little joy that I know even someone close to him believes me

“Thank you for believing in me, and I pray with time he also does,” I say with a sad smile

“He will my dear and the sooner he does, the better for him,” Grace says with tears in her eyes

“Grace if you don’t mind me asking, why would his stepbrother frame me? I am trying to understand why he would, but I can’t come up with any reason so great for him too.”

“I have never seen hatred at its peaks like the one Ethan and his stepfamily have for one another.”

“Is it that bad?” I say wondering what happened to cause this hatred between them

“It is not in my place to elaborate, but hopefully, with time, you will know why.”

“I understand and bye Grace, I am going back to Nigerian in a few days, and this might be the last time you see me in a while.”

“You are leaving, do you really have to leave,” Grace says with sadness

“There is nothing here for me.”

“There is my dear; please don’t leave the country. If you do, how will you and Ethan be able to fix things up.”

“I don’t know, but I can promise you one thing.”

“What is that?”

“I will always come back to visit.”

“Please do my dear because I can’t imagine Ethan’s life without you in it forever.”

“Don’t worry, Grace if we are meant to be, even 1000 miles can’t keep us away.

It’s funny to me how it felt like yesterday I was saying Grace goodbye and it’s been a few days since then. My family and I are at the airport waiting for our time to board the plane. The announcement goes off for us to start boarding, and we all walk towards our gate. I don’t know for some odd reason I have been feeling a bit different today. I know my heart does not want to leave because of Ethan, but I feel something different. I feel like something terrible is about to happen, and I don’t know why.

I hear my phone ringing in my bag, and I decide to pick up since there is still a long queue before it gets to my turn. I see Grace on the caller ID and choose not to pick. I don’t want her to say words to me that will make me change my mind about leaving. She calls more than five times, so I decide to switch off my phone but stop when I realize she is not the one calling anymore. It’s a number I do not recognize so without thinking she might be the one, I answer. I believe if I did not answer this call, I would have had one of the greatest regrets in my life. The words said by Grace takes a good thud of the glass of my phone shattering as my heart also shatters into pieces. I hear voices trying to speak to me, but I can barely make out what they are saying. The only words processing in my head are the words said by Grace.

“Adina, Adina, Adina what’s wrong, what did the person on the phone say to you,” My mom says, shaking my body to get me back to earth.

“Eth-t—t,” I say trying to bring myself to say the word but end up bursting in tears.

“What happened to him?” My mom says with a concerned look on her face

“He just had an accident,” Amina says breaking the news to everyone as a million thoughts go through my head with this devastating news.

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