A/N: Double update today, guys.
The sun had gone to rest about an hour ago and the street lights illuminated the road for people to be able to see where they were going. Although, the head lamps of cars also added to the brightening of the road. The road was clear this time around which made the ride to Ijeoma's apartment smoother and shorter, I took a quick glance at her in the passenger seat – she had her phone in her hands as she used her clean and neatly trimmed fingers to swipe across the screen.
I cleared my throat in order to get her attention and also as a starting point for the conversation we were about to have. "Uhm, I did some digging around and found out that your father will be undergoing a Radical prostatectomy in two days"
I paused and gave her a quick glance – her fingers halted in the air for a few seconds as it was in the process of swiping her screen before going through with its action. She didn't make any sound indicating she heard what I said but from the mindless swiping she was doing, I could tell that I had grabbed her attention.
"Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the entire prostrate clan and the procedure is extremely difficult because of the presence of nerves in the region of the prostrate" I paused for a few seconds to let her digest the information before continuing. "They are going to be using the robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy procedure which is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses surgical robotic equipment to remove the entire prostate and they'll be flying in a doctor from India to do the procedure since our hospital isn't very strong in robotics"
"Why are you telling me this?" she finally spoke up.
"Ijeoma, your father has been trying to talk to you for the past three days now" I said gently
"And I don't want to hear what he has to say" she replied defensively
"Look I.J, I get you're upset –"
"Upset?" she scoffed cutting me off. "Upset is when my father refused me going to my own graduation dinner party. Upset is when my father refused to let me have sleepovers at a friend's place or when he wouldn't let me go see the movies with my friends. That man threw me and my unborn child out of his house like trash ... like I didn't mean a thing to him. Do you know what that does to a person? Knowing that the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally don't give a damn about you, do you? So Noah, I'm not upset ... I don't think words can describe how I feel"
"I know that you're father has been total shit to you and he has hurt you in so many ways but he's here now and he wants to talk. Like I said, this surgery is risky and this could be the only time you have to hear what he has to say" I said softly. "I just don't want you to make decisions out of anger and later regret it"
"Noah, do you know how much better my life could've been if he hadn't thrown me out of his house? I could've gone back to school ... I could be doing my internship by now or something ... I sure as hell wouldn't be working my ass of in a hospital's cafeteria just to put food on my table or pay bills"
"And you would never have met me" I pointed out and she became silent. "I like to believe that things happen for a reason, if all that happened as terrible as they were didn't happen then you wouldn't be here with me today"
"Can we please stop talking about this?" she said in a low tone massaging her forehead.
"Okay" I nodded
The ride became silent from that point and I could tell she was thinking about what I said. In less than ten minutes, we arrived at her apartment and before she got down I spoke up.
"Can I say something?"
She exhaled deeply "What?"
"I want you to really think about your decision on talking to your father and whatever you decide to do, I'll support you. But I want you to actually think about it, okay?"
She nodded her head. "Okay"
She got down from the car, closed the door behind her and then bent down and mouthed 'I'll see you tomorrow' before turning around and walking into her apartment.
Starting the car, I began the journey to my own house. The ride wasn't very long and in no time I was in the comfort of my house. The smell of apple scented Airwick air freshener filled the air around the house, I headed up to my bathroom and did the essential cleanup to get the mixed smell of hospital disinfectant and my Aventus cologne off me.
Dressed in only a grey sweat pant, I headed downstairs to my kitchen to make a bowl of Indomie instant noodles since it was quick to make and I didn't have the energy to make anything else. My phone chimed in my pocket as I closed the lid to my pot, I wiped my hands on a nearby towel and took it out then unlocked the phone. It was a message from Ijeoma
I'll talk to him tomorrow but only if you're there with me
A smile graced my lips knowing that she actually took my advice and gave it a thought. I replied immediately
Of course. Whatever you need.
"Shit" I cursed out when I noticed the noodles was beginning to burn.
I turned out the gas cooker and used a towel to move the pot to a cool burner before opening it. I let out a gasp of relief when I saw that the noodles was just beginning to burn and there was no real damage done.
I decided to eat it out of the pot as I was too lazy to take out a plate, rinse it and then dish the noodles only to wash both the plate and pot afterwards. I'd rather wash one thing.
After eating and washing up the pot, I sat on the dining chair giving my food some time to go down before heading upstairs to finally rest.
"Are you okay?" I whispered to Ijeoma who was nervously wrapping and unwrapping one of her black box braids around her pointing finger.
She nodded her head.
We were in the elevator heading up to the room where her father was currently staying in and there were about five other people with us in the elevator; two doctors, one nurse and two other people who I guessed had a relative somewhere in the hospital.
I subtly grabbed her hand and enveloped it with mine in comfort. She looked up at me, her eyes screaming with appreciation; I nodded my head in understanding. We remained like that till the elevator got to the floor her father was in and then got out.
We walked hand in hand to her father's room and stopped in front of the door. She looked like she was going to back out and take to her heels with every second that passed.
"It's going to be fine. I'll be right there with you" I assured her.
Nodding she released a shaky breath before placing two gentle knocks on the door and opening it after hearing a response. Her father was in a sitting position on his bed with a 'The Guardian' newspaper in his hand and thin rimmed rectangular reading glasses perched on his slightly crooked nose. Ijeoma was an exact replica of her father; they had the same facial features from their chocolate brown skin tone to their light brown eyes, the only difference was that she had softer and feminine features and her nose was straighter than his.
A look of genuine surprise masked his face as he looked up to find Ijeoma standing a few feet away from his bed. He closed the newspaper and placed it gently beside him on the bed.
Ijeoma's posture became stiff; her shoulders straightened and her face devoid of emotions. She putting up a hard exterior on the outside but I knew that on the inside she was scared shitless. It was a defense mechanism.
"You wanted to talk to me" she stated.
"Uhm, yes" her father said before turning to look at me. "Young man, please excuse us"
"No" Ijeoma shot back. "He's my boyfriend and he's staying"
Her father looked skeptical and uncomfortable. I on the other hand was taken aback by the whole 'boyfriend' thing but I had to say I secretly loved the idea.
"He is the only reason I'm here so if he leaves I leave too" she stated firmly.
"Okay, fine" he said quickly, afraid that she might change her mind and leave. "Take a seat, please" he said pointing to the cushioned couch at the left hand side of the bed.
Ijeoma eyed the couch and I could tell she was going to refuse the seat so I gently placed a hand on the small of her back propelling her forward towards the couch. She reluctantly moved to the couch and took a seat with me beside her.
Her father took in a deep breath before speaking. "I know you must hate me so much"
Ijeoma scoffed and lightly nudged her shoulder as if telling her to 'behave'.
He continued. " when you came back home with the news of your pregnancy, I was furious ... I'm an old fashioned man and I believe that a child should be bore under a matrimonial home and hearing about your pregnancy didn't sit well with me especially when it was the expense of your education. Sending you out of the house was the biggest mistake I'd ever made in my life and I'm truly sorry for that" his voice broke and tears began forming in his eyes.
"I was so invested in what people would say and think when they hear about your pregnancy and the shame it will bring to our family. I though sending you away will be a befitting punishment for you and will also save me the embarrassment but little did I know that the action alone would tear our family apart. The first few nights of your departure your mother couldn't sleep because she was worried about you and a few weeks later she develop high blood pressure which we found out after she had passed out that morning. Your sister on the hand ... well, she speaks to me only when necessary and even though she doesn't say out loud, I know she hates me too." He continued.
Ijeoma's stiff posture relaxed gradually and I could see her fighting back the tears that were threatening to escape her eyes.
"I tried looking for you but I didn't know where to start. I found a friend of yours at the university but she too didn't even know where you were, it was like you disappeared from the face of the earth which was why I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you standing behind the counter in the hospital cafeteria." He said. "I'm so sorry for all I had put you through .... I should have been a better father and sheltered you instead of throwing you into the streets for you to be eaten alive. I can't begin to even imagine what you must have gone through... I'm so sorry" he broke down in tears.
Ijeoma couldn't take it anymore because one minute she was by my side and then next she was on her father hugging the life out of him as they both shed tears. It was a really beautiful moment of reconciliation and somehow I felt like I was intruding on their special moment.
"I forgive you" she said as soon as they pulled apart.
"Thank you" her father said as he took off his glasses to wipe his eyes.
Her father turned to look at me. "Is he the –"
"No, he is not but he might as well be because he takes good care of us and Zozo loves him" she said chuckling at the last part.
"My daughter, Chizolum. I had a girl" she said.
"My goodness" her father looked overwhelmed with emotions. "Can I see a picture of her?"
Ijeoma nodded. "Sure"
She pulled out her phone from the side pocket of her skinny jeans and showed him her wall paper. It was a picture she had taken a while back of Zozo and I, it was in her sitting room and I had fallen asleep with Zozo in my arms who was also asleep. She said it was cute and so she seized the opportunity immediately.
Her father turned to me and outstretched his right hand. "Thank you so much for taking care of my daughter and granddaughter"
"It's no problem at all, sir" I said taking his hand in firm shake.
"No, it means a lot to me. Thank you" he said releasing my hand and I just nodded.
"Does mummy know that I'm here?" Ijeoma asked
"Yes, I called and told her the moment I saw you in that cafeteria. She would be here but your sister Kamsi is graduating tomorrow so she had to stay back. Although, after the graduation they would both be here" he said
"Oh wow. Tell mummy to congratulate her on my behalf" she said smiling.
"I will do that"
"Uhm, we have to go now. Both our breaks are over" Ijeoma said looking at the wall clock at the opposite us. "I'll come back at the end of the day"
"Oh okay" her father said with a smile.
We exchanged our goodbyes before leaving the room. Ijeoma embraced me as soon as I closed the door behind me.
"Thank you ... for everything" she whispered into my chest
"No problem" I placed a soft kiss at the crown of her head.
We pulled apart and she left for the cafeteria but not before placing a peck on my cheeks dangerously close to my lips which left me standing in my spot stunned.
Your thoughts please.
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